What Ancestry TV Shows Are On DVD?

By | March 12, 2017

Genealogy has become the second most popular hobby on the planet today. Have you seen these shows on TV and want to know what ancestry TV shows are on DVD for you to watch at anytime? Because of this rise in popularity it is understandable that we have several ancestry TV shows that we can choose to watch. In this post I will cover two of the more popular shows, Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots, and how you can find and purchcase them on DVD.

Ancestry TV Shows on DVD

Both of these shows include either a star or more than one celebrity that we are very familiar with. The star’s ancestry is explored, most notably a single branch where there is some particular interest.

I believe that the subject of genealogy has become popular for two main reasons. Firstly, we are fascinated by what has been discovered about our favorite celebrity. We are hooked from the very moment that their ancestry is laid out for the star and how they travel all over the country or even the planet.

Secondly, the truth behind family stories are uncovered and the stars get to discover ‘new’ ancestors that they knew nothing about. I am sure that these shows would not have become popular if Z-list celebrities were chosen, and uneventful information was brought to the star’s attention. Who would watch a show like that?

Check out my Which Ancestry TV Show Do You Watch? to find out what genealogy shows are currently on our TV screens.

Please note: I have included links for where you can purchase these show from both the United States and the United Kingdom. Please make sure that the DVD will play in your respected country in your DVD player.


Who Do You Think You Are? (US Version)

Following on from the success of the UK version of this show we see many American celebrities that we all know and love. This show was brought to our screens in 2010 as one of several replacements for The Jay Leno Show. After three seasons on the NBC it was unfortunately cancelled. Lucky for us though it was renewed by TLC.

Who Do You Think You Are? TV Show

Credit: Who Do You Think You Are? US

The US version of this genealogy show is very much similar to its UK counterpart. Stars that have featured on this show have included Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie O’Donnell, Martin Sheen, Jim Parsons, Kelsey Grammer, J.K. Rowling and Chris Noth.

The latest series to hit our screen has already featured Courtney Cox, with episodes tracing the ancestry of John Stamos and Liv Tyler still to follow.

Since airing seven years ago there have been 9 seasons and 62 episodes to date. Star of the hit TV show Friends serves as an Executive Producer of this show. Her ancestry was explored in the third episode of the first season.

The show is a partnership between Shed Media, NBC Entertainment and Ancestry.com. As the number one genealogy search website, Ancestry, is involved with the production of this show I expect that this television series will be on our screen for many, many years to come. I cannot see Ancestry parting ways with this show as I would imagine it has brought many people to research their ancestry at their website.

          

Season 1: Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee

Season 2: Vanessa L. Williams, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Steve Buscemi, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd

Please note: At present there are only 2 seasons that are available on DVD in the US.


Who Do You Think You Are? (UK Version)

The show that brought our attention to the world of genealogy and made it such a fascinating and interesting pastime for many people all over the world. Because of the success of the original UK show, (average more than 6 million viewers), it has been made in ten other countries, including the United States and Australia.

Who Do You Think You Are Show - UK

Credit: Who Do You Think You Are? UK

Since the UK version of the show began to air back in 2004 there have been 13 seasons and 117 episodes to date. Most of the seasons comprise ten episodes. Due to the success of the show it was nominated for a BAFTA Television Award 2010 for the Best Factual Series category. However, it missed out on this award to the One Born Every Minute show.

Despite not seeing any TV awards it is still on our screens and does not show any signs of slowing down. Over the years we have seen the ancestry explored of Britain’s most notable stars. They have included Jeremy Clarkson, Stephen Fry, David Tennant, Graham Norton, Jerry Springer, Martin Freeman and Alan Carr. On the latest season of the show there has been music sensation Cheryl and Lord of the Rings wizard Sir Ian McKellen.

                     

Season 1 (2004), Season 2 (2006) and Season 3 (2006)

Season 1: Bill Oddie, Amanda Redman, Sue Johnston, Jeremy Clarkson, Ian Hislop, Moira Stuart, David Baddiel, Lesley Garrett, Meera Syal, Vic Reeves

Season 2: Jeremy Paxman, Sheila Hancock, Stephen Fry, Julian Clary, Jane Horrocks, Gurinder Chadha

Season 3: Barbara Windsor, Robert Lindsay, Colin Jackson, David Tennant, David Dickinson, Nigella Lawson, Jeremy Irons

 

                     

Season 4 (2007), Season 5 (2008) and Season 6 (2009)

Season 4: Natasha Kaplinsky, John Hurt, Griff Rhys Jones, Carol Vorderman, Alistair McGowan, Graham Norton, Matthew Pinset

Season 5: Patsy Kensit, Boris Johnson, Jerry Springer, Esther Rantzen, Ainsley Harriott, David Suchet, Jodie Kidd, Laurnece Llewelyn-Bowen

Season 6: Rory Bremner, Fiona Bruce, Rick Stein, Zoe Wanamaker, Kevin Whately, Davina McCall, Chris Moyles, Kate Humble, David Mitchell, Kim Cattrall, Martin Freeman

 

                     

Season 7 (2010), Season 8 (2011) and Season 9 (2012)

Season 7: Bruce Forsyth, Rupert Everett, Dervia Kirwan, Monty Don, Rupert Penry-Jones, Alexander Armstrong, Jason Donovan, Hugh Quarshie, Alan Cumming

Season 8: June Brown, J.K. Rowling, Sebastian Coe, Larry Lamb, Emilia Fox, Alan Carr, Robin Gibb, Richard Madeley, Len Goodman, Tracey Emin

Season 9: Samantha Womack, Gregg Wallace, Patrick Stewart, Annie Lennox, Hugh Dennis, Alex Kingston, William Roache, Celia Imrie, John Barnes, John Bishop

 

          

Season 10 (2013) and Season 11 (2014)

Season 10: Una Stubbs, Nigel Havers, Minnie Driver, Lesley Sharp, Gary Lineker, Nick Hewer, Nitin Ganatra, Sarah Millican, Marianne Faithfull, John Simpson

Season 11: Julie Walters, Brian Blessed, Tamzin Outhwaite, Brendan O’Carroll, Sheridan Smith, May Berry, Martin Shaw, Reggie Yates, Billy Connolly, Twiggy

Please note: At present there are 11 seasons that are available on DVD in the UK.


Finding Your Roots

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the US has aired three seasons of Finding Your Roots altogether. Beginning in early 2012 there have been a total of 30 episodes with 10 episodes per season. Each episode lasts for one hour and contains a single plot. The show’s two predecessors “African American Lives” and “Faces of America” contained a season-long plot. This approach has led to more episodes per season for the Finding Your Roots show.

Finding Your Roots TV Show

Credit: Finding Your Roots

This genealogy show is presented by professor of English Literature Henry Louis Gates Jr. It is quite similar to Who Do You Think You Are? Each episode follows a celebrity as their family history is explored.

The difference though with this series is that it utilizes the latest trend in genealogy research … DNA Testing. The show though also looks at the diverse backgrounds to American people today.

The different backgrounds that are explored on the show include:

  • African American
  • Asian American
  • Chinese American
  • Greek American
  • Indian American
  • Irish American
  • Italian American
  • Jewish American
  • Latin American

The first season of the show saw notable stars such as Barbara Walters, Robert Downey, Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, John Legend and Martha Stewart to name but a few. Topics or backgrounds that were explored included slavery, origins of two celebrities surnames, descendants of immigrants and Hispanic heritage, as well as others.

          

Season 1: Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr; John Lewis and Cory Brooker; Barbara Walters and Geoffrey Canada; Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon; Rick Warren, Angela Buchdahl and Yasir Qadhi; Robert Downey, Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhall; Samuel L. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice and Ruth Simmons; Martha Stewart, Margaret Cho and Sanjay Gupta; John Legend and Wanda Sykes; Michelle Rodriguez, Adrian Grenier and Linda Chavez

A Book of Life is also presented to each celebrity. This book contains a ‘complete as possible’ family tree together with results from genetic testing as well as family documents and photos that have been discovered during production of the show. There are also correlations made between the celebrities stories and research that has been carried to back up whether they are fact or just fiction.

Everyday people are also featured on the show besides celebrities. These people from everyday walks of life have their background and ethnicity explored to help show whether there are any truth to the celebrities stories.

The second season carried on much like the previous. Its stars included Stephen King, Ben Affleck, Deepak Chopra, Tina Fey, Jessica Alba and many more. Due to controversial information surfacing regarding Ben Affleck’s ancestry the following third season was for more than a year. The third season was postponed as it was made aware that Ben had tried to persuade Gates to omit the fact that he had slave-owning ancestors.

         

Season 2: Stephen King, Gloria Reuben and Courtney B. Vance; Derek Jeter, Billie Jean King and Rebecca Lobo; Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper and Anna Deavere Smith; Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander and Benjamin Jealous; Tom Colicchio, Aaron Sanchez and Ming Tsai; Angela Bassett, Valerie Jarrett and Nas; Alan Dershowitz, Carole King and Tony Kushner; Deepak Chopra, Sally Field and Sting; Tina Fey, George Stephanopoulos and David Sedaris; Jessica Alba and Governor Deval Patrick

The third season continued in January 2016 and starred notable stars such as Jimmy Kimmel, Richard Branson, Patricia Arquette, Sean Combs, Neil Patrick Harris, Mia Farrow and Dustin Hoffman. Due to the popularity of the show it has been renewed for a fourth season.

           

Season 3: Donna Brazile, Kara Walker and Ty Burrell; Soledad O’Brien, Bill O’Reilly and Bill Maher; Maya Rudolph, Shonda Rhimes and Keenen Ivory Wayans; Jimmy Kimmel, Normal Lear and Bill Hader; Richard Branson, Maya Lin and Frank Gehry; Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore and John McCain; Sean Combs and LL Cool J; Neil Patrick Harris, Gloria Steinem and Sandra Cisneros; Azar Nafisi, Lidia Bastianich and Julianna Margulies; Mia Farrow and Dustin Hoffman


Final Thoughts

I have only presented here two of the more popular genealogy shows that have broadcasted on our TV screens and that are available on DVD. If you do feel that I should include a show that has not featured here then please feel free to comment below. I would only be too glad to add it to this post.

These shows have not only brought the world of genealogy into our homes but it has also increased the popularity of this pastime. Both Americans and the British have seen a sharp increase in the interest of people discovering their ancestry.

Genealogy for me as been fascinating and interesting. Not only have I been able to sharpen mind, using my deductive reasoning, but also I have found out so much about my family history. I have discovered who my ancestors were, where they once lived and also what they did for a living. Along the way I have made connections with distant cousins I did not know existed and have shared with them plenty of family stories.

If you are interested in this hobby then I would recommend that you take a look at these shows. They have not only inspired me to trace my roots, but also many people all over the world.


Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post discussing what ancestry TV shows are on DVD. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

 

Author: Owain

Hello, Owain here. After researching my family history for a number of years I wanted to give back to the genealogy world. So here you will find guides, tips and product reviews that will help you on your genealogy journey.

10 thoughts on “What Ancestry TV Shows Are On DVD?

  1. Paulina

    I didn’t know there were TV shows about genealogy. Maybe I heard once of the US version of who do you think you are, but I haven’t had the chance to see it.
    Which of these TV shows do you like the most?
    Paulina

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Paulina,

      There are a number of other genealogy shows, but they are not on the air now. I have tried to just include ones that are still being broadcast.

      For me my favorite has to Who Do You Think You Are? I have watched both the UK and US versions of the show. It doesn’t matter which celebrity it is. I am just intrigued as to what will be found out and where they will travel in order to find out information and build their family tree.

      Reply
  2. Kevin Bulmer

    Hi Owain!
    Ah, see, this gives me a quicker path to follow after your recent post about some of these shows. I don’t watch much TV and so have little idea what’s on what channels here in Canada. What I WILL put on are my favourite DVDs. This is more up my alley!
    Both of these shows sound like great watching, as well and terrific gift ideas for family members! Thanks for pointing these out and providing such a thorough overview.
    Best wishes,
    Kevin

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      You’re quite welcome Kevin. You’re much like me as I don’t have much time for TV so I will put on a DVD. Also these DVDs are great as I have included all of the ones to date, which may not all be aired on TV these days anyway.

      I have included where you can buy the American and British versions of Who Do You Think You Are. Also included sources for people to purchase Finding Your Roots from both the US and the UK.

      Reply
  3. Furkan

    Hi Owain,

    It is truly amazing that this show is really popular I mean there aren’t many shows which are cancelled and come back to the screen. I actually would love to watch the episode which involves Martin Freeman and probably would watch it first and then the rest.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Programs like this have made genealogy the second most popular hobby it is today. You can get a DVD box set of the first 8 seasons of the UK show by clicking here. As this is an import make sure your DVD player will play these DVDs.

      If you’re in the UK then you can purchase the season with Martin Freeman in by clicking here.

      Reply
  4. Craig | UK TV Services Abroad

    Hi Owain,
    I’ve heard of the UK show but I seriously didn’t know it was connected to genealogy. I’ve never watched it but now that you’ve educated me I’ll give it a go. Both of these shows are of interest so thanks for sharing. This could be quite entertaining especially if they uncover some secrets in their family tree. Does this ever happen on any of the Ancestry TV shows that you have mentioned?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Yes please Craig give them a go. Even if you do not know the celebrity it can be quite interesting to see what is discovered and where they will go next. It certainly does inspire this show to start to trace their own family history.

      The researchers will uncover who the celebrities ancestors were but also much more. They could explain why an ancestor moved hundreds of miles away or why they had to leave the country suddenly.

      When you start to trace your family history there are just so many mysteries to uncover. These shows look at them and also try to solve them.

      Reply
  5. Etaya

    Hey Owain,
    I didn’t even know there were shows on genealogy! It’s always been an interest of mine and I’ll definitely check out the dvds, thanks for the info.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      You’re quite welcome Etaya. These are just the more popular genealogy shows. There are a few other though that you may seen on your TV. Happy watching.

      Reply

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