Tonight’s the night: Historiann moves up from C-SPAN 3 to basic cable

HistoriannTomBergeronTonight’s the night! Set your DVRs for TLC tonight at 9 Eastern/8 Central for Who Do You Think You Are.  (Be sure to check your local listings–I told people here the show would be on at 8 p. Mountain time, but it turns out that cable here conforms to the Eastern show times!)  You’ll see me join Tom Bergeron in Québec towards the end of his quest to learn about his 10th and ninth great-grandparents.

I don’t know all the details and will be eager to learn them tonight, but from what I learned on our shoot last month, it’s a story that spans France and early Canada.  The stories we’ll see are emblematic of the age of religious wars and migration to the New World.  Join us and let me know what you think!

Since I know you’re all too cool to ask:  Tom Bergeron and his wife are incredibly nice, normal, and completely down-to-earth people–they’re just people who talk about their friends named “Whoopi” and “Merv.”  Tom was very friendly and generous to a newcomer:  he talked me through all of the incredibly boring and redundant shots of us entering a room or picking up and examining the baptismal records I show him.  (When he starts talking in an Irish accent, you know that Tom’s bored and tired like everyone else, and trying to keep everyone in a good spirits until we could break for lunch.)

Tune in and tell me what you think!

13 thoughts on “Tonight’s the night: Historiann moves up from C-SPAN 3 to basic cable

  1. I don’t think that we get this at the same time as you in the states but I’ll search around to see what I can see. I’m especially interested for the French-Canadian aspects as we’re in a stronghold of Franco-Ontarian culture, here, which will make that part of the story extra-appealing!


    • It seems like at least portions of a lot of their archive are available on the website, so you could look for it there. I will post news about that if it appears!


  2. I hope there’s some kind of a dvd or web-link opportunity on this one. I don’t think I’m likely to find any sports bars here in the mtns. that would be willing to fish around to get TLC this evening. With a little, I don’t know if I dare say “luck,” back in the late 1750s, this would *be* a part of Quebec, as I tell rows and rows of mesmerized Penguins fans at every teachable moment–spring and fall, fall and spring. But things just sort of went in another direction somehow. Will look forward to seeing this, one way or another, and congrats!


  3. Since I spent the evening in the emergency room (nothing serious, but oh, you don’t get out quickly) I’ll have to check the website. My one experience of a TV shoot as a talking head (where I was eventually disappeared but they quoted my words) was exhausting – multiple takes of the same answer, etc. Yay, Historiann!


  4. I thought the show in general was a good illustration of how humans are drawn to stories of other people more readily than to “issues” history. The harrowing story of Bergeron’s ancestors under siege might have really piqued some interest in the religious wars of early modern France, whereas if I told my students “I will now lecture on the religious wars of early modern France” their dismay would have been palpable. Just a random thought on the move (1980s?) to get away from narrative history as somehow a less sophisticated approach than the theory of the day. It was also clear that each little segment must have actually taken dozens of hours to set up, from finding and translating the documents to doing the actual shoot and editing out all the time waiting for various websites to load, etc. How much of the actual legwork did you do, Historiann?


    • Great question, NB. I did precisely *none* of the research! It was all done by the researchers and given to me, although I had seen all of the documents/information in both scans of the original manuscripts as well as the English-language translations they had prepared. I was told that I should never admit on camera that I wasn’t the person who found all of those baptisms for the Rabouin family–that I should say “I have found” or “we found.”

      However, going back several months before the shoot, I was involved in fleshing out the possible stories the researchers and producer & director could follow–why the filles du roi are interesting and a big deal in Canada; what the Rabouin family’s life would have been like on 17th C Isle d’Orleans, etc. (A lot of those conversations didn’t make it into the final cut.) So I wasn’t just a chimp reading from cue cards–the director and producer developed an outline for my conversation with Tom in consultation with me, and were always telling me to tell THEM what would be an interesting or important thing to tell Tom.

      And you’re right–hours and hours of work by many people for just a 30, 60, or 75 second scene! It’s very humbling.


  5. A very enjoyable episode. It was fun to “know” some general stuff before they told it to him, as with La Rochelle being a protestant place in Century XVII. I’ll bet great-grandma X 10 was already working long before she was singled and “had to” work, but once you start down the road toward that level of detail, you’re commissioning a twelve-episode season. He was obviously picking up on stuff very quickly, and a celebrity who has jockied “stars” around a dance floor would intuitively know how to emote this kind of material a lot better than a different kind of subject, however sophisticated or well-informed. I was sorry it didn’t go on for a full hour to get more detail, which is how you want your audience to feel…


  6. Great show. As an 8th generation descendant of a “Kings Daughter” (Thomas Rousseau and Marie-Madeline Olivier), the insight provided to their life was interesting. I was also looking closely at the land documents that were provided to see if I could locate where they held land on I’lle d’Orleans but not such luck. As I am planning on visiting there in the near future, it would have been exciting and humbling (like Tom expressed) to stand on the land that they owned back then. I was also looking for the location of the “Ancestral Park” that was mentioned on the show but cant seem to locate in in Google. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!


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