Genealogy Blog

28 July 2010

Flight Simulation Recreates Warsaw After Second World War

It took 40 experts and two years to make. But if the five-minute simulation helps educate a new generation about the terrible wartime destruction visited upon Warsaw, then historians say it will have been worth it.

The unusual 3D film documents the shocking expanse of rubble to which Warsaw was reduced during the second world war. Specialists used historic images to create a computer simulation of a flight over the city in early 1945 that shows collapsed bridges, districts of roofless, burned-out houses, and the Warsaw Ghetto as a flat sea of rubble.

Video: Miasto ruin - Source & Full Story

2 June 2010

A Dutch Version Of 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

A film crew is in Muskegon, Michigan, this week shooting footage for an upcoming episode of a reality television series based in The Netherlands.

The reality series follows a person who is famous as he or she traces his or her ancestry. In this case, the film crew is following an award-winning Dutch author who discovers his family ancestry in Muskegon.

The producer and director for The Netherlands’ version of the NBC show “Who Do You Think You Are” were in Muskegon last week and completed their research for the filming.

Source & Full Story

11 May 2010

LDS Granite Mountain Vault

A massive excavation carved 700 feet into a solid granite mountain near Salt Lake City houses millions of feet of microfilm — all historical documents The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been keeping since 1938. The records are being digitized and published through FamilySearch, a genealogical resource provided free to the public.

The Granite Mountain Records Vault is the official storage unit for 2.4 million rolls of microfilm containing approximately 3.5 billion images. The information links to billions of people in over 100 countries and is recorded in 170 languages.

See also Part 2 at

6 April 2010

NBC Renews 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

NBC renews "Who Do You Think You Are?," a program hosted by Lisa Kudrow that traces the ancestry of famous people.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" has performed well on Fridays, a night where the bar is definitely lower. Last week, the show actually beat CBS' "The Ghost Whisperer" in adults 18-49. Currently the show is averaging 6.8 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the demographic.

Source & Full Story

9 March 2010

Finally, RootsTelevision Will Not Close!

Megan Smolenyak has posted the following announcement:

OK, you convinced me! After getting inundated with emails, tweets, and Facebook postings and messages about the closing of (RTV), I’ve decided to keep it going. I honestly had no clue how valued it was by the genealogical community, and I agree with the many of you who pointed out that it serves a somewhat different purpose than the prime time programming that’s on TV at present (much as I’ve been enjoying that!). At the same time, I think many had not realized that RTV is a one-person company, but one that’s not inexpensive to provide.

Thanks very much to all you who reached out to share your thoughts and experiences. Although I haven’t been able to respond to all of you, I hope you realize that your comments made all the difference in the world. Thanks also to the more than 20 individuals, organizations and companies that contacted me to explore the notion of adopting RTV. It’s refreshing to know how many were willing to step in and help. I also need to thank Brightcove, the video platform used by RTV, for working with me to find viable solutions.

Source & Full Story

The Graveyard Gone Mobile

The Graveyard is a very short game. You play an elderly woman who visits a cemetery. She walks down a straight path towards a bench in front of a chapel. She is old and has trouble walking. So it takes a while to get there. During the difficult walk, we pass by the neatly arranged rows of concrete tombs embedded in a lush atmosphere of sun, clouds, trees, shrubs and animals who found a home in this place. When she finally arrives at the bench, the woman sits down and listens to a song. It's a pensive moment, a quiet pause. When the song is done, she gets up and walks back to the gate. In the full version of the game, there is a chance that she dies while sitting on the bench.

The Graveyard can be downloaded via Or directly from the App Store:

Source & Full Story

27 February 2010 Will Close On March 10th

Megan Smolenyak has posted the following announcement:

Dear Viewer,

It's with mixed feelings that I'm sharing the news that I will be closing (RTV) as of March 10th. Back in 2006, RTV was launched to fill a void. As I wrote at the time:

"We've been perplexed for a long time. These days, there's a horse channel, a wine channel, a sailing channel, a poker channel, a guitar channel, and even a shipwreck channel. So why, we wondered, isn't there a channel servicing the millions of people interested in genealogy and family history?"

The good news is that this yawning gap is now being filled. Genealogy is finally going mainstream. Some of you are probably already watching Faces of America on PBS and The Generations Project on BYU. And many, I'm sure, have heard of the imminent launch on NBC of Who Do You Think You Are? (a series I'm proud to be affiliated with, and for which, I wrote the companion book). The non-genealogical world is finally waking up to the long overlooked potential of what we roots-sleuths do on a daily basis, as you can read in this article: Roots TV Becomes New Branch of Reality TV.

Source & Full Story

25 February 2010

Lisa Simpson Researches Her Ancestors

In an episode entitled The Color Yellow (Season 21, Episode 13), Lisa Simpson researches her ancestors for a school project and learns that her Southern forebears helped a slave escape to freedom.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

16 January 2010

Faces of America

Faces of America premieres in the U.S. Wednesdays, February 10 - March 3, 2010 from 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS.

What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of the new PBS series Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The series turn to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned Americans.

Eva Longoria, Meryl Streep, Mario Batali, Stephen Colbert, Malcolm Gladwell, Yo-Yo Ma, Mike Nichols, Kristi Yamaguchi, Elizabeth Alexander, Queen Noor, Louise Erdrich and Dr Mehmet Oz have all submitted DNA for the series.

15 January 2010

The New Series "Who Do You Think You Are?" Will Premiere Friday, March 5

"Who Do You Think You Are?" premieres Friday, March 5 (8-9 p.m. ET) and gives viewers an up-close and personal look inside the family history of some of today's most beloved and iconic celebrities. Among the celebrities featured are Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith. is NBC's official partner on the series. From executive producer Kudrow ("Friends," "The Comeback") - in conjunction with her production company Is or Isn't Entertainment and the U.K.'s Wall to Wall productions - "Who Do You Think You Are?" is an adaptation of the hit BBC television documentary series created and executive-produced by Alex Graham.

Source & Full Story

10 November 2009

To Preserve Their History, Families Are Turning To Documentary Makers

Type the words “family history” into any internet search engine, and you will be presented with more than 240 million online pages devoted to one of our favourite hobbies. The whole world, it seems, is busy discovering its past. Some families, though, are going a step further than most to ensure that family history is kept for future generations.

When 75-year-old Sydie Bones from Axminster was planning her son’s 50th birthday celebrations, she wanted the day to be marked by more than just snapshots for the family album.

“When we look back at old photos we have no idea of what these people were really like,” Sydie says. “Were they lively, funny, or reserved, shy? How did they speak to each other, were they close, did they josh and joke with each other?”

Source & Full Story

8 October 2009

American History in Video

American History in Video provides the largest and richest collection of video available online for the study of American history, with 2,000 hours and more than 5,000 titles on completion. The collection allows students and researchers to analyze historical events, and their presentation over time, through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries. This release now provides 1526 titles, with new videos from California Newsreel and PBS, equalling approximately 528 hours.

Free trial ends November 15, 2009.

American History in Video

3 October 2009

Houston Oral History Project

The Houston Oral History Project is an effort to record and preserve the dynamic history of Houston through the stories and experiences of its residents. It is a collaboration among the Mayor’s Office, the Houston Public Library and the University of Houston. The Project consists of several parts:

• The Mayor Bill White Collection: Mayor White commissioned 100 initial interviews, directing that it include well-known political, business and civic leaders as well as witnesses to the events that shaped our city.
• The Neighborhood Voices tapes: In the summer of 2008 citizens came to Houston Public Library locations throughout the city to record their own brief recollections about life in Houston.
• HMRC Oral Histories: The Houston Metropolitan Research Center of the Houston Public Library recently digitized more than 200 oral histories from the 1970's and 1980's.

Houston Oral History Project

30 September 2009

Anne Frank Channel on YouTube

Today the Anne Frank House is launching the official Anne Frank Channel on YouTube containing existing and new images about Anne Frank. These include excerpts from interviews with Otto Frank and witnesses like Miep Gies, as well as previews of the virtual museum of the Anne Frank House, soon to be opened to the public. With the Anne Frank Channel on YouTube, people around the world will be able to explore the life and significance of Anne Frank through unique images.

The channel opens with the only existing film footage of Anne Frank, made during the wedding of her neighbor on 22 July 1941. In another film, Nelson Mandela talks about the strength he derived from Anne Frank’s diary during his imprisonment on Robben Island. The channel will also contain a series of new interviews with people who knew Anne Frank personally.

Source & Full Story

26 September 2009

US Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Sold Down Under

Outright Distribution has sold the forthcoming US version of Who Do You Think You Are? into Australia.

Australia’s Nine Network has picked up broadcast rights to the US adapation of the genealogical show, made by British indie Wall to Wall. It is due to launch in the US on NBC in January next year featuring Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon amongst others.

Nine has also picked up 6 x 60-minute ob doc series Sea Patrol, also distributed by Outright and produced by Wall to Wall, which aired on National Geographic UK over the summer.

Source & Full Story

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