Thursday, August 7, 2014

Where Were the Canadian Experts in WDYTYA? Rachel McAdams Episode?

Photo credit: TLC

I thought this episode Who Do You Think You Are? with Rachel and Kayleen McAdams was interesting and entertaining. Both Rachel and Kayleen were genuinely curious to find more about both sides of their mother's family. It was fun to watch how excited Kayleen and Rachel were when they learned they had a long line of ancestors in Canada. Both young ladies asked good questions about their ancestry, and the information presented to them.

My particular interest in this episode was the McAdams' Loyalist ancestry. I had the pleasure of attending the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada Conference 2014 this past June. One of the speakers was Todd Braisted. Todd is what I consider to be an American Revolutionary War expert especially with the battles and regiments of the New York and New Jersey. Rachel's and Kayleen's Loyalist ancestor, James Gray was from New York. Todd did a lot of the research for the show. The information presented was spot on. Todd did a great job.

I was dismayed and disappointed that the two male experts who met with Rachel and Kayleen were not Canadian. Both were Americans who the WDYTYA producers flew to Ottawa. I don't know if the female expert who met the sisters at the Archives of Ontario was Canadian or not. Don't let the little red maple leaf on Dr. Allan Taylor's cap fool you. Dr. Taylor did a find job of presenting the information, but he is not Canadian. Were any Canadian experts contacted for the show? Was the UELAC contacted? I can easily think of a half dozen or so Canadian genealogists and archivists who, in my opinion, should have presented the information to their fellow Canadians, Rachel and Kayleen.

They were two pieces of information presented that were not quite accurate. People living in the Thirteen Colonies at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War were not American. They were British. Yes, British subjects. Check the date when the Constitution was signed. Also, it is important to know those who were loyal to the Crown and came to Canada could petition for land, and so could their children in their own right. This was not made clear on the show.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. I was glad to see the producers didn't try to put an American spin on the story, but allowed the Loyalist ancestor to be the Canadian hero that he was. I'm looking forward to watching this episode again.

Should Rachel and Kayleen, or anyone else be interested in obtaining their certificate as a descendant of a Loyalist ancestor, please visit the UELAC website at

Copyright by Kathryn Lake Hogan, 2014.