Television episodes with family history themes

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Television Episodes[edit | edit source]

Episode Name
Quotes / Storylines
Father Knows Best "The Historical Andersons" 2 24 1956 "Bus has to write a paper on a historical figure from the Independence War. Jim suggests an ancestor - Major Nathaniel Anderson, and says he must be important if he was a major. Bud researches, and finds the major was a minor in the war."[1]
Mister Ed "Ed's Ancestors" 2 3 1961 "Through Roger's trickery, Ed believes that he has a shameful heritage, so he runs away from home."[2]
The Andy Griffith Show "A Plaque for Mayberry" 1 25 1961 Barney Fife unsuccessfully tries to prove he is a descendant of Nathan Tibbs of Revolutionary War fame.
The Beverly Hillbillies "The Family Tree" 1 25 1963
The Addams Family "The Addams Family Tree" 1 5 1964
Good Times "The Family Tree" 3 15 1975
The Waltons "The Secret" 4 16 1976 "Jim-Bob wonders if he is adopted because he does not look like other family members. No one wants to talk about his birth. Eventually the truth comes out as to what happened when he was born."[3]
The Waltons "The Family Tree" 6 18 1978 Jason tries to help Verdie trace her family tree
"We're going to try Scottsville [Virginia] tomorrow Daddy." --Jason Walton
"Why there son?" --John Walton
"We found out that Verdie's grandma and grandpa lived there and they were buried there." --Jason
"I worked down in Scottsville one summer. The summer of the flood in fact. Most of that town was ruined. As a matter of fact I worked for the city hall there the outside was standing but the inside was all ruined washed away and those records were destroyed. Those records aren't going to be any help to you at all, especially before 1915 anyway." --John
The Waltons "Founder's Day" 7 23 1979 The families of Walton's Mountain dispute which of their ancestors was the first to settle in the area.
"No one else but us gives a fig about our ancestors." --Emily Baldwin
"I don't get it. Who cares about all this old junk? Those founders, they've been dead for years." --Jim Bob
Little House on the Prairie "The Family Tree" 6 3 1979 "It must be very hard tracing all your relatives. Names and everything. Have to spend all that time in the forest or wherever it is you're from." --Nellie Oleson
"It's called the Big Woods and I'll manage thank you." --Laura Ingalls
"You know the Oleson family goes all the way back to royalty. We come from heads of state and titles for most of my relatives." --Nellie[4]
The Facts of Life "Adoption" 1 10 1980
Diff'rent Strokes "The Ancestors" 3 17 1981
You Can't Do That on Television "Relatives" 6 4 1985
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero "Skeletons in the Closet" 1 153 1985 As he prepares to visit to his ancestral manor in Scotland, Destro explains why he wears a mask
"It has to do with an ancient family curse. Many years ago one of my ancestors was convicted of witchcraft. He was forced to wear a mask over his face for the rest of his life. It is said his descendants were so angered that they vowed to fight the forces of law and order forever. We shall all wear masks until law is sacrificed upon the altar of history." --Destro
Muppet Babies "Fozzie's Family Tree" 3 7 1986
Teen Wolf "Up a Family Tree" 1 6 1986
Who's the Boss? "I Dream of Genealogy" 6 20 1990
California Dreams "Family Tree" 3 11 1994
Rugrats "The Family Tree" 2 parts 5 12-13 1998
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Boy Meets World "Family Trees" 7 12 1999
Doc "The Family Tree" 5 6 2004
Chopped "Pride on the Plate" 2 5 2009 "Pride is on the plate as the chefs seek to represent their cultural heritage through distinctive duck appetizers."[5]
House Hunters International Episode 5 12 5 2010 "Californian Teacher Wants to Get in Touch With Her Roots and Buy a Vacation Home in Calabria, Italy."[6]
Hoarders "Arline & Carolyn" 3 36 2010 "A Chubbuck, Idaho woman's hoard [including a Book of Remembrance] is largely obtained through theft, causing rifts in her large Mormon family."[7]
The Simpsons "The Color Yellow" 21 13 2010
Cake Boss "Famiglia, Fishing, & Family History" 3 16 2010
Dr. Phil "Get Out of My Family Tree" 9 13 2010
House Hunters International Episode 10 45 10 2012 "Connecting to the Ancestral Bonds of San Luis Potosi, Mexico."[8]
The Office "Andy's Ancestry" 9 3 2012
House Hunters International Episode 13 48 13 2013 "Looking for the Real Italy on an Ancestral Homecoming."[9]
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic "Pinky Apple Pie" 4 9 2014 "Genealogy is better than cotton candy on top of a fountain of chocolate." --Pinkie Pie
Duck Dynasty "Glory is the Reward of Mallard" 7 1 2014 Visit to Clan Donnachaidh Museum in Scotland
"This definitely isn't a castle." --Korie Robertson
"It looks like a gas station ... Did we get wiped out or something as a family?" --Willie Robertson
"What about these Scottish pants?" --Willie
"Well you shouldn't really be in here wearing those. It's not a Robertson tartan." --Museum guide
"What would the real Robertsons do if they saw a guy like this wearing those kind of britches?" --Phil Robertson
"They'd probably shoot him." --Museum guide
"What about this piece sir, obviously a Robertson [painting]." --Willie
"Never seen it before." --Museum guide
"It does look like me." --Willie
"Yeah, you're both bit on the bulky side." --Museum guide
"You sure he wasn't like a king, like King Robertson?" --Korie
"I'll take that as a yes." --Willie
"Well you take it how you like it." --Museum guide
"The chances of this guy being a member of the Clan is?" --Phil
"Definitely unlikely." --Museum guide
Heartland "The Family Tree" 8 8 2014
Gold Rush "Grandpa John" 5 10 2014 "Parker just turned 20 and that is interesting because it's about the same age John [his grandfather] was when he left home and moved to Alaska... The resemblance physically between John and Parker is shocking even to me ... they're alike in a lot of ways [including being gold miners]." --Nancy Schnabel

"I feel you are in the same category as my ancestors and myself." --John Schnabel to grandson Parker Schnabel

The Time of Our Lives "The Family Tree" 2 2 2014 "Bernadette grapples with the choice she must make in light of her gene test results."[10]
CSI Las Vegas
Sleepy Hollow 1 2 "A witch comes back from the dead and plans to kill the descendants of the magistrate who ordered her burned at the stake. Abby manages to identify the two living descendants in a single evening using nothing but the records at the town hall."[11]
Downton Abbey
Veronica Mars
The Brian Boitano Project
The Almighty Johnsons "The premise is that Norse gods (& goddesses) lost their powers and fled to New Zealand, where their descendants begin to regain the powers. In order to identify potential deities, one of the goddesses conducts genealogical research to identify all of the descendants of the Norse immigrants to NZ."[12]

Television Series[edit | edit source]

Quotes / Storylines
Family Tree HBO 1 2013
Finding Your Roots PBS
If Walls Could Talk
Ancestors in the Attic
Ancestors PBS 2
TimeWatch BBC
Faces of America PBS
African American Lives PBS 2
Heir Hunters
Find My Past
The Secrets of Our Streets
If Walls Could Talk
Roots ABC
History Detectives PBS 12 2003-2014
Who Do You Think You Are? BBC 11 99 2004-2014
Who Do You Think You Are? SBS1 6 40 2008-2014
Who Do You Think You Are? RTÉ One 2 12 2008-2009
Who Do You Think You Are? NBC
Who Do You Think You Are? TLC
Genealogy Roadshow RTÉ One 2 7 2011-2014
Genealogy Roadshow PBS
Questions and Ancestors BYUtv
The Generations Project BYUtv

Movies[edit | edit source]

Quotes / Storylines
Broken Lullaby TV 1994

Television Commercials[edit | edit source]

Quotes / Storylines
Disney My Family Tree - Netherlands
Disney My Family Tree - India
Disney My Family Tree - Cuba
Disney My Family Tree - Taiwan
Disney My Family Tree - France
Disney My Family Tree - Philippines "Guide Throughout the Past" "Remarkable Path" "Strong Women" "My First Leaf" "Detective" "A Journey that Crosses Generations and Continents" "1000 Years in the Past" "Here's to All the Fathers" "Family History" "Gemma Woollar" "Samuel Pitcher" "Your Story" "DNA" "Labor Day" "My Dad" "Athlete" "Surveillance Officer"

Special thanks to Linda Carver, Kathy Wardle Cortez, Kim Cotton, David Dilts, Brooke Schreier Ganz, Debbie Gurtler, Michael Grant Hait Jr., Lisa McBride, Michael W. McCormick, Bradley Marchant, Holly Murphy, Susan Kathleen Foster Nelson, Noreen, Gordon Remington, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, and Beth Taylor for sharing ideas.

Several of these references came from and

Pinterest - Genealogy on TV by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

References[edit | edit source]

  1. '"Fathers Knows Best' The Historical Andersons (TV Episode 1956) - IMDb, accessed 1 March 2015,
  2. '"Mister Ed' Ed's Ancestors (TV Episode 1961) - IMDb, accessed 3 February 2015,
  3. "'The Waltons' The Secret (TV Episode 1976) - IMDb," IMDb,, accessed 5 February 2015.
  4. "'Little House on the Prairie' The Family Tree (TV Episode 1979) - IMDb," IMDb, accessed 2 February 2015,
  5. "'Chopped' Pride on the Plate (TV Episode 2009) - IMDb," IMDb, accessed 3 February 2015,
  6. "Californian Teacher Wants to Get in Touch With Her Roots and Buy a Vacation Home in Calabria, Italy | House Hunters International | HGTV," HGTV, accessed 3 February 2015,
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "List of Hoarders episodes," Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 3 February 2015,
  8. "Connecting to the Ancestral Bonds of San Luis Potosi, Mexico | House Hunters International | HGTV," HGTV, accessed 3 February 2015,
  9. "Looking for the Real Italy on an Ancestral Homecoming | House Hunters International | HGTV," HGTV, accessed 3 February 2015,
  10. "'The Time of Our Lives' The Family Tree (TV Episode 2014) IMDb," IMDb, accessed 3 February 2015,
  11. Beth Taylor, Facebook Post.
  12. Michael Grant Hait Jr., Facebook post.