I’ve gotten very into podcasts over the last few years, particularly after the radio/CD player in my car broke. Not being inclined to spend hundreds to fix something in a decade old car, I turned to podcasts. At first, I didn’t even consider that genealogy and podcasts would or could go together. Now, it’s practically all I listen to on my rides to and from work.

In order of discovery, 3 of my genealogy podcast favorites are as follows:


Extreme Genes

This was my introduction to the wonderful world of genealogy podcasts. I had attempted to listen to a couple others first and we just didn’t click. Frankly, I was bored. When I found Extreme Genes, I found what I was looking for. The podcast plays like a radio show, led by charismatic “Radio Roots Sleuth” Scott Fisher, its genealogy-enamored host. Each episode begins with genealogy great,ย Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, David Allen Lambert giving the “family histoire news,” current events and up-to-date information of what is going on in the genealogical world. The episodes conclude with various preservation tips from preservation authority Tom Perry. In between Lambert and Perry, Fisher typically interviews a guest or two who either have an incredible genealogy-based story or who may be a great in the genealogy world with information to offer. A month or two after becoming hooked on the series, I wrote to Scott and shared with him my own story of incredible family discovery and was surprised to be invited as a guest on the show (which I happily accepted) forย Episode 259! I truly enjoyed speaking to Scott and sharing my story. I was later surprised to be mentioned again, this time in David Allen Lambert’s blogger spotlight (yes, this very blog!) in Episode 269. As a superfan of both gents, I am honored, to say the least.

Family Secrets

Author turned podcast host Dani Shapiro has, possibly, the most beautiful speaking voice in all of podcast-land. I’ve found that one of the biggest bummers is when you enjoy the content you are listening to, but not the person delivering it. Dani doesn’t have that issue. She possesses the double whammy of a writer’s grasp of storytelling mixed with the ability to tell it in the most soothing tone imaginable.

Having been born into a climate of secrets herself, which she mentions here and there throughout the episodes (her wonderful memoir Inheritance tells the full story), she is the perfect person to guide the podcast and her guests. Each episode, a different guest tells their particular story of covering or uncovering their own family secret and the impact it had on their life. The podcast delves into the concepts of shame, redemption, and strength. I confess, I don’t think one episode has gone by where my eyes were dry by the conclusion. ย Bonus points for playing the Mary Tyler Moore theme song as background in one of the episodes discussing a career girl.

Cutoff Genes

I was instantly drawn to this podcast…literally from the first few moments I listened, I was hooked. I came for the information and stayed for the banter. Host Julie Dixon Jackson with co-hosts Renee Colvert and Richard Castle have a rapor like no other podcast hosts I have ever heard. In truth, Renee and Rich remind me of two of my own friends (I’m “the Julie”) and their conversations are instantly recognizable and relatable. The focus of the podcast is “finding your truth using nothing but DNA.” Julie, a self-proclaimed Gen-Genie (genetic genealogist) and adoptee who used DNA to find her family, uses her knowledge on the subject to steer the conversation while “everywoman” Renee, who has zero background in DNA or genealogy research, asks the questions that one would who is just being introduced to the subject. Rich, who started as a producer throwing out one-liners from the background, becomes upgraded to co-host as the podcast goes on; a welcome and funny addition! I have laughed out loud several times listening to this podcast and it’s something I look forward to for my drive to and from work. In addition to keeping the jokes going, the hosts keep you up to date on current events in the genealogical world, explain terms, and give tips to using sites like Ancestry.com and Gedmatch, etc. However, perhaps the most fun segment, is Story Time, at the end of each episode. Story Time originated with Julie’s “epic odyssey” a multi-part story of her own incredible search to find her biological family that spans several episodes and keeps you hooked with its twists and turns. The odyssey now concluded, Story Time keeps on keeping on with interviews from guests who tell their own fantastic stories of using DNA to find family and make discoveries.

Do you have a favorite genealogy podcast? If you do, and it’s not mentioned above, please let me know in the comments! Happy listening!