People naturally yearn to know where they came from. Genealogists scratch that itch by poring over historical documents such as vital records, tax rolls, census lists and diaries to reconstruct their family history.
In recent years, genealogists have also begun using genetic information as another way of understanding their identity and establishing kinship. With the growth of several genetics companies specializing in genetic ancestry – including 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service™ – genealogists now have an entirely new approach to use in tracing their roots. DNA is especially useful for recent immigrants, Native Americans or African-Americans whose ancestors left few historical records, but passed down a trail of genetic breadcrumbs that can lead back to a specific geographic region – and in some cases even a particular tribe.
The growth of genetic ancestry services, combined with the availability of resources on the internet, has also led many genealogists to share their stories and connect with others. Now Roots Television is adding viral video to the modern genealogist’s tool box. Roots Television markets itself as a video-based genealogy website, created for and by avid genealogists and family history lovers. They create online web shows on a variety of topics, while also licensing other programs. A recent glance at their programming line-up revealed a brief video on the art of document restoration, interviews with well-known genealogists, and reviews of new genealogy computer software. There is even an area of the site dedicated to user-submitted video, called RootsTube. Here, anyone can tell their story – whether it is an interesting discovery about their family history, a family reunion video, or even a tip on how to best utilize a particular genealogy resource.
So far there isn’t much content related to genetic genealogy, but the website is still in its infancy; we hope to see more genetics-related content over time.