Behind the Scenes of the "Who Do You Think You Are?" Filming

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
April 11, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the “Who Do You Think You Are?” episode that featured actor Scott Foley using DAR resources to learn more about his ancestor. You can watch the full episode on the TLC website here.

I was so proud of how beautiful our Headquarters looked and how well our organization was portrayed. We have seen our Headquarters buildings on television and in movies before, but usually substituting as the White House or other iconic D.C. locations in fictional storylines. It was such an honor to see the DAR Headquarters showcased on national television as itself and to highlight the services we provide to the public.

DAR was first mentioned at the beginning of the episode when Scott Foley’s father tells him that he had always heard that if he had any daughters, they would be eligible for the Daughters of the American Revolution.  They then use the DAR Website and show how easy it is to research your family history on our site (they show some great screen shots of our website and the GRS Ancestor Search!). But Scott had trouble finding what he was looking for so he decides to head to Washington, D.C., to our National Headquarters to see if he can get some help.  The episode showcases beautiful images of the outside of our Headquarters building as well as inside the DAR Library. Scott and an independent genealogist again use the GRS to look up his ancestor and find that he is a DAR established patriot. They take a look at his ancestors’ pension which reveals he served in General George Washington’s elite Life Guard. It was fun watching how moved Scott was when he learned about his connection to the Revolutionary War – in his words “Wow! We were a part of it, which is pretty friggin’ cool.” We think so too, Scott!

 “Who Do You Think You Are?” has provided positive national exposure for our organization. The traffic to our website and the GRS more than quadrupled on Sunday! This shows the increased interest in our genealogical resources! Additionally, double the normal number of Record Copies and Supporting Documents were ordered Sunday evening.

We couldn’t share too much information with you prior to the air date in order to preserve the storyline of the episode. But I’m pleased to tell you more about the DAR involvement and to share some behind the scenes photos from the filming at DAR Headquarters.

The DAR was contacted by producers at “Who Do You Think You Are” (WDYTYA) who were working on a storyline that included a Revolutionary War era ancestor. The researchers utilized the GRS to discover the patriot. Without being told who the celebrity subject was, DAR worked with the WDYTYA producers to plan the filming at the DAR Library. The DAR team worked closely with the WDYTYA production team to assure accuracy in the portrayal of the DAR Headquarters, organization, and genealogical procedures and requirements.

Many of the aspects of the filming are planned ahead of time in order to effectively produce a compelling program. However, the information presented to the celebrity is a complete surprise to the individual so their reactions and dialogue are unscripted. Scott was genuinely so excited and moved by the discoveries of his Revolutionary War patriot made at the DAR Library.

The whole WDYTYA production crew was so complimentary of the DAR team that assisted throughout the entire process. 

Highlight clips as well as the full episode are posted on the TLC website here, please watch and share them with your friends and family.  It’s a great opportunity to start a dialogue with someone and tell them more about our wonderful organization!

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