Who Do You Think You Are?

David A. Lossos

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A new TV series starts in March that has genealogy as its central theme. Originally scheduled to begin more than a year ago, I'm happy to see that it finally made the cut. This award-winning series has been running in Europe for a number of years. As a matter of fact, yours truly had a hand in the research and filming of one of the shows last year.

Here is NBC's official announcement: "NBC's commitment to bringing A-list talent to its 2009-2010 primetime schedule includes a unique and personal glimpse into the lives of our favorite celebrities. In each episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, a celebrity embarks on a journey of self-discovery and unearths his or her family tree - revealing surprising, inspiring and sometimes tragic stories that are often linked to events in American history. We share intimate moments with the stars as they learn about their past, and how the struggles of their ancestors have shaped today's world. Stars include Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon. NBC partners with Ancestry.com to create a unique interactive microsite and an opportunity for viewers to trace their own roots."

I was contacted in the Spring of last year by the Director of the TV series in Ireland. He initially hired me to perform research on a set of brothers that had emigrated from Ireland and settled here in St. Louis, Missouri. With the relatively common Irish name of Kenney, there were a few false starts until I found the correct Kenney family. The final outcome was that I found all the requisite details needed to get a go-ahead for filming of this particular one hour show. The producers at "Mint Productions" in Dublin authorized a film crew of four people plus the star of the show, Simon Delaney to fly to St. Louis for three days of filming. Simon is a popular entertainer in his native Ireland, a star of stage, screen and TV.

I was fortunate to be asked to be a part of the filming, and appear in two scenes with Simon as his St. Louis genealogy unfolds on film.

What follows are some images from that TV show, as well as some "behind the scenes" shots that I took.

Introductory slide of Simon Delaney in St. Louis

Opening shot of downtown St. Louis

Simon Delaney in downtown St. Louis

Behind the scenes

Showing Simon Delaney some of my research

They wanted to meet at an Irish pub. I picked this one

Behind the scenes

Pouring over my research

It was easy to see the comedic side of Simon Delaney

Taking a lunch break at McGurk's (Director, Producer, Cameraman)

In front of a St. Louis landmark

Research leads us to the St. Louis Police Archives

With archivist Barbara at Police Archives

Patrolman Thomas Kenney

Barbara shows Simon Delaney more information

Looking out at Art Hill

On Laclede's Landing with Mississippi in background

Dave and Simon discuss research

Chart showing Simon 41 third cousins in St. Louis

Brenda Kenney Schwab invites Simon Delaney into her home

Brenda Kenney Schwab and Simon Delaney

Brenda Kenney Schwab family with Simon Delaney