Friday on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Paula Deen
Posted by Diane
On Friday's final episode of the NBC
genealogy show "Who Do You Think You Are?" TV chef Paula Deen crisscrossed the
state of Georgia tracing her maternal roots.
Deen's parents died when she was a
young woman, so not much family information had made its way to
her. The show focused on her third-great-grandfather
John Batts, a slaveowning planter and member of the Georgia
legislature from 1857 to 1860.
Batts' son William (brother to Deen's great-great-grandmother Eliza Batts) fought for the
confederates in the 12th Georgia regiment during the Civil War.
The Georgia Archives actually had letters he'd written home,
as well as letters from his commanding officer. These missives gave Deen an
intimate view into William's experiences and his family's reaction
after he was killed in action.
At Fold3—the first time I can remember
this subscription site being shown on WDYTYA?—Deen finds John
Batts' application for a pardon from the US government. Most of the
South was covered by President
Andrew Johnson's blanket pardon, but wealthy planters like
Batts had to swear loyalty and provide documentation they'd freed
Tax records at Emory University show
John Batts' fate. Things went downhill for the family after an economic depression in 1873.
Deen and a researcher note declining values of John's personal
and real estate until 1879, when the records show all zeros. A
newspaper article reveals that John, sadly, had committed suicide.
Do You Think You Are?" won't be returning next season, GeneaBloggers
reports that for the first time this season, the episode
came in first for viewership in its time slot and was the
third-most-watched show for the evening.
These two short videos show research not included in Friday's episode, about Deen's
fifth-great-grandfather Joel Walker, an early Georgia settler in
the Savannah area.
can watch the full episode about Paula Deen's family history
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Civil War | Fold3
Monday, May 21, 2012 9:27:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)