Sunday, September 25, 2011

WDYTYA? : Afterlife Version

Several months ago Susan Peterson of Long Lost Relatives had a fun challenge.

"Imagine, just for a moment, that you are the producer of the hit NBC television series, Who Do You Think You Are? What celebrities would you like to see on your perfect season of the show? And why would you choose them?"

I jumped on board immediately coming up with a personal top ten list. It was great fun to create my dream team.

Recently an "interesting" idea popped into my brain. What about an afterlife edition of the popular genealogy based show?

So here are five historical picks for my other worldly Who Do You Think You Are?

Edgar Allan Poe - You know there are plenty of bones rattling around in his closet! How twisted is the family tree?

Was it part of his DNA to write some of the most macabre literature? Is it a case of nature versus nurture? Hanging out with Edgar for a few hours could cause thrills of fright or delight.

Harriet Tubman - photograph- The New England magazine, vol. 14, 1896. Wikipedia states: "an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. After escaping from slavery, into which she was born, she made thirteen missions to rescue more than 70 slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era struggled for women's suffrage".

Imagine spending time in the presence of this amazing woman. What happened to her family in the midst of slavery? I would love to discover where she inherited the courage and resolve to carry out that which many still find astounding.

Wyatt Earp - Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with all things wild west. Forget baby dolls, this gal was out there rounding up bad guys.

Could you imagine pulling up a saloon chair to chat with the brothers Earp? What adventures shaped them? In a world full of desperadoes, why did they choose the law?

Wild West Personalities Produce Bang-Up Pedigree
by Myra Vanderpool Gomley, CG

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte - photograph - Daughters of Genius by James Parton, 1886. Growing up in Maryland the Patterson name is very well-known. In fact as a child my mother played in Patterson Park.

Betsy is also known for facing off with none other than Napoleon Bonaparte! As a young woman she married the youngest brother of the future Emperor. To say Napoleon was unhappy would be a vast understatement. He insisted the marriage be annulled. The story of how Betsy survives this tyrant and goes on to lead an amazing life is the stuff of legend.

Where did Betsy inherit her grit and determination? How fun to have a cozy chat with the belle who tangled with a dictator.

Family line - Patterson-Bonaparte Collection - Maryland Historical Society.

George Herman Ruth (the Babe) - Our family is full of avid sports fans. I grew up watching every game imaginable including golf, bowling and car racing. Baseball was a particular favorite of my father. He made sure we knew about the pioneers and their history.

In Baltimore every fan knows the Babe's story by heart. How he was born in Pigtown and later sent to a reformatory.

Fast forward to adulthood and I have married a Ruth! I can't tell you the number of times I am asked if we are related to George Herman Ruth. We usually smile and say more than likely not.

Recently while researching my husband's family line I found a possible connection. I need a little divine intervention! Would be nice to have a good old-fashioned chin-wag with the Babe.

Babe's Personal Side - Babe Ruth Central

So, there is the short list of my "afterlife" choices. I just realized all except Wyatt Earp have a Maryland connection!

Join in the fun. Who would you select for your show and why?


  1. Wyatt Earp is buried in the same cemetery as a lot of my family. I think it could just sway my husband to actually make a trip there :-)

  2. Would love to visit that cemetery! Make sure to post pictures if you make the trip.