Genealogy, the Talk of the Town

Have you noticed lately the television shows that have been running about genealogy?  One of the most popular is “Who Do You Think You Are?,” which is on NBC on Friday evenings.  In this show, celebrities learn about their ancestry from researchers, many of which have been able to go quite a distance back in time in their research. Nearly every celebrity who has had his research done will say something like, “It helps us to feel more fulfilled because we are connecting with our ancestors and learning more about ourselves.”

Isn’t it interesting that some 35 years ago the television mini-series “Roots” began airing?  Back then, it seemed as though every living room was lit up by the sights and sounds of that show. Think about it—a generation ago the public began watching programs on genealogy and sharing in the joy that is learning who we are through our ancestors.  This new show on NBC is certainly another example of that today, but there are other shows as well that also inspire us to seek out our ancestors.

Marketers in the genealogical research industry have pointed out that when shows such as these become more popular, there is a noticeable increase in the number of people seeking to have their research done professionally. The excitement over genealogy has suddenly become more pronounced and anyone can feel a certain heightened liveliness anywhere where genealogy is being done.  I have personally witnessed this excitement in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City over the past number of weeks, with more and more people doing research.

The simple truth is, there is much to be said about finding our roots. I have seen it many times, when we lose ourselves in researching our ancestors, we find ourselves.  Although intriguing and fun, clearly genealogy is more than just a hobby.  I wonder if some of the celebrities who have had their research done for the show have ever felt the way I do.  But on the shows every one of them jump with excitement and intrigue when they learn where they came from and who some of their ancestors are! 

What do you think of these genealogy shows and the joy that genealogy can bring each one of us?

Presidents & Ancestors

I recall years ago when George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s Birthdays were observed separately, February 22nd and February 12th respectively.  Now they have been combined on one day wherein both of these U.S. presidents’ birthdays are celebrated.  As I reflect upon the histories of these two great leaders, I often think about the adversities Washington faced amidst the American Revolution as well as those Lincoln faced during the Civil War.  I am grateful for my ancestors who followed their leadership and sacrificed to provide the freedoms I enjoy today with my family.

Do you have ancestors who were in some way a part of the American Revolution or the Civil War? 

Perhaps our own ancestors went by different names and maybe they were founding fathers in another land.  Perhaps in our hearts we hold as much respect and love for our founding fathers and mothers as we do any of our own ancestors, perhaps not so well known.  They were likely people who had little or no claim to fame, but performed the mundane and essential tasks it took to take care of their family and provide freedom to your nation.

Regardless of the name, circumstances, or places let us hear your stories.

The Vital Records of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

As I have reflected upon the Savior during this holiday season, I have felt tremendous gratitude for the records kept of his birth, life, and death.  In a certain sense, the Bible provides the ‘vital records’ of Jesus Christ’s life, laying out the details of his humble birth (Luke 2) and sacrificial death (Luke 23), and indentifying his lineage.

Most importantly, we learn of Christ’s divine ancestry as the literal Son of God.  We also learn of his mortal ancestry from his mother, Mary.  She was a direct descendant of King David, thus placing Christ within the tribe of Judah as was prophesied before his birth in Bethlehem.  Through this lineage, Jesus Christ had genealogical claim to the throne of Israel, as King, but he never pressed his claim.  However, an imposter tetrarch—an employee of Rome by the name of Herod—sat in his rightful place (Matthew chapter 1).

We know these details because the scriptures go beyond recording vital records, but offer us the account from prophets and apostles that saw him and knew him personally.  They testify that ancient prophecies predicting his coming were fulfilled.  All this so that we may know for ourselves that not only was he brought into this world, but also that as the literal Son of God, he had the power to overcome sin and death to save us all.

I encourage you to read the eloquent verses attesting to Christ’s vital birth information in the books of Luke and Matthew.  Imagine his humble birthplace, the stable and the trough-like manger filled with straw, whereupon the Christ child was gently laid.  Imagine the faithful who recognized the signs of his birth and rejoiced and sought him.


Consider that as he lay in the manger, his life would go on to have the utmost significance to all of humankind.  His life, atonement, resurrection and triumph over sin and death truly make up the good news proclaimed to God’s children. Without his birth, there would have been no hope for the salvation of us all.

In all holy or sacred writs, there is nothing so sublime than what is written of his humble birth and his triumphant resurrection.  We will not only find the record of his life in the Holy Scriptures and annals of history, but also in the heartsand minds of mankind, who seek him.

Yes, the search for him is still going on today as it did when he was born.  May it be said of our own generation and our own progeny that wise men, women, and children have found him and answer his call to follow.

I offer the best wishes for blessings of health, happiness, and prosperity for Christmas and the New Year.  I invite you to use this blog as a forum to express your thoughts and feelings this holiday season.  Please feel free to make a comment below.

Proud Ancestry, Proud Posterity


As I sit perusing my own pedigree chart and family group records, I stumble across the name, William BRADFORD.  He is my 12th great-grandfather and former governor of the Massachusetts Colony who came to America on the Mayflower.  Like many of his descendants, I am both proud and humbled to be counted among his progeny.  His sacrifice and leadership were part of the foundation of freedom that many enjoy in the United States.

Looking back again at the pedigree, I begin to see much clearer what has made these pilgrims so revered.  It was not only the sacrifices they made to leave hearth and home in their mother country, but would it not also be at least in part because of the posterity who would descend from them?

I then glance at the family photograph of my wife and our children.  As I look at each one of them, I begin to see where the real claim to fame lies—within our children!  My wife and I have always tried our best to teach and provide support with love.  Thankfully, they have achieved much success in their lives and we are so proud of every one of them!

Could it be said that some of the greatness of our ancestors is realized from what the descendants may do?

What concerning your own ancestors and descendants are you thankful for?


I remember a time when I was quite young sitting in a chair reading a list of names and dates to my father, who sat nearby typing the information on the old Olympic brand long-carriage typewriter on large pedigree charts and family group sheets.

I also remember regular family meetings for both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family where genealogy was the topic of discussion and plans were made for the next move.  Truly my parents lived and breathed genealogy and as we participated in the work, we learned the importance of not only doing the research work of ancestors and relatives but also preserving the information.

Perhaps some of you have only begun doing your ancestral research, others may never have had the opportunity, others might not feel the need because someone else in the family does it, and yet others may have been doing it themselves since they were small.  I encourage everyone to involve themselves in genealogy, despite your experience with it.  Said by the famous Alex Haley the author of Roots, [genealogy] is an “…all-consuming desire like a fire that burns morrow-deep”.  You can learn a lot about yourself and your roots by making connections with your ancestors through genealogy.

Welcome to Ancestral Connections’ new blog.  This is the platform for us to begin a dialogue on genealogy.  Feel free to comment, ask questions, and come back often to contribute.  We look forward to conversing with you about our precious genealogy.  Thank you!

Russ Bangerter is a professional genealogist and principal researcher for Ancestral Connections, Inc.  Russ finds great joy in helping clients break down the “brick walls” that people often confront in researching their genealogy.  Follow this link to the company website to learn more,