Geneaology Road Show

Brian Bigard learns of his family history from Kenyatta Berry. — Photo/Pat Garin

The PBS series “Genealogy Roadshow,” now in its second season, continues at 8 p.m., Feb. 3 on WHYY, with an engrossing episode emanating from the New Orleans Board of Trade.

“Genealogy Roadshow” stars genealogists Kenyatta D. Berry, Joshua Taylor and Mary Tedesco and features participants with “unique claims and storylines.”

In this intriguing installment, the team of genealogists are in The Big Easy uncovering fascinating stories from the residents of one of America’s most multicultural cities. While at the Board of Trade, a woman discovers she has links to both sides of the Civil War; another unravels the mystery behind her grandfather’s adoption and one man explores a link to the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.

Also, a local man seeks to recover essential history washed away in Hurricane Katrina, and genealogist Joshua Taylor travels to the Old United States Mint, which holds “thousands of historical documents,” to see if that relatively recent history can be reconstructed.

“When disaster strikes, like it did in New Orleans and other areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, thousands of priceless documents and family artifacts are lost,” said Taylor. The question is, can you recreate items that are lost? Can you reconstruct a family tree that once was? You absolutely can. It’s not impossible.

“As a genealogist, I come to archives like the Louisiana State Museum looking for family bibles. I look for newspapers collections — things that might have been donated to the library that can offer me clues to put the story behind the family.”

“Genealogy Roadshow” combines history and science to uncover fascinating stories of diverse Americans. Stories have been researched by a team of local genealogy, history and DNA experts, using family heirlooms, letters, pictures, historical documents and other clues. The individual stories undoubtedly will link to the larger community history, revealing the “rich cultural tapestry of America.”

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