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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.
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.