Friday, March 4, 2011

Lionel Richie - Who Do You Think You Are?

All I knew about Lionel Richie before tonight was he was in the Commodores and he helped raise Nicole Richie, his adoptive daughter. Then I turned on Who Do You Think You Are and my perspective was changed.

From what the records found, his great grandfather was the product of a slave-master relationship. The gentleman lived to be 90 and was buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery he tended toward the end of his life.

Before he was a caretaker, he was the head of the Knights of Wise Men, a black fraternal organization. Then the business failed and his wife (who was 35 years younger than he was) left him. He died poor, but proud.

The best part of this episode were the amazing documents. Original wills, pictures, all the great stuff you have to wear gloves to touch. Lionel got to see pictures of his great-grandfather (who looked very white to me), pictures of his probable 2nd greatgrandfather, and the will of his 3rd great grandfather, a document which freed his 2nd-greatgrandmother and his great-grandfather. (It's not as confusing as it sounds.)

I love this show because not only does it bring genealogy to the public, it shows family stories that in a weird way I can relate to. I can relate to the discovery of a photo, or the discovery of a document to complete a piece of the puzzle. That's why I watch it and the Generations Project (which I will be blogging about over the weekend).

Did you watch Lionel? What did you think?

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