Matt Whitaker was raised in a tiny town in Northern California, the youngest
of seven children. Being the baby of the family, he was able to avoid any
need to choose a "responsible" profession, and therefore decided to study
film. Much to everyone's surprise, including his own, people began to pay him
to make movies (can you imagine?). So far so good.
Most of his experience has been in narrative film, so crafting a television
series like Ancestors has, at times, been an interesting challenge for him.
But since both his parents are avid genealogists - and family legend has it
that Auntie Mabel has done all the family history anyway! - he felt uniquely
qualified to dive blindly into a topic with which he had very little personal
experience. Thankfully, he was surrounded by a team of experts who "knew
their stuff." And along the way, he found that the world is full of
professional and amateur genealogists who will freely and gladly share all
they know about the topic (and a few things they can only surmise).
Over the past year and a half, as he has been immersed (or buried) in
Ancestors, he has come to learn a great deal about the incredible world of
family history. Although he has occasionally been heard to smugly proclaim
that he could probably hold his own now in any circle of genealogical
discussion, he admits that he still has a hard time loading a roll of
microfilm onto the reader. But the main thing he learned in meeting with
genealogists all around the world is this: genealogists are good people.
Period. Sure, there may be an exception here and there, but he never found