Sunday, February 21, 2010

Genealogy TV shows

I've been waiting a long time for these genealogy/family history slanted television programs to materilize.  One has been on during the weeks I was in Haiti, but luckily I am watching it on the pbs website on my computer as I type this.  It is "Faces of America"  they describe it as:  "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."

Episode 1: Our American Stories  - Our American Stories explores the dynamic and shifting relationship America had with her new immigrants in the 20th century. World war tore apart families and sundered the fabric of many lives, but America beckoned and millions came. Yet, America was an ambivalent host. At its best, a place of refuge and salvation, as for film director Mike Nichols whose entire family escaped Nazi Germany. At its worst, a country that would imprison two generations of Japanese Americans, like the ancestors of Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. Along the way, we’ll discover the buoyant American optimism that shaped chance – as in a single encounter that changed cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s life forever – to pave the road to success.        
Episode 2: Becoming American  -    Becoming American explores the many journeys to becoming American that defined the “Century of Immigration” (1820s – 1924) and transformed the United States from a sleepy agrarian country into a booming industrial power. Stephen Colbert’s Irish great-great-grandfather escaped poverty and religious oppression in Limerick and never looked back, whereas Mario Batali’s great-grandfather, who left the place where his family had lived for centuries, struggled to survive in the quartz mines of Montana. Her Majesty Queen Noor’s Syrian great-grandfather quickly found his footing in New York’s first Arab American community, while Kristi Yamaguchi’s grandfather faced exclusionary laws and racially-defined barriers to citizenship for decades. The obstacles, short-cuts, tragedies and successes encountered or created by the guests’ ancestors from around the world reveal the complexity of our shared history and identity as Americans.
Schedule  -  Faces of America   with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premieres nationally
February 10 - March 3, 2010
8 p.m. Hawaii Time on PBS   (cable channel 10)
These episodes can be viewed after airing, on the web at
  The other Series to begin after the olympics is the long-awaited
         "Who Do You Think You Are" beginning Friday, March 5 at 7 pm... Not sure which channel.  This has been a big hit in England, delving in the family histories of well-known people.


Bobby Stevens said...

I have seen both and I think it makes genealogy very interesting. An excellent show for all of you.
Bob Stevens

Jeannine said...

Thanks for the heads up. Somehow I missed Faces of America, but thanks to you, I was able to watch them on my laptop. So very interesting. I'm looking forward to the new series Who Do You Think You Are?
Jeannine Sills