WDYTYA – 6×03 – Angie Harmon – The Nitpicker’s Version

I thought I’d finally get to watch an episode as it aired on TV, visiting a friend in Arizona, but her cable company was incapable of providing a live TV feed. So I didn’t watch most of the Angie Harmon episode until after I got home.

They started with photos sent by her father, which she shared with her daughters.

Starting Close to Home

She started by meeting with genealogist Joseph Shumway at the Charlotte Museum of History. I was right in my previous review about them trying to teach along the way, when Joseph told Angie that he used “vital records, census, immigration, land records…” to find more information. But just listing record types doesn’t seem like enough for me. They still go right to Ancestry with the finished tree, or rather, a single branch of the tree, because they don’t have it filled in, nor do they specify what records told them what.

And then they go right back to her 5xgreat-grandfather with no information in between. Also again, as with Josh Groban, she never guessed she’d be German.

He did have her to click on a source document, so that was a little better than randomly listing record types. Again, we saw an index of a ship list, or rather another book that listed a name.

“Spelling was quite fluid in the records because a lot of it was phonetic.” OK, this was a good genealogy lesson included in the episode.

He sent her to Philadelphia to see the original source material.

To Philadelphia

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, historian James Horn shared the book of servants and apprentices. They met in a very large room with no other people in sight. I haven’t noticed that in an episode in a while. They must either close the building or film in off hours.

She somehow knew the date that her ancestor arrived, even though that was not shown in the episode. The source on the computer showed a page number but no date. There was obviously more shared with her that we didn’t see.

Angie learned that her ancestor was an indentured servant, for five years and seven months.

Back to the computer, they went to Fold3, also owned by Ancestry, where they looked at his Revolutionary War records.

Her next visit was with R Scott Stephenson at the Free Library to find more about her ancestor’s time in the army, where she saw a pay stub for him, which placed him at Valley Forge. They visited the reconstructed barracks at Valley Forge together.

The State Archives

Her next stop was at the State Archive to meet West Point historian Major Sean Sculley. Her ability to read the old record was impressive, as she read an old handwritten letter with lots of bleed-through about the mutiny of her ancestor’s regiment.

A couple documents later, she saw a book that showed he served from 1777 to 1781, so he took the deal offered that they spoke about and left the army. But there were other entries on the page with no dates. What was that about?

I like how he sent her to Kentucky by saying, “You have taken me as far as my expertise can go.” That was a great way to point out that every researcher they meet doesn’t know everything.

To Kentucky

In the Harrodsburg Historical Society, historian Amalie Preston shared his will, where Angie learned that he had seven children, and then sent her to see the land that he owned. And he achieved all that without learning how to read and write.

The episode ended with her visit to the land, after he daughters joined her, where she met her fifth cousin once removed, still living on the land.


I think the ending of this episode was the best part. The surprise of finding a cousin still living on the same land that she just read about in the will was great. I didn’t see that coming, except for the split second before he introduced himself.

Once again, we skip over generations of family, and alternate branches, to find the one that we see in the episode. I’m glad they didn’t go to Germany again, only because we just did that in the last episode. And I always want to know about everyone else as well. Do the genealogists who work on the show stop when they find the interesting story or do they try to fill in the whole tree? Have they ever found additional interesting stories and had to choose which one to air?

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