Israel: US-version of WDYTYA air times set

According to YES, the American version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” will air Thursdays at 11pm and Fridays at 7pm on YES Docu (channel 8).

Tracing the Tribe believes the Friday screening will be the repeat of the previous evening.

Set your recorders!

Israel: US-version WDYTYA to air on YES (not HOT)

CORRECTION: Tracing the Tribe indicated the news was on HOT, but it was on YES Channel 8 “Docu.”
Do I need more sleep? Yes! Apologies.

Well, well, well. What a surprise tonight!

In addition to learning that BBC will air the American version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” beginning April 25, Tracing the Tribe was also delighted to see the following announcement on TV tonight:

YES cable’s Channel 8 Docu advertised that the US version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” will be airing soon.

Tracing the Tribe will try to get a start date from the channel and inform readers.

Hooray! WDYTYA-USA renewed!

An NBC press release dated April 5 indicated that the American version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” (and two other shows) has been renewed for the 2010-11 season.

Read the complete press release here, but the relevant parts are below:

Who Do You Think You Are?” from executive producer Lisa Kudrow is averaging a 1.6 rating, 6 share in adults 18-49 and 6.8 million viewers overall in “most current” results for its season thus far. In preliminary results for last Friday, “Who Do You Think You Are?” won the 8-9 p.m. ET hour in adults 18-49, marking the first time any regular competitor in this slot has beaten an original episode of CBS’s “Ghost Whisperer” in 18-49 rating since November 17, 2006. “Who Do You Think You Are?” has improved the time period by 23 percent in adult 18-49 rating versus NBC’s average for the traditional 2008-09 season in “live plus same day” results.

Thomas MacEntee over at presents each week’s stats for the show.

Genealogists aren’t surprised by the ratings – we knew it would be a hit – and we are all hoping that the show will “bounce” interest in our passion and sometimes-compulsive interest.

Wonder who the celebs will be next season?

Now, if those of us based elsewhere on the globe could see the episodes, life would be even better!

WDYTYA: Back to Belarus with Lisa

From Suzanne Russo Adams at, comes a detailed report on March 19’s episode on Lisa Kudrow and her search for information in Belarus and Poland:

Kudrow’s episode was one of the most riveting of the series, says Suzanne. In it, Lisa visits the small shtetl of Ilya, Belarus, where her great-grandmother was murdered during the Holocaust.

Lisa’s father, Dr. Lee Kudrow, always wondered what happened to Yuri, a cousin who had escaped to Poland and who told about Lisa’s great-grandmother’s death. Yuri was never heard from again.

On a visit to Gdynia, Poland, to discover Yuri’s true fate, Lisa is shocked to learn that Yuri was still alive! Despite the tragic history, there is a beautiful reunion between two families separated by the Holocaust.

If you missed the episode, watch it here. (CAVEAT: Unfortunately, the link only works in the US, and not in Hong Kong or Australia, where I most recently attempted to watch it via online links.)

Suzanne provides tips (additional comments by Tracing the Tribe are included) for those curious about how the team of genealogists for this episode found out more about Lisa’s Jewish family.

Here are resources to help newcomers better understand Jewish family history research.

Go-to resources: U.S. passenger lists, Yad Vashem,,

How they helped: Lisa Kudrow’s US family heard about her great-grandmother’s death from a cousin named Yuri who visited Lisa’s dad and grandmother in the late 1940s. Lisa’s research goal is to discover where her great-grandmother was buried and learn more about Yuri. Her visit to Belarus and online resources help her achieve that goal.

Resource #1: List of Jews murdered in Ilya massacre
Lisa’s family knew her great-grandmother was killed, but through a list of victims in Ilya, she sees the proof. Written next to her name are the words “killed and burned.”

Resource #2: Yizkor book: “A Tale of Struggling, Toil, and Tears,” by David Rubin
While visiting Ilya, Lisa reviews a translated Yizkor (memorial) book about the massacre of 900 Jews in March 1942. The town’s Jewish population came to an end that day. Lisa walks the same path her great-grandmother was forced to walk 68 years ago. At the gravesite is a memorial to the murdered Jews.

Resource #3: Passenger list
Looking for some positive news on her trip, Lisa turns her search toward the one relative she knows survived – Yuri – who visited her father in the late 1940s. An Ancestry passenger list shows a man with the same surname but the given name Boleslaw. Are Yuri and Boleslaw the same person?

Resource #4: Registry card
In Gdynia , Poland, Lisa sees Boleslaw’s city registry card. Yuri changed his name to a Polish name for assimilation. His wife and son are registered.

Resource #5: Phone directory
The phone director lists Boleslaw, who is still alive.

Weren’t Eastern European records all destroyed?
The records from Eastern Europe that Lisa’s family found aren’t uncommon. Although millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, records did survive.

Are you following US Jewish lines? Follow step -by-step through the US, including census records, passenger lists, citizenship records, vital records and more at various sites such as Ancestry and Once you’ve found all the US records, then jump to European records.

Learn about your family’s towns and villages, immigration data and clues to other relatives.

Check out sites such as JewishGen for a town’s Yizkor book or its Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Yad Vashem for other Holocaust-related documents, Ancestry’s holdings,’s Holocaust collection (and other records), the Jewish Family History Collection, and, of course, Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog.

Never give up, and keep searching.

Israel: WDYTYA producer speaks

Yes, there’s a lot of buzz about the US-version of WDYTYA. But another series – the Israeli version is also screening now.

On March 9, the local Jewish Family Research Association/Israel Genealogical Society branch in Ra’anana hosted director Zafrir Kochanowsky of the six-episode Israeli version, shown on Thursday evenings.

He explained that “it was not easy” to get subjects. The program planners and researchers wanted people with a variety of backgrounds and a mixture of men and women.

As in the UK and US versions, well-known personalities were approached. However, some 85% of the Israeli celebs refused!

Eventually, six people agreed and research was done mainly in Russia, Poland, Hungary and Germany. Each person was taken on a “roots trail,” resulting in some cases with the discovery of documents written in ancestors’ handwriting and, in others, discovering previously unknown living family members.

One of the biggest problems was keeping everything a secret. Although Israel is so security-minded, word travels fast in this small country.

The producers wanted to maintain the “surprise” element; when the personalities set off from Ben Gurion Airport, they didn’t know where they were going or what they were going to find!

Genealogical assistance to the series was provided by Arnon Hershkovitz, who moderates an on-line Hebrew Family Roots forum.

Kochanowsky announced that plans to produce a DVD of the episodes – with English subtitles – are in the pipeline.

Thanks to JFRA/IGS’ Ingrid Rockberger for this report.

We’ll report on the availability of the DVD as soon as we learn more.