KBYU-TV, PBS join forces in genealogy series

KBYU-TV has received $70,000 in research and development grants toward the production of "Ancestors," a PBS series on genealogy and family history research.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service committed $45,000, and the George S. and Delores Eccles Foundation donated $25,000, according to KBYU Station Manager Mel Rogers."We're thrilled and grateful that both PBS and the Eccles Foundation share our vision for the potential of this important series," Rogers said.

" `Ancestors' is an ambitious project costing more than a million dollars," said Mal Gee, director of development. "Several major corporate entities are strongly considering underwriting the series. The financial support of PBS and the Eccles foundation will take us to the point where more complete funding can be secured."

"Ancestors" is a 13-part, high-level instructional series being produced by KBYU-TV to be aired nationally on PBS.

Rogers said the series will examine how people kept genealogies anciently and the impact that discovering one's family history can have on people today. It will follow people as they search out their own family lineage and create a personal life history for future generations.

Experts in family history and genealogy will instruct viewers how to get started on their own family research and show them how to trace their personal roots.

"I'm excited about this project," said Rogers. "Family history research can have a positive impact on people and families. Some claim it can contribute to solving many social ills."

Sterling VanWagenen, an independent producer, has been hired as executive producer for "Ancestors." VanWagenen is a co-founder of the United States Film Festival, and, with prominent film actor Robert Redford, founded the Sundance Institute, serving as its first executive director.

In 1985 VanWagenen produced the Academy Award-winning film, "The Trip to Bountiful."

"This series will be America's first in-depth look at the significance of searching for family roots," said Rogers.

The series will be dedicated to Alex Haley, author of the acclaimed novel Roots, which he based on his own ancestral history. Haley, prior to his death, was an adviser to "Ancestors" and was to host the series.

PBS has agreed to air "Ancestors" upon its completion in 1993, Rogers said.

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