8 Must-See Genealogy TV Shows

8 Must-See Genealogy TV Shows

Genealogy TV shows offer tips and inspiration for discovering family history. And there's more genealogy television to watch than you realize! Check our list of eight must-watch inspiring and informative family history programs.

Genealogy TV

Ancestors

This 23-episode series from BYUtv explores family history records from around the globe, weaving expert genealogy how-to with moving personal stories. You’ll learn about doing genealogy research and get inspired. Watch for free at BYUtv.

Ancestors in the Attic

Jeff Douglas hosts this irreverent, fast-paced series that takes Canadians on road trips and worldwide searches to track down their ancestors. Watch with a subscription.

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

In each episode of this series on PBS, historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explores the roots of two or three well-known Americans. History lessons are mixed in to show the context of ancestors’ lives. Guests also sometimes get DNA surprises. Watch on your local PBS station, by subscription on the PBS website , or purchase episodes on  YouTube. (Update: Season 5 premieres Jan. 8, 2019.)

Genealogy Roadshow

This PBS series, hosted by a trio of genealogy experts, features an “Antiques Roadshow”-style setup. Experts answers family history questions of everyday Americans in quick segments, with polished visuals of old records, photos and family trees. Watch by subscription on the PBS website  or purchase episodes on YouTube.

Genealogy Roadshow experts spill their research secrets for you in 11 Essential Research Tricks From Genealogy Roadshow, a downloadable video class now in the Family Tree Shop!

research tricks from genealogy TV shows

The Generations Project

Secrets come out in the 13 episodes of this BYUtv series. It follows everyday people as they research their ancestors to solve family mysteries—discovering keys to their own identities in the process. Watch for free on the BYUtv website.

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 TLC 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.) The next season debuts in September! Watch free on the BYUtv website or look here for cable and satellite services and TV streaming apps that offer it.

Who Do You Think You Are?

In each episode, accompany a celebrity on a journey to archives and ancestral hometowns. Check out our recap of last season’s episode with actress Laverne Cox.

The American “Who Do You Think You Are?“, which aired first on NBC and now on TLC, is modeled after the British show of the same name. Watch on TLC, on the TLC website by subscription, or purchase episodes on YouTube.

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  1. There is also a show from New Zealand called DNA Detectives which I recently started watching on Amazon Prime Video where it is included. Here is a link to the show’s page:
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/dna-detectives
    It is similar to both Finding Your Roots and Who Do You Think You Are in that each episode features a pair of famous New Zealanders who have submitted a DNA test etc. In this show the guests are given a mobile device and sent out on a sort of scavenger hunt around the world- stopping at various points where a distant cousin or other unknown relation reveals a part of their family history…

    • Hello Charlotte,

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      Ashlee