17 February 2009

Television: Extraordinary stories, ordinary people

The family history television program Legend Seekers will preview its pilot episode in Indianapolis on March 26.

The difference between the well-known WDYTYA and Legend Seekers is that LS deals with ordinary people, not celebrities, and bills itself as "the stories of real American families."

According to the site, the show combines a reality program, investigation and historic documentary utilizing travel, research, genealogy, experts (historians, scientists, archivists, archeologists, professional genealogists, relatives and local history buffs) and science (ground-penetrating radar, GPS data and satellite imagery, DNA) .

The pilot episode (see the trailer here) focuses on the Lively Family Massacre, tracing the family legend of Pam Frazer, a southern Illinois resident. The show helps trace her connect to some of the first white settlers in the area in 1813. According to the show's site, and during the search, she uncovers a handwritten letter addressed to William Clark (of the Lewish & Clark expedition) mentioning her ancestors by name and their graves. The episode features research, genealogy, expert interviews and a historic reenactment of the pioneers and their tragic end.

The screening on several independent public television stations across the US is intended "to engage viewers interested in genealogy and create interest in sponsorship to fulfill a 13 episode series. " Other stations considering screening the documentary are inIllinois, Nebraska, Michigan and Maryland.

Other episodes:

The Legend of the Clarence Still on the Underground Railroad
Slave ancestors, a plantation and a hero.

The Legend of Handey and the Trail of Tears
A Cherokee great grandfather’s Missouri birth place and the Trail of Tears.

The Legend of the Walker Family’s Tennessee Gold
A legend of Civil War gold coins, a century of searching a Tennessee farm and clues found in the 1990s.

The Legend of the Schnaubelt Bomb and the Haymarket Riot
A post-card, an anarchist ancestor and Chicago.

The Legend of Dr. Horace Potter’s Shell
A strange monument of a Civil War surgeon and the shell that killed him in Georgia.

Read more at the site links above.

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