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#201 RECORDS AT RISK—The lives of our ancestors were a lot like our own, and the records they created represent the same life events we all experience. Tragically, thousands of irreplaceable records are destroyed every day. But around the world, heroic efforts are being made to preserve them, including the struggle to reconstruct genealogies destroyed in the Bolshevik Revolution, the massive microfilming efforts of the National Archives, and the work of Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

#202 FAMILY RECORDS—Records kept by ordinary people right in their own homes can be valuable family history resources. Journals, diaries, letters, photographs and even family Bibles not only provide names and dates, they bring our ancestors to life. Suzanne Ballard’s search for her roots leads her to the amazing story of the Harshaw Diaries and a journey back to Northern Ireland where the diaries of her ancestor - a simple farmer - are declared a national treasure.

#203 COMPILED RECORDS—Sheila Hsia’s family had been recording its genealogy for nearly 4000 years, but had their records survived China’s devastating Cultural Revolution? Travel with Sheila to China where she discovers the fate of these important records. Experts identify various compiled records and tell how they can be a helpful starting point in family history research.

#204 GENEALOGY AND TECHNOLOGY—How many "Smolenyaks" do you know? Computer resources help Megan Smolenyak find cousins she didn’t know she had, both in the United States and in the Slovak village of Osturna. Experts elaborate on how to use computers and the Internet in seeking out family connections.

#205 VITAL RECORDS—When Jeff Gallup’s grandparents died, he felt he had lost his only connection to his Sicilian roots, until he took his mother back to Italy. Searching for their ancestors’ birth and marriage records in the village of Piana, Jeff and his mother reconnect with their Italian heritage. Experts explain how vital records create an important link between generations.

#206 RELIGIOUS RECORDS—Greg Spacher uncovers a startling truth when he learns that his ancestors were not from Germany, as he had grown up believing. His search through church records leads him to France, where a long-lost branch of the family tree gives him a hero’s welcome - and several more generations of family history. Experts and clergy highlight various religious records and tell how to determine an ancestor’s religious affiliation.

#207 CEMETERY RECORDS—For Beth Uyehara, her great-grandfather’s life was a mystery. The family didn’t even know where he was buried. After years of searching, Beth travels cross-country to discover the one tangible marker of her great-grandfather’s life—his tombstone—and gains a new sense of her Welsh heritage. Experts tell what to look for in cemeteries and discuss the kinds of records kept there, and the British give us a lesson in transcribing headstones.

#208 CENSUS RECORDS—As an African American, Darius Gray doubted he would find records documenting his family story. Relive his dramatic breakthrough as he discovers his ancestors in the 1880 census and then documents his family history back to the Revolutionary War era. Experts review the fascinating history of the census with specific instruction on how these important records can pinpoint your ancestor’s place in American history.

#209 MILITARY RECORDS—For many years Susan Hadler’s only link to her father was a letter he wrote to her just after she was born—and just before he was killed in combat during WWII. Follow Susan as she uses military records to connect with the father she never knew. Experts highlight service and pension records and tell how military records are a rich source of detailed and personal family history information.

#210 NEWSPAPERS AS RECORDS—Clues to family history can come from the most surprising places. Lori Davis was given a mysterious lead when a woman who had known one of her ancestors said, "Look in the San Francisco papers; she was in trouble with the law." Old newspaper stories detail the escapades of Lori’s great-grandmother, a 1920s high society con woman. Experts add their advice on how to use newspapers to expand family history research.

#211 PROBATE RECORDS—For Bruce and Mary Kay Stewart, there’s only one way to do genealogy - hit the road! Turning their RV into a traveling research center, they stop at a county courthouse and uncover a probate record that leads them to the old family homestead in upstate New York. Experts discuss the various records that are generated by the probate process and some of the interesting details found in wills.

#212 IMMIGRATION RECORDS—Imagine the anguish of an immigrant mother whose only choice was to leave behind her dying baby, quarantined at Ellis Island and buried in an unmarked grave. Through immigration records Cathy Horn discovers this family tragedy and reconnects the lost child to her family tree. Experts describe a variety of immigration records and how to uncover the details of your immigrant ancestor’s journey.

#213 WRITING A FAMILY HISTORY—Taylor McDonald grew up hearing tales about his legendary grandfather, but they remained just "stories" until he set out to write a family history. In the process, Taylor documents his grandfather’s colorful life and finds that he really did help tame the Wild West and even rode with Pancho Villa. Experts tell how to write, publish and share a family history.

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.