Monday, March 28, 2011

Genealogy makes GREAT television programming

Admittedly, it is difficult to imagine that one's genealogical brick walls can be demolished in a scant hour-long broadcast, complete with advertising breaks. Likewise, Ol' Myrt here is sure it takes the real CSI: Miami  team more than an hour to solve each horrific crime. Better than Dancing with the Stars and The Biggest Loser are two television shows with family history research as the theme for ~ The Generations Project and Who Do You Think You Are?

But television programming being what it is -- must sell advertising. And to do that, the shows must be entertaining and pull in large numbers of viewers. NOTE: The tv image above courtesy of

The second season of BYUtv’s The Generation Project premiers tonight, Monday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m. MDT. The Generations Project is a reality-based family history show that uncovers the remarkable stories and family histories of everyday people. The people take a hands-on journey to learn about their ancestors, and in the process they discover more about themselves.
The second season of The Generations Project “takes you from Germany to Holland to New York's 'Little Pakistan' and everywhere in between, following eleven journeys into the past: the Denkes explore the origins of their children’s life-threatening genetic disease. Kerry hopes his ancestors will help him find his estranged son, and Ty delves into his complicated heritage as a son of Nazi Germany. They along with eight other guests engage with the past to understand the present.”

BYUtv is available through many local satellite and cable companies. In addition, The Generations Project can be viewed live online at (you'll need to register for a free account to view the show live). All episodes are also available to be viewed immediately after airing at (no registration required).

Well into the second season we've received word that the show has been extended for a third season. Perhaps more popular in England, the next episode, airing this Friday on NBS stations nationwide, will feature Gwyeneth Paltrow's ancestral quest.

The teaser just says this Oscar-winning actress "is expecting a journey... but what she gets is an awakening,"  so we'll have to tune in to learn more of Gwyneth's discoveries.

So QUIT GRIPING about the one hour limit -- at least a few genealogy research principles are illustrated during each broadcast. Its about time we voted with our time by watching genealogy-oriented television programming. It's also time to write to network execs and let them know you appreciate this sort of television. Support the advertisers, and somehow let them know you heard about it during the broadcast.

Network execs know we have a choice when it comes to television programming and they need to know we appreciate their work.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. Thanks Myrt, I've been preaching the same message. Just enjoy it for what it is, entertainment.

  2. I guess I'm in the minority when I say that I have zero interest in watching WDYTYA. I have no desire to watch celebrities feted with custom made genealogy research. The every day man's family history is of more interest to me and I had no idea that BYU network show existed until this blog post. The channel was just added to Time Warner Cable in the past month or two so I'll be watching out for it.

  3. I rarely make comments but have to agree about the need to stop griping. I do like to hear about the resources used on the show, but there would never be enough time to teach genealogy on the air. We have conferences, classes and webinars for that. Why not just appreciate the story?
    I don't care for Rosie O'Donnell and I didn't know Steve Buscemi from Adam, BUT I enjoyed immensely both of their family stories. After all, celebrities have "real" ancestors with stories too.

  4. I've been a viewer of WDYTYA from its original airing & find the journey each celebrity takes in their own family history search fascinating. My husband, on the other hand, marginally tolerates my interest (obsession?) w/genealogy and gets that bored, spacy look about his eyes when I enthuse about this or that discovery I've made in our families. Fast-forward to Friday nights: the last two weeks he's grumbled (just before the scheduled air time), "I suppose you're going to watch that family history show ..." and then turns the TV on to the right channel & settles back to watch with me! He may not be 'into' genealogy, but something about the chase has pulled him in. Way to go, WDYTYA!