We all like to know where we come from, mostly in the hope of a wind­fall from a long for­got­ten great-un­cle

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

We all like to know where we’ve come from, but why? It would be nice to think that the mo­ti­va­tion sim­ply was to find a heroic an­ces­tor who res­cued people from slav­ery, or dis­cov­ered the source of the Ganges, or even was spotted in shot dancing be­hind Fred As­taire in Fly­ing Down To Rio.

In truth, RTÉ’s Dead Money, in which foren­sic ge­neal­o­gists Steven and Kit Smyrl at­tempted to find the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of es­tates left by those who died with­out close rel­a­tives, sug­gested we saw our fam­ily trees as pos­si­ble money trees from which Lotto- style wind­falls could be shaken. Per­son­ally, I dream of hear­ing news of a long for­got­ten great-un­cle called Mike R O’Soft, who surely must have lent his name to a com­pany some­where.

Equally, in Who Do You Think You Are? there’s some­thing com­fort­ing about watch­ing a huge star hum­bled by the poverty, pesti­lence or pogroms his or her fam­ily faced. A dose of hu­mil­ity never does any­one any harm.

The most hu­man of all these shows, though, is The Ge­neal­ogy Road­show, re­turn­ing to RTÉ tonight at 7pm. Pre­sented by Derek Mooney, the opener sees the team un­earth the sto­ries of a Wex­ford man who sur­vived Custer’s Last Stand, and also tells the story of the Dres­den Af­fair, when hun­dreds of poor em­i­grants died dur­ing the pas­sage to Ar­gentina on a ship called the City of Dres­den.

The se­ries high­light, how­ever, prom­ises to be the up­com­ing story of a Long­ford woman who be­came a no­to­ri­ous crim­i­nal in the United States in the Pro­hi­bi­tion era.

Mind you, given that the show oc­cu­pies the slot va­cated by The Voice Of Ire­land, maybe RTÉ could turn its at­ten­tion to pre­vi­ous Voice win­ners for a new show. They could call it Where Do You Think They Are Now?

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