Sunday, November 3, 2013

Genealogy Roadshow

I just heard about this show, which premiered on PBS on September 23 (there are four episodes so far), and yesterday I watched three of the four episodes.

This is without a doubt my favorite genealogy show ever, second only to the British version of Who Do You Think You Are? (sorry, but it's a lot better than the American version, but then I think British programming in general is superior to that of the U.S. anyway). 

The format is similar to that of Antiques Roadshow-- the setting for each episode is in a particular building in a particular city (at some point during each episode, they do a little blurb about the history and significance of said building). The show is hosted by Emmett Miller and features two professional genealogists, Kenyatta Berry, president the Association of Professional Genealogists, and D. Joshua Taylor, president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

Throughout each episode, Kenyatta and Joshua take turns sitting down and meeting with a pre-selected individual who has specific questions about his/her family history-- there are usually about five people's "stories" featured in each episode, which keeps the show from dragging like WDYTYA sometimes can. The person and either Kenyatta or Joshua sit at a table-- the genealogists armed with a tablet and a nearby big screen TV where they stream their documents and photos from their tablet to show the person and the spectators, who are literally standing around them.

I love how this show deals with regular people instead of celebrities, and how so much is packed into every episode. Some of the stories are very touching and intriguing: e.g., a young woman who never knew her father and wants to find out about him, a man who wants to know if he is in fact related to Davy Crockett. 

The host and genealogists are terrific-- not only do they know their stuff, but they have the personality for television. 

The way the genealogists stream their tablet screens onto the TV gave me an idea; I got myself a plasma TV for my birthday in September, along with Apple TV.  If you have Apple TV and an iPad, there is a feature on the tablet called Airplay that allows you to activate "mirroring"-- that is, wirelessly streaming your tablet screen onto your TV. I discovered I was able to play the episodes from the website on my iPad but actually watch it on my television screen. Unfortunately, my Macbook is just a tad too old to have the Airplay feature, so I can only do this with my iPad or iPhone. 

Genealogy and technology are both so cool.

Anyway, if you haven't yet seen Genealogy Roadshow,  I highly recommend it. Not sure if there are going to be any more upcoming episodes, because I noticed that the PBS website doesn't have it listed. If this is the case, you can watch it online at