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Ancestry.com offers provocative Independence Day ad

Commentary: The genealogy site gets descendants of those who signed the Declaration of Independence to show the true diversity of the nation.

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Descendants of the signers. 

Ancestry.com/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

This weekend, we contemplate the state of the nation and the definition of what is or isn't modern-day presidential.

Perhaps, though, we should also look back to see where it all began. And how.

Genealogy site Ancestry.com did just that. It corralled descendants of those who signed the Declaration of Independence and asked them to appear in its new ad.

The ad re-creates the famous "Declaration of Independence" painting by John Trumbull. 

You know, the one where a lot of men gathered together to offer the British one last snort.

This ad might surprise some by revealing that the descendants are a diverse group. Indeed, Vineet Mehra, Ancestry.com's chief marketing officer, offered Adweek this statement: "Diversity isn't just something we value as Americans. It's quite literally part of who we are."

The ad is clear political statement. Indeed, Mehra added: "We are living in a time when many people feel disconnected from one another, and one of the most powerful things we can do is to show how connected we really are." He sounds like Mark Zuckerberg, doesn't he?

And just like many of Zuckerberg's utterings, this purpose here isn't entirely altruistic. The ad is trying to get you to use Ancestry.com's services. 

These include a chance for you to "uncover your ethnic mix, discover distant relatives and find new details about your unique family history." All you have to do is offer up a DNA sample and $99.

I wonder how some would react if they discovered that they weren't quite who they thought they were.

"Unlock your past, inspire your future," the ad concludes. Can knowledge of one's past really inspire one's future? Hey, I'm a descendant of refugees and I rarely know if I'm coming or going.