TV offers second great family history series

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GENEALOGY
By Darla Kinney Scoles

 

While browsing my TV Guide one day, I spotted a show on BYUtv, “The Generations Project.” Naturally, I was drawn to the information available on the offering, and found it read: “What secrets run in your blood? This reality series uncovers the hidden identities in family pasts, proving that the best way to know who you are is to know who you came from.”

How could I resist? Done much in the same style as NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are,” the series features one individual per show, highlighting his or her research into the lives of ancestors. Unlike the NBC series, however, these individuals are not celebrities. They are, in fact, flawed individuals looking for answers to their issues in the histories of those whose DNA is part of their makeup today.

The episodes I’ve viewed so far included a Hurricane Katrina survivor with race and anger issues, an overwhelmed wife and caregiver who lived in fear each day, a success-driven father who desired to set aside his self-absorption and give more to his wife and children, a young mother whose perfectionist ways held her back and a young man seeking closure after the death of his beloved brother.

It is amazingly interesting to watch these people change as they progress through the five-step process the project entails. The lessons they learn are certainly applicable to the viewing audience. I know I’m hooked.

Apparently, though, I was slow to spot the show, as a visit to BYUtv’s Web site (byutv.org) revealed several seasons already done, with 35 episodes available for viewing there. Visitors to the site can even apply to be featured in a future episode by filling out basic information and offering a reason why they desire to find out more about their ancestors.

“Understand what pressing need exists in your life or what change you hope to make in your life,” reads the form. “A Generations Project helps people overcome challenges and make positive changes in their life right now.”

Amazing what family history can do for a person.

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