In recent days, CNN aired a series of programs called "Roots: Our Journeys Home." I discovered this week that the programs can be viewed online at www.cnn.com/specials.us/roots.
The programs are excellent, because they emphasize the fulfilling experiences that occur when visiting the areas where ancestors lived and meeting people who still live there.
The programs, which have been produced in cooperation with Ancestry.com, follow the discovery journeys of 12 television anchors, including Wolf Blitzer, Kate Bolduan, Michaela Pereira, Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, Jake Tapper, Sanjay Gupta, Fareed Zakaria, Christina Romans, Anthony Bourdain, Erin Burnett and John Berman.
When compared to other genealogy series, these programs have a different approach. They don't emphasize genealogical techniques (although many of them are discussed), and they don't emphasize the reaction of the person when he or she learns the names of ancestors (although some of the programs do show some of the reactions).
Instead, this series allows the viewer to share the enlightenment that comes with learning about the culture of ancestors and also learning about their personal stories of daily struggles, successes and mistakes.
The newscasters visit places such as churches, schools, old home sites and cemeteries. In addition, they visit with relatives, people who live in the community and local historians. They also attend festivals and family gatherings where they learn about the food, dances, spiritual practices and other traditions of their ancestors and others in the region. They learn about the history of the area, too.
One of the programs which I found especially interesting was about Gupta, who journeyed to India, the homeland of his parents. While there, Gupta met with the relative in his father's village who is responsible for keeping the records of that family line.
Those records consist of scores of ancient scrolls that follow the male descendants of that line for almost a thousand years. While there, the newscaster and his family recorded their own details in the scrolls. What a marvelous connection for a family to make with its history.
The programs also discuss the results obtained from the latest DNA techniques. One example was of a newscaster who had DNA tests done of his saliva, as did his mother. Her tests indicated that her ancestors were mostly from India.
After the researchers compared her DNA to that of her son, they determined which sequences were different. From those results, they estimated the percent of the newscaster's ancestors (through his father) who had lived in Europe and other areas before moving to India. An historian then discussed the migration patterns by which the ancestors had traveled to India and the reasons that people during the various time periods moved from those areas to India.
This is definitely a series that all genealogists will enjoy.
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