Finding an Actor's Lynchburg Past

Underwood With Library Workers

Lynchburg, VA - They've had to stay very tight lipped about the whole ordeal, but local genealogists are talking about their experience meeting actor Blair Underwood and helping him track his ancestors that landed him in Lynchburg.

It was all for the NBC show "Who Do You Think You Are?" It's where they retrace the family heritage of celebrities.

Friday night they're featuring Underwood whose journey took him all the way to Africa and right here to Central Virginia.

Last September they taped the show in Lynchburg.

You may remember Underwood from L.A. Law or his role in "Sex and the City" as the character Miranda's short-lived love interest. But Blair Underwood's latest TV appearance involves a visit to the Jones Memorial Library.

Genealogist Lewis Averett took the initial call from the show's producers.

"I was just amazed, you know I thought, 'Boy this is too good.," said Averett with Jones Memorial Library.

Producers asked Averett to look up an obituary from 1966. That's where they found Underwood's great grandfather.

"We were told not to give his name away until they had prepared the show because they might not have been able to come up with anything," said Averett.

But indeed they did and Underwood came to Lynchburg to see if for himself.

Underwood sat down in a chair in the library and grabbed a microfilm and started digging. "

"He was quite surprised with what he found," said Averett.

Now, Averett couldn't say much because of the rules of the show.

But here's one interesting fact: At a time when many blacks were slaves, some of Underwood's ancestors were free.

"They were trained in a trade and they ended up working in Lynchburg," said Averett.

But that's only the beginning of the surprises, and Averett can't wait for the world to see what he already knows.

"I'm so excited to watch it, my wife says I've been carrying on about this for far too long," said Averett.

They also shot part of the show in downtown Lynchburg, and Bedford. If you'd like to watch, it's coming on Friday night at 8 p.m.on NBC.