Many families can trace their bloodlines back a generation or two, but with a little research, people can now find long-lost relatives, solve family mysteries and uncover connections they never knew they had.
In 2006, Oprah had her DNA tested for the PBS series African American Lives
, and she says the experience was life-changing. "I've got to say, when it happened to me, it was absolutely empowering to know the journey of my entire family," she says.
How would your self-perception change if you found out your great-great-great grandmother was a queen? What if Albert Einstein was your great-uncle? More celebrities are discovering this for themselves in the new reality series Who Do You Think You Are?
star Lisa Kudrow is one of the executive producers of this series, which originated in England. Lisa says she first discovered the show while working in Ireland. "I didn't know who any of those famous people over there were, and I didn't care," she says. "It was riveting, and I just felt like, 'Well, why don't we get to have a show like this here?'"
Lisa worked behind the scenes to bring this show to the States, and over time, celebrities signed on to have cameras document their genealogical journeys. In the first season, stars like Emmitt Smith
, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Susan Sarandon and Brooke Shields learn about their roots andlearn even more about themselves along the way.
"It's changed everything about who I thought I was," Sarah Jessica says. "Everything."