Television and "Faces of America"

Last night was the first show (in a series of four) of Faces Of America, starring Henry Louis Gates Jr. The series is being shown on PBS. "Who made America? What makes us?" These are two main questions of this program.

Genealogy and genetics were to be a mainframe in producing the show. Will the show interest "newbies" into finding out about their family history and genealogy?

I personally do not watch much TV. When there is a program being aired I wish to watch, my husband knows it is very important to me, for whatever reason. He changed the channel last night and had the TV ready for me at the correct time. My husband watched the program with me, a "non genealogy" person!

Although the program didn't share any of the research tools and tips with regards as to how documents and information was located, it did share family history for several celebrities.

After the show my husband shared that he thought it was very interesting. I also got the impression that he thought I was trying to "trick" him into loving genealogy! He did share with me that he wished the show would have focused on just one or two people and felt it was "incomplete." Interesting view from someone not involved in genealogy. Maybe the next three shows will make it feel more complete for him.

Thomas MacEntee hosted a chat after the show with some of the bloggers from the GeneaBloggers group. Most of the bloggers would have liked the show to share how the research was accomplished, and possibly focus on just one or two individuals.

Genealogists are very amped with the programming that is becoming available to the public. Along with three upcoming parts to this series, another new show will be airing in the very future, "WDYTYA." The American version of the British show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" will be aired March 5 on NBC. Seven celebrities will travel down the road on this program to find their genealogy roots. supports this show. Hopefully Ancestry will share how to get started with genealogy research, I believe newbies need this assistance.

Bottom line, awareness to family history and genealogy is being promoted by these television shows. My husband told me this morning, "Way to go. I got up and watched Faces of America again and ANOTHER family history program." Can my husband get hooked?

Did you see Faces of America? What did you think of the program? Is family history and genealogy new to you? I would love to hear your comments! I personally enjoyed the program very much, and learned a bit too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


  1. Thanks for this blog. It summarized my feelings. I didn't last the whole show. Thought it was shallow and without depth. It reminded me of show Entertainment but historical tidbits on celebrities. I was disappointed. However, at least people will see the fruits of our labor; what can be revealed.

  2. I'm glad you posted this as I missed the program last night due to a previous commitment away from my TV. I should have TVO'd it.

  3. I spend Wednesday evenings at my local Family History Center, so I didn't see the show last night. I did record it, though, and will watch it this weekend.

    For those who missed the show and still want to see it, check your local listings. In San Francisco, the first show will be rebroadcast on Tuesday.


  4. Overall, I liked it but at times it was a bit dry must admit that.
    But full marks to Hendry Gates Jr. for his hard work, at least we all are taking about it and having a conversation

  5. Thanks for the post! This is still on my "to watch" list in my DVR. It sounds like it's not quite thorough enough for professional researchers - but I hope that this will breed some general interest from those not pursuing the profession.

  6. Hi Kathleen, thank you for your comment. Yes, there were some good points for sure to the show and hopefully the show will open some eyes!

    Hi Lindalee, the show will be on again this Wednesday in case you want to TV it!

    Hi Steve, I am thinking you watched the show now and am wondering your thoughts on it...

    Hi Sanjay, It is great that there are some shows on TV now relating to our hobby, and yes lots of people are talking about it.

    Hi Sarah, Yes many that are professionals in this field were really looking for more from the show. I tend to look at the glass half full, it is a great beginning!

    Thank you all for your thoughts!


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