The Top 7 Genealogy TV Shows You Don’t Want to Miss

Ready to get inspired to discover your family history?

TV shows about ancestry have spiked in popularity in recent years. There are countless genealogy documentaries following celebrities as they uncover their pasts. However, there are other options if you want a more generalized view of genealogy or prefer shows that focus on ordinary people.

Here’s a list of the top seven genealogy TV shows to add to your playlist.

7 Must-Watch Genealogy TV Shows

If you’re searching for family tree TV shows, check out these wildly popular looks at the subject of family research.

Note that some of these genealogy shows on Netflix, cable TV, and other streaming platforms are easier to track down than others, depending on where they were initially broadcast.

1) A New Leaf

Popular genealogy programs often focus on celebrities, but A New Leaf is the show for you if you’re not interested in famous family trees.

The premise of this 13-episode show is simple. Every episode begins with an everyday person who wants to discover where they came from. The production initially aired on NBC during The More You Know block on Saturday mornings.

Following the lives of these ordinary people may shed some light on how you can uncover more information about your relatives.

2) Ancestors

Ancestors was a show that brought an international flavor to the genealogy industry. With so many American families originating from overseas, going beyond the borders of the U.S. can feel like an impossible challenge.

This 23-episode show, available for free on BYUtv, blends emotional personal stories with the expert genealogy knowledge you expect.

If you’re looking for practical genealogy TV shows to watch, Ancestors is the show for you.

3) Ancestors in the Attic

Ancestors in the Attic is an older show but still a classic. Hosted by Jeff Douglas, Canadians are taken on whirlwind road trips and global searches to find out where they really came from. It’s a fast-paced series focusing more on the drama than the practical aspect of family history, but it is still a fantastic watch.

Unfortunately, the age of this show means that finding it is challenging. Your best bet is to rent or buy it online.

4) Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

To switch to a more recent genealogy show, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. follows two or three famous Americans in every episode to uncover their family history. The historian-turned-host deftly delivers history lessons mixed in with the business of researching these famous faces.

It’s one of the most popular genealogy TV shows. Season eight launched on PBS in January 2022.

5) Genealogy Roadshow

Genealogy Roadshow is another of the exciting ancestry TV programs produced by PBS. Anyone familiar with the Antiques Roadshow episodic style will find themselves at home with this genealogy show.

Three genealogy experts answer questions on family history from ordinary Americans, bring old records to life, and highlight some incredible finds from famous family trees.

You can watch the Genealogy Roadshow by subscribing to PBS online.

6) The Genetic Detective

CeCe Moore stars at the heart of this ABC show from 2020. She has tremendous experience in genealogy, and ancestry shows on TV, having served as a consultant on the Genealogy Roadshow and Finding Your Roots.

Moore has even helped law enforcement solve criminal cases through DNA. The Genetic Detective is less about family history and more about the power of DNA.

Even though the show only lasted for one season, the ABC website still has these episodes available for free.

7) The Generations Project

Uncovering a massive family secret is the peak of joy when delving into your family history. The Generations Project follows a selection of everyday Americans as they look through the window of the past to learn more about their identities.

This is one of the ancestry shows on TV that can be incredibly emotional, as people finally connect with lost relatives and learn devastating truths that turn their worlds upside down.

The Generations Project was among the best genealogy TV shows produced by BYUtv. Its three seasons are available for free via its website.

Learn More about Your Family History with GenealogyBank

DNA TV shows and those focusing on the human side of genealogy deliver different perspectives on family research. Get inspired to learn more about your family history and choose GenealogyBank as your research tool.

GenealogyBank is the largest digital archive of U.S. newspapers in the country, with more than 300 years of American history at your fingertips. You can also supplement your findings with census records, military records, obituary search records, and more.

To learn more about discovering where you came from, sign up with GenealogyBank and start your search now.

One thought on “The Top 7 Genealogy TV Shows You Don’t Want to Miss

  1. The only one of the shows on this list currently available on Direct TV is the Finding Your Roots. Missing from your list: Long Lost Family: This deeply emotional series on TLC, hosted by Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner, reunites separated families. In touching scenes, the searchers meet relatives they’ve been desperately seeking. Watch on TLC, online with a cable subscription, or purchase episodes on YouTube; Relative Race Watch four teams compete “Amazing Race”-style, following clues and complete challenges as they race across the country to meet unknown relatives. (Producers discovered the relatives through DNA testing.) View its nine seasons for free on the BYUtv website or look here for cable/satellite services and TV streaming apps that offer it.; Roots Less Traveled Ancestry.com debuted this series in 2020, and season four premiered in January 2022. The show is designed for teenagers, and follows pairs of family members as they travel together and discover their shared family history. Like “A New Leaf” before it (see above), “Roots Less Traveled” airs during NBC’s Saturday morning “The More You Know” block. You can watch episodes on NBC.com.; Who Do You Think You Are? This American version of the British show of the same name accompanies a celebrity on a journey to archives and ancestral hometowns. The show first aired on NBC in 2010 before switching to TLC, and returned to NBC for season 11 in July 2022. Stream seasons 4 through 10 on TLC’s site with a cable subscription.; Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems ©2017, http://www.genealogygems.com; Ancestors in the Attic (Canada) Available to watch with a subscription at Gaia.com “Canadians looking to unravel their family history and the personal stories that accompany it can turn to this fast-paces series. Whether it’s across Canada or around the world, a team of investigators employ a mix of CSI-type genealogy and old-fashioned detective work to help someone unlock the secrets of their past.”; Faces of America (US) Free video previews and other content. Watch episodes online with your PBS.org membership. “What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of the new PBS series Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Harvard scholar turns to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned Americans — 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.”; Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; Long Lost Family (US) See previews and episode summaries. Stream episodes online with your participating TV subscription (see site). Show summary: “Having embarked on their own journeys to discover their biological families, TV personalities Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner help others try to track down loved ones. Each episode features two emotional stories of people who have suffered a lifetime of separation and are yearning to be reunited with their birthparents and biological families or find children they had to give up for adoption long ago. In addition to providing emotional support and guidance, Chris and Lisa conduct painstaking searches through public records and utilize current DNA technology in their search for answers. The things they discover and who they find are anything but expected. Also dealing with the subject of genealogy is Bloodline Detectives (explores the power of genealogy and the latest forensic technology used by law enforcement bring justice to unsolved homicides and sex crimes. Host Nancy Grace guides viewers through each episode’s case along with expert interviewers, dramatic reconstructions and archival footage.) that is currently on TV; and a special dealing with the case of Paul Fronczak (stolen at 1 day old and later used genealogy and DNA to find birth parents and who the child his birth parents had THOUGHT was him belonged to. There are MANY things on this line and I would suggest including where these shows could be found to make it easier for the reader.

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