2021.07.28 – A New Leaf on the Family Tree



  • About A New Leaf show
  • Structure of the show
  • Reasons for interest in Family History
  • Rewards for Family History
  • Tin Types


  • About A New Leaf Show

I have recently discussed three different shows centered on finding your roots through Family History. Each of these comes from different point of views and Family History objective. It is interesting to see how they tie into the Family History landscape. Each of the shows is enjoyable and provide a fun experience while at the same time giving tips and clues as to the reasons behind and the rewards of getting involved in Family History.

This time I’ll discuss the show A New Leaf. A New Leaf was created by Ancestry and is available on the NBC website. A New Leaf is a series of episodes where people searching for their roots write to the show asking for help. Each episode highlights a different family and researches it’s roots in order to find the three most pressing questions the representative of the family has. Then the results of the search are given to the family and many surprising results are often discovered.

Their motto is “Connecting your Past grounds you in the Present and allows you to envision your Future”.

  • Structure of the show

Although each episode uses different families and different challenges, the basic structure of each of the episodes is similar.

  1. To start, A New Leaf goes to the home of the person that requested assistance.
  2. Then the family is asked for information that can be used for the research.
  3. After collecting the information, Ancestry does the research (however this piece is not shown in the show).
  4. Once the research is complete, it is returned to the family representative and displayed in the episode. Many times interesting and surprising results are discovered.
  5. Once the research has been shown, the show takes the person to another location where a specialist in an area of research pertinent to the family’s history can reveal more information and context to what was happening to their ancestors at the time.
  6. Then other members of the family are invited to meet together at the representative’s home and they show the family what was discovered.
  • Reasons for interest in Family History

Although the show does not give training in the principles used to do Family History research, it does give many examples of why people get interested in Family History. The following are some of the reasons that were given in the episodes:

  1. One woman was attempting to get into a Masters Degree in Dance. Her assignment was to create a show demonstrating the things she learned in her undergraduate classes with a twist that it needed to have an underlying basis in her own family history.
  2. A man was involved in stand up comedy and although he brought in comical elements from his immediate family, he wanted to see if he could bring in additional elements from his Family History.
  3. One boy had the last name of a famous historical figure and wanted to know if he was related to that person.
  4. Another was given an project in school. As part of the assignment, he created a wooden plaque of his family tree.
  5. Some people have special occasions they want to celebrate, such as bar mitzvahs.
  6. Others start feeling a need to connect to their past when loved ones die.
  7. Still others want to present additional information about the family in a Family Reunion.
  8. There are also other reasons people get involved, such as preparing for a 50th wedding anniversary.
  9. And the arrival of a new baby.
  10. And Weddings.
  11. And those desiring to pass down a legacy to their descendants.
  • Rewards for Family History

People become interested in Family History for many different reasons, but most do it because they feel there is something missing in their lives, a missing piece of them they want to fill. And once they start the discovery process, they want to know more.

Discovering answers to questions is a large reward for getting involved. Unfortunately if I disclose all the rewards shown on the show, doing so would give away the plot and ruin the surprise. So I won’t ruin it for you. Watch the episodes and see what I mean. However, I will say that everyone wants to know if they are related to someone famous and sometimes it turns out that they are.

  • Tin Types

As one last parting present to the members of the family, A New Leaf presents them with a family picture printed on a Tin Type. The picture is etched on tin using the same processes as used in the 1800’s and can be preserved for 300 years. This is a valuable heirloom that can be passed on for generations.

To view the show, go to https://www.nbc.com/a-new-leaf.

Seekerz LLC, © 2021

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