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# Friday, March 26, 2010
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Episode 4 Recap
Posted by Diane

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t yet seen the Matthew Broderick episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” and you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading.

Matthew Broderick start the episode with his dad’s line, and he visits his sister Janet to learn the basics. Their grandfather James Joseph Broderick (“Joe”), he finds out, was in the First World War. Janet had heard he received money because he’d breathed in poisonous gas during the war.

Broderick goes to the National Archives facility in New York City to research military records. Joe was in the 106th infantry, 26th division in France in March 1918. “I’m dying to know what happened,” Broderick says. Who among us hasn’t uttered those words?

He goes to France, to the battlefield where Joe, fought. A historian is describing the battle, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive (also called the Battle of the Argonne Forest). Joe was the first responder to injured soldiers on the field. Joe received a Purple Heart for being wounded on Oct. 27, 1918.

Broderick and the historian visit the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery, where more than 14,000 American soldiers are buried. He pays respects to those from his grandfather’s division, some of whom died the day Joe was injured.

Joe received a commendation for performing his duties with bravery. Good quote: “It’s because of his service and all of these men that our family has the life we do today…. It’s like learning there’s something different in your being than what you always thought.”

We switch to Joe’s wife Mary Martindale’s at the Connecticut State Archives. Broderick seems to be covering more branches than those in the other episodes—I like it.

It’s an Ancestry.com census search lesson. She lives in an orphanage in the 1910 census, which it looks like Matthew never realized. They go into the vault—I wonder how many real-life people get to do that.

Coroner’s records show Mary’s mother had died and her father was killed in 1908 in an accident while working for a railroad company.

Next we look at Mary’s father William in an 1870 census book for New Haven. William’s father isn’t listed with the rest of the family. They go to the 1850 census and find a 27-year-old Robert Martindale, William’s father. Matthew Broderick has found his great-great-great-grandfather. They’re all missing from the 1860 census. A logical explanation? The Civil War.

The archivist and Broderick look in a card index—in an old-fashioned library card catalog drawer—of those who served in the Civil War by town. On to enlistment records. He volunteered in 1862. There’s a physical description. The archivist seems concerned for Broderick. “It’s a lot to take in,” he says.

We see a shot of Broderick as Robert Gould Shaw in Glory, a movie I love. The archivist brings muster rolls, showing that his ancestor fought at Gettysburg, and survived. Broderick traces the regiment to Atlanta and the battle of Peachtree Creek in July 1864. He meets a Civil War historian on the field and learns Robert Martindale died July 23, 1864, with a musket ball to the head—a bloody but quick and painless death, the historian reassures him.

Another historian, Brad Quinlin (who, incidentally, appeared as an extra in Glory) meets with Broderick. They find the makeshift cemetery where the soldiers from the battle were buried.

After the war, many of the soldiers were reinterred in newly established national cemeteries. We visit Marietta National Cemetery, where 10,000 Union soldiers were buried. 3,000 of the graves are numbered but unidentified. Quinlan is able to study records for the entire regiment and figure out which numbered stone is Martindales: 2469.

Broderick is “gobsmacked.” I’m amazed they can track him nearly 150 years later. Quinlan is going to send the paperwork to the VA and the grave will be identified.

You can search burials in national cemeteries with the Nationwide Gravesite Locator.

I like that we heard so many stories in this episode, but it feels a little fast-paced to me, like the emotion hasn’t had time to sink in. Maybe it’s because last week’s episode was so emotional, and I’m typing the whole time and the dog is whining because I’m ignoring her. But I like how Broderick sums it up: “We’re all related to the generations that happened before us. What they went through shaped our time.”
"Who Do You Think You Are?"
Friday, March 26, 2010 8:28:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Sunday, March 28, 2010 2:05:39 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
It was the GGGrandfather (Robert Martindale) of Matthew Broderick, who fought against General Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg, during the Civil War. Martindale for the Union and Lee for the Confederacy. This battle did not end well for Genera Lee, as 50,000 casualties were reported.

Interesting, Robert E. Lee: 13C9R to Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah is my 10C2R. Our common ancestor is Robert Elwell, Parker's 11th GGrandfather and my 9th GGrandfather. She descends from Samuel Elwell, where I descend from Samuel's brother, Thomas Elwell I. If you have gone into Sarah's genealogy and listened to WHO DO YOU WHINK YOU ARE episode about her, it was revealed that Samuel Elwell married an Hester Esther Dutch, accused of being a witch. Well. it must be fairly common in that era in Salem, because Sarah Bassett (Wife of Thomas Elwell) was also accused on being a witch as was her mother Sarah (Burt) Bassett (my 9th GGrandmother) and Sarahs' daughter, Elizabeth Bassett and her husband. John Proctor, both accused of being witches. Proctor was hanged while, his wife, Elizabeth was spared because she was pregnant.

John Proctor is my 5C18R
Elizabeth Bassett is my 8Grandaunt

Mayflower Immigrants John Alden I and his wife, Pricilla Mullins, had their son John Alden II accused of being a Witch.
John Alden I is my 8C12R.
Pricilla Mullins, is my 7C8R.

Do you have a witch in your ancestry?
Joann (Williams) Sovelenko
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