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?