Genealogy TV Shows
11 Top Genealogy TV Shows—and Where to Watch (Family Tree)
A New Leaf
While some of the other popular programs in this list examine celebrity family trees, the Ancestry.com-sponsored program “A New Leaf” focuses on everyday people. The 13-episode series originally aired on NBC as part of the network’s Saturday morning block, “The More You Know.” You can watch episodes for free on NBC’s website.
This 23-episode series from BYUtv explores family history records from around the globe, weaving expert genealogy how-to with moving personal stories. You’ll learn about doing genealogy research and get inspired. Watch for free at BYUtv.
Ancestors in the Attic
Jeff Douglas hosts this irreverent, fast-paced series that takes Canadians on road trips and worldwide searches to track down their ancestors. Check WorldCat and your local library to find the show on DVD.
Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In each episode of this series on PBS, historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explores the roots of two or three well-known Americans. History lessons are mixed in to show the context of ancestors’ lives. Guests also sometimes get DNA surprises. Watch on your local PBS station, by subscription on the PBS website , or purchase episodes on YouTube. Season six began in January 2020 on PBS, with more new episodes scheduled for October.
This PBS series, hosted by a trio of genealogy experts, features an “Antiques Roadshow”-style setup. Experts answers family history questions of everyday Americans in quick segments, with polished visuals of old records, photos and family trees. Watch by subscription on the PBS website or purchase episodes on YouTube.
The Genetic Detective
Genetic genealogy expert CeCe Moore stars in this ABC show that premiered on May 26, 2020. (Check your local listings ABC.) Moore was the genetic genealogy consultant on “Finding Your Roots” and “Genealogy Roadshow,” and she and her team have assisted law enforcement in solving dozens of cases using DNA. Her new show will follow her as she works with police departments to catch criminals using DNA and genealogy research.
The Generations Project
Secrets come out in the 13 episodes of this BYUtv series. It follows everyday people as they research their ancestors to solve family mysteries—discovering keys to their own identities in the process. Watch for free on the BYUtv website.
Long Lost Family
This deeply emotional series on TLC, hosted by Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner, reunites separated families. In touching scenes, the searchers meet relatives they’ve been desperately seeking. Watch on TLC, online with a TLC subscription, or purchase episodes on YouTube.
Watch four teams compete “Amazing Race”-style, following clues and complete challenges as they race across the country to meet unknown relatives. (Producers discovered the relatives through DNA testing.) The next season debuts in September! Watch free on the BYUtv website or look here for cable and satellite services and TV streaming apps that offer it.
Roots Less Traveled
Ancestry.com debuted this series on April 4, 2020. The show, designed for teenagers, follows pairs of family members as they travel together and discover their shared family history. Like “A New Leaf” before it (see above), “Roots Less Traveled” airs during NBC’s Saturday morning “The More You Know” block. You can watch episodes on NBC.com.
Who Do You Think You Are?
In each episode, accompany a celebrity on a journey to archives and ancestral hometowns. Check out our recap of last season’s episode with actress Laverne Cox.
The American “Who Do You Think You Are?“, which aired first on NBC and now on TLC, is modeled after the British show of the same name. Watch on TLC, on the TLC website by subscription, or purchase episodes on YouTube.