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Riding the wave of the "roots" phenomenon, Ancestors shows viewers how to connect with the exploding world of family history research, tapping into the country’s third most popular hobby - genealogy!

PROVO, Utah - KBYU Television announced the release of a second Ancestors series, which will air on PBS stations beginning in June 2000. Thirteen episodes combine dramatic stories with expert instruction, bringing family history information to a national audience. Ancestors looks at how records such as census, probate, vital, military and immigration, can provide important information about our ancestors’ lives. It shows viewers how and where to find these records and how to use them. Ancestors follows the personal stories of individuals whose search has led them to a discovery of their heritage and a greater understanding of themselves.

To follow these dramatic stories, the all-new Ancestors was shot on location around the world. Host Scott Wilkinson takes viewers from the green hills of Ireland to the crowded streets of Hong Kong, as the search for family history records spans centuries of family connections. Along the way, he takes viewers inside some of the world’s most famous genealogical repositories, like the National Archives and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the British Public Records Office in London, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The series also highlights some of the interesting but lesser-known places family history information is found. Journals, diaries, a family Bible, or even personal letters can provide a wealth of information, right at home. This was true for Susan Hadler, whose story is profiled in Military Records and whose only link to her family’s story was a letter written to her by her father, just after she was born and just before he was killed in combat during World War II.

Newspapers are another fascinating and often overlooked source of genealogical information, as Lori Davis discovered when a tip from a stranger gave her an unexpected breakthrough: "Look in the San Francisco papers," Lori was told. "Your great-grandmother was in trouble with the law." The Newspapers As Records episode follows Lori’s quest as newspapers help her unravel the mystery of her grandfather’s past.

With about two million family history web sites already up, and more being added almost daily, family history researchers are finding computers to be one of their best friends. The Genealogy and Technology episode shows viewers how to use computer software to organize branches of their family tree and how to access family history information via the Internet.

But the crowning jewel of the new Ancestors series is the expert instruction, provided by some of the best-known and widely respected experts in the field of genealogical research. Executive Producer Marcy Brown suggested that "after the first series aired in 1997 and people began to feel the excitement of family history research, we received feedback from viewers wanting more specific instruction about how to find their ancestors among the millions of records available worldwide." The Ancestors experts rise to the challenge, giving tips and instruction that will help viewers navigate the world of genealogical records.

In addition to the PBS broadcast series, instructional materials will be available, including a printed guidebook that teaches the family history research process and an instructional video for use in libraries or classrooms. Online, Ancestors offers "how-to" courses that can be taken at home, a teacher’s guide, and an expanded web site that provides additional instruction and resources and serves as a gateway to genealogy on the Internet. There is also a companion book to the series, In Search of Our Ancestors, a Collection Of 101 Inspiring Family History Stories, published by Adams Media.

Those who are already well on their way to discovering their ancestors will benefit from Ancestors as much as those who are just beginning the search. David Rencher, President, Federation of Genealogical Societies, said, "The new Ancestors will have a significant impact on how family history is perceived. Not only will the series improve the skills of genealogists, but it will also show those who’ve never done family history what an adventure it can be."

Ancestors was produced by KBYU Television, a PBS member station located in Provo, Utah, in cooperation with Wisteria Pictures, Inc., an independent media production company. Major funding for Ancestors was provided by Ancestral Quest, Inc., the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, and Brigham Young University, with additional support from U.S. Bank. Content development assistance was provided by the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and Brigham Young University.

For more information about Ancestors, and to find the air dates and times in your area, visit the Ancestors web site at, or contact your local PBS station.

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Ancestors Contact:

Diena Simmons
KBYU Television
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
tel: 801/422-8450
fax: 801/422-8478


All material made available courtesy of ANCESTORS/KBYU ©2001. All Rights Reserved.