Popular Genealogy TV Programs

September 2014 Update: Since ‘WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE’ (see bottom listing) TV series on cable channel ‘The Learning Channel’ and History Detectives on PBS-TV is finished for the year, the new series, “Finding Your Roots” with Dr Henry Louis Gates starts on September 23. The first episode includes horror novelist Stephen King, actor Courtney B. Vance and Canadian actress-singer Gloria Reuben.

Finding Your Roots

 


Finding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is a PBS-TV series that explores race, culture and identity through genealogy and genetics. PBS-TV hosts the popular series with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., host of the network’s past genealogy programs: African American Lives I & II, Oprah’s Roots, and Faces of America (see below), is rumored to be hosting another new genealogy program later this year.

The PBS Series will return Tuesday, September 23 for its second season. The 10-part series explores the heritages and ancestries of 30 of today’s leading entertainers, athletes, chefs, and media personalities, including Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Khandi Alexander, Tom Colicchio, Tina Fey, Sally Field, Derek Jeter, Stephen King, Nas, Anna Deavere Smith, Sting, and Courtney Vance

In the second, 10-part season, Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, continues his journey into the past to illuminate the familial histories of 30 of today’s most recognizable names in sports, music, film, television, theatre, and literature. Filmed on location around the world, season two of Finding Your Roots, premieres nationally Tuesdays, September 23rd – November 25th at 7 p.m. MT on PBS (check local listings).”

Viewers can watch past episodes of Finding Your Roots on PBS-TV at Visit Finding Your Roots Website>

Faces of America

Dr. Gates presented 12 celebrities in his popular 2010 PBS-TV program, The Faces of America. Viewers can visit the webpage of this program at The Faces of America Webpage. Viewers can watch the videos of this popular series on the different celebrities for FREE. The celebrities included professor and poet Elizabeth Alexander, chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. Viewers can purchase the TV series DVD on their website.

Professor Gates is Editor-in-Chief of TheRoot.com, a daily online magazine focusing on issues of interest to the African American community and written from an African American perspective, and the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American and Africana Studies. He is co-editor, with K. Anthony Appiah, of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. With Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, he is the co-editor of the eight-volume biographical encyclopedia African American Lives (Oxford, 2008).

Genealogy Roadshow

GENEALOGY ROADSHOW will combine history and science to uncover the fascinating stories of diverse Americans. Each individual’s past will link to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America. GENEALOGY ROADSHOW will air Mondays, September 23-October 14, 7:00 p.m. MT.

GENEALOGY ROADSHOW’s premiere season will feature participants from four American cities — Nashville, Austin, Detroit and San Francisco — who want to explore unverified genealogical claims, passed down through family history, that may (or may not) connect them to an event or a historical figure. These cities were chosen as American crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, with deep pools of potential participants and stories. THE GENEALOGY ROADSHOW has been a hit in Ireland, where Everybody wants answers to questions about their own histories to help make sense of their lives today.

Select this link at Genealogy Roadshow Website.

History Detectives

Per Wikipedia, History Detectives is a documentary television series on PBS that started in 2003. A group of researchers help people to seek answers to various historical questions they have, usually centering around a family heirloom, an old house or other historic object or structure. It devotes itself “to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects.

Each segment begins with a brief introduction and then shows the “detective” meeting with a person who has brought the case to their attention. The cases always revolve around a physical object which is supposedly related in some manner to American history. Usually these are family heirlooms of some type, although occasionally they are public objects or landmarks or items owned by private archives or museums. The person presenting them with the case then shows the investigator the item in question and relates their understanding of how this item is connected to American history. Often this involves some element of folk history which has been handed down as family or local lore.

May 2014: A new 2014 episode will include “The Disappearance of Glenn Miller.” As Glenn Miller’s musical career soared, he traded in his commercial success for a military uniform to entertain US troops during World War II. Then, on a foggy afternoon, December 15, 1944, he took off from England heading for France. His plane vanished over the English Channel. Glenn Miller was never seen again.

Since that fateful day, Glenn Miller’s disappearance has remained a mystery. Did friendly fire destroy the plane? Was Miller involved in espionage? Was he on a secret mission to end the war?


Recent discoveries—including an intriguing entry in an aircraft spotter’s log give the History Detectives fresh leads and new clues to explore. Along the way, they learn of the unusual role Glenn Miller (pictured above) and his music played in winning hearts and minds during World War II. Can they find out what happened to this beloved bandleader once and for all? You won’t want to miss this episode on the mystery of what happened to Glenn Miller on Tuesday, July 8 at 8 pm on Channel 6 KRMA-TV in Denver!

The History Detectives series runs during the summer through the fall on PBS-TV. Beginning on July 1, 2014 on Tuesday nights at 8 pm MT on Denver Channel 6 (KRMA-TV), Season 11 starts with four special investigation shows. You can watch past episodes on their History Detectives website.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are? is an American genealogy documentary series that premiered on NBC-TV in 2010 and continued in July 2013. The show is an adaptation of the British series of the same name, aired by the BBC. Each week a celebrity goes on a journey to trace his or her family tree. Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky are executive producers for the series, which is a partnership between TLC, Shed Entertainment, and Ancestry.com.

2014 Season Series Info


Cynthia Nixon (pictured above left) and Rachel McAdams are among those featured on the 2014 season of “Who Do You Think You Are?” The 48-year-old Sex & the City actress and 35-year-old The Notebook star will have their heritage explored in the new season of the popular television show.

The series will return to TLC for a second season in July. The upcoming episodes also feature Valerie Bertinelli (pictured above right)(One Day at a Time), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Kelsey Grammer (Cheers, Fraiser) and Rachel’s sister Kayleen McAdams.

From roots in the Deep South to the slums of New Jersey, “Who Do You Think You Are?” follows the journeys of some of the most well-known names in American popular culture as they reveal unknown details about themselves and their families. Each episode takes an emotional journey and discovers amazing details about a family trees’ deep roots.

“I’ve never stopped hearing about how much people love Who Do You Think You Are? and I’ve always known that we’ve had more great stories to share,” said Lisa Kudrow, Executive Producer in a press release. “TLC is a great home for the series, and we join our excited celebrity participants as we unearth some amazing background and surprising histories.”

You can visit the TLC WDYTYA website at TLC WDYTYA Website for more info and watch past episodes.

WDYTYA History

Season one celebrities in 2010 included celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, Susan Saradon, and Spike Lee. Season two celebrities in 2011 included Vanessa Williams, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Ritchie, Steve Buscemi, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ashley Judd. The third season featured celebrities Edie Falco, Helen Hunt, Blair Underwood, Martin Sheen, Reba McEntire, Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe, Marisa Tomei, Rita Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jerome Bettis, and Paula Deen. Season four celebrities included the popular country singer Kelly Clarkson, actors Chris O’Donnell and Jim Parsons, super model Cindy Crawford, comedian and talk show host Chelsea Handler, and actresses Christina Applegate and Zooey Deschanel. The series executive producers are Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky. Ancestry.com is again one of the sponsors.