by Sally Deering
“Who am I?” It’s a question people have pondered since the dawn of time. And these days, it’s not enough to know how you fit in with your immediate family; people are now turning to websites like Ancestry.com to dig up the roots of their family’s tree. This trend is so popular, hit TV shows like “Finding your Roots” on PBS and “Who Do You Think You Are?” on NBC are attracting high ratings from viewers tuning in to watch stars like Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Bacon, Edie Falco, Rob Lowe and Rosie O’Donnell discover the secrets of their family’s past.
In November 2010, the New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Free Public Library and its staff were featured in one of the episodes of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” when O’Donnell came to the New Jersey Room to do genealogy search into her Irish background. The show took O’Donnell on a journey that included a trip to Ireland, where she visited a workhouse where one of her relatives had lived. Both “Finding your Roots” and “Who Do You Think You Are” are filled with touching moments like these, and for viewers, the shows have helped a renewed interest in the past so that we might learn more about ourselves. Continue reading Back to the Future-Exploring Family Lineage and Filling in the Blanks