We have all had that fleeting thought when watching one of our favorite television shows; "I wonder if I could be on this show". Well, I like many, thought the same thing when watching PBS' Genealogy Roadshow. Relaxing and enjoying the show, one Sunday evening, I thought "I bet the experts would most certainly be able to break down some of the brick walls in my research." The following evening I was doing some research and found myself on their website where I applied to be on the show (thinking nothing of it). I returned to my research and quickly it all slipped my mind.
A couple of months later I receive a phone call from a weird number. Not like me, I answer. ITS GENEALOGY ROADSHOW! They tell me that they received the application and are interested in featuring my story on the 2015 season of the show. We scheduled a Skype interview and said good-bye. A couple of weeks later it was time for the interview. It went off without a hitch, never mind my nerves getting the best of me! (haha). The interviewee asked me a series of questions and then let me jump on my soap box and tell my story and why I should be picked to be one GENEALOGY ROADSHOW!
Hours turned into days and days into weeks, my pessimism was beginning to get the best of me "well, the story probably wasn't interesting enough." I kept telling myself. About the time that those thoughts were starting to pour into my head I recieved another phone call. "Hello, Cory?" "This is ___ with Genealogy Roadshow, I wanted to call you to let you know that the producers saw the interview tape and would love to have you on the show!". I was literally beside myself with excitement, was I seriously going to be ON a show that I normally enjoy from the comfort of my home? The answer, YES!
I was given a date to show up and begin filming. Another month or so went by and it was time to head to St.Louis, MO. for the taping of the show. With it being a Friday, family and friends were unable to attend with me, however my wife (my best friend) was by my side the entire time.
The location chosen for the show was the Historic St.Louis Library. After about a 2 hour drive, we were there! The butterflies were really starting to fly by this point. We entered the building and found our way to the wing in which the show was filming. The library itself was breathtaking, coming from a small town it is hard to fathom the abundance of material and space. We finally found ourselves in the wing of the library that they were filming it. Another story was being shot so we quietly sat down at a nearby table and waited patiently.
As I was sitting at the large over-sized wooden desk I was given the opportunity to "take it all in". Being able to watch the show being filmed was amazing! "These are the things I see on TV" - I kept telling myself! The library itself was awe-inspiring. Books upon Books! I couldn't help but look over my shoulder and imagine the opening library scene from Ghostbusters, so I quickly snapped this photo.
St.Louis Central Library - "Ghostbusters Shot"
Everyone on set was very friendly and polite and came up to introduce themselves to my wife and I. Needless to say it helped calm the nerves! It was my time to begin filming and it was everything and nothing of what I imagined. The lights, the cameras, and all the while having to ignore those key aspects of the show that no one ever sees, not to mention I was standing next to Kenyatta Berry! One of the expert genealogist on the roadshow.
It was truly a remarkable experience that I can't wait to share with the generations to follow.
About the Program
Part detective story, part emotional journey, Genealogy Roadshow combines history and science to uncover the fascinating stories of diverse Americans. Each individual’s past links to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America.
Genealogy Roadshow's premiere season featured participants from four American cities — Nashville, Detroit, San Francisco and Austin — who want to explore unverified genealogical claims, passed down through family history, that may (or may not) connect them to an event or a historical figure. These cities were chosen as American crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, with deep pools of potential participants and stories. After participants are chosen, experts in genealogy, history and DNA use family heirlooms, letters, pictures, historical documents and other clues to hunt down more information.
These experts enlist the help of local historians to add color and context to the investigations, ensuring every artifact and every name becomes a clue in solving the mystery. Many answers will be revealed on camera before a local audience, in a historic building relevant to the cities’ — and the participants’ — histories.