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Spoiler alert! If you don’t want to know what happens in season 3, episode 1 of “Who
Do You Think You Are?” stop reading right now.
I got Leo settled into bed just before 8, so I got myself settled on the sofa to watch
the premiere episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” season 3, featuring Martin Sheen.
Sheen’s Irish-born mother died when he was 11. I was kind of hoping this show would
start like others, with a trip home—Sheen grew up in Dayton, Ohio, northern neighbor
to my Cincinnati hometown—but we moved right into the stories of Sheen’s two revolutionary
His mother’s brother was an activist during the Irish Civil War of 1922 to 1923, but,
it turns out, not on the side Sheen thought: He was opposed to the Irish Free State
and the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
Sheen’s father’s brother Matias stood up against Gen. Francisco Franco for the Spanish
republic in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939.
Sheen visits prisons where each man was held. The show draws strong parallels with
Sheen’s own social activism.
Next, Sheen delves farther back into his father’s family. He learns the names of his
fourth-great-grandparents—and that his fourth-great-grandfather had several children
with another woman (prompting a “Whoops!” from Sheen). The man also was a judge prosecuting
a young woman in the community who’d had an affair, probably with a cleric.
And the better-than-fiction twist: This young woman’s descendant married the judge’s
descendant –branches on the family tree from which Sheen sprang.
Your ancestors hail from Spain, like Sheen’s paternal branch? Consult our Spanish
and Portuguese Research Guide digital download.