While doing research on a topic that I’m crafting a blog post about, I stumbled across a “television show” that is produced by byutv, a programming production company affiliated with Brigham Young University. I put “television show” in quotes, in that it appears that this show is produced only for the web and is not actually aired on any actual television network.
This show, called The Generations Project, follows one individual each episode as they seek to find answers to certain questions regarding their heritage. In the episode entitled “Natalie,” the show’s subject (a lady obviously named Natalie) we follow her trip to two different locations in the the USA seeking answers regarding her family after one of her four kids dies shortly after birth. In the course of her research, she finds out much more about a mysterious ancestor, and learns a number of things that shock her. She also draws great strength from another ancestor that she learns about, and returns home after her week of focusing on her genealogical research with much greater comfort and recognition of what she has, compared with her previous mindset that is so very focused on what she has lost. It’s a compelling tale.
Another episode follows David, a Canadian, as he tries to gain context of his own personal troubles by researching his family who emigrated from Jamaica some hundred years ago. He learns that the troubling myths about his forebears is myth alone, and he seems to benefit from knowing that his family were, in fact, good people who made choices to better their family circumstances.
The production quality of the show is very high, and these appear as professionally-produced as any other genealogy focused television show currently airing. I’m keen on the format, as I get to learn much more about each individual subject, as opposed to the very brief treatments that we get from other shows like PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow. There is a little more meat to the actual research part as well, which some shows completely gloss over.
There are 38 episodes from the three seasons produced thus far, so there are plenty of back episodes to enjoy. Unlike some shows where as Canadians we are unable to watch online, The Generations Project streams without having to use any kind of location masking, so it’s very accessible with any web browser. I find these kinds of shows to offer great inspiration for my own research, and this show does an excellent job of telling the stories that make it such a fascinating pastime.
You can watch all 38 episodes by visiting the byutv website.
UPDATE: I have received a reply to an inquiry that I sent to byutv. The show is no longer in production and no new episodes are anticipated. However, the 38 episodes already produced will be available for viewing online for the foreseeable future.