Saturday, September 28, 2019
A New Season
While fall may signal the closing of the year, for our American culture, it brings us new beginnings—on television series, that is. For those of us in the genealogy world, there's quite a bit of buzz lately about the return of a family history favorite and the addition of a new series to love.
The family history favorite is PBS's sixth season of Dr. Henry Louis Gates' Finding Your Roots, which returns on October 8. An army of professional genealogists distill the family history of two to three celebrity guests into documentary-sized bites. Twenty two celebs are lined up for this season.
Coming up one week from this morning, a new series will air on NBC: A New Leaf, with Daisy Fuentes. The program, developed in partnership with Ancestry.com, will "join families as they learn the importance of appreciating and understanding their family history and ancestors in order to make important life decisions." As sponsor Ancestry explained to their audiences in a September 24 blog post, "We heard your feedback" about favorite show Who Do You Think You Are?, and noted the many requests they received "to see everyday people embark on journeys of personal discovery, too." A New Leaf is their response to those requests.
Absent from all the fall season promotion is any mention of the program which inspired such a request. Although press releases back in May announced the return of Who Do You Think You Are? to its originating channel, NBC, and promised a thirteen-episode season to come, there has been no announcement yet to reveal when that season's premiere will occur.
One positive ripple effect from all this genealogical programming is a palpable uptick in interest in family history. Classes I teach at local libraries draw more attendees after the start of a new season, as do my beginning genealogy courses. And, of course, I get a significant increase in the number of hits visiting A Family Tapestry. Not only does genealogy programming offer us some compelling human interest stories, it inspires an "I can do this too" attitude among thousands of people who might otherwise never have considered delving into the mysteries of their own roots.