9 Must-See Genealogy TV Shows That Will Inspire You

By Sunny Jane Morton Premium
Genealogy TV

A New Leaf

While some of the other popular programs in this list examine celebrity family trees, the Ancestry.com-sponsored “A New Leaf” focuses on everyday people. The show airs beginning in October 2019 on NBC as part of the network’s Saturday morning block, “The More You Know.” Check your local listings.

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. Check WorldCat and your local library to find the show on DVD.

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

In each episode of this series, 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. A new season begins in October 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.

The Generations Project

Secrets come out in the 38 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.) 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.

The American version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” is modeled after the British show of the same name. While this show has aired on TLC since 2013, season 11 will return to NBC.

Editor’s note: This article was updated in October 2019 to reflect the addition of a new show (“A New Leaf”) and the sixth season of “Finding Your Roots.”