Genie TV in Brooklyn

Sylvia Wong Lewis offers genealogy tips and how to preserve family photos.
Sylvia Wong Lewis offers genealogy tips and how to preserve family photos.

Genie TV comes to Brooklyn! Brooklyn Savvy produced and will re-broadcast its programs on genealogy and family history. A genie is a nickname for genealogist. Check out noted genies Sylvia Wong Lewis, Narrative Network founder and Wilhelmena Kelly, on New York’s popular local television show called Brooklyn Savvy.

Their featured segments are entitled “Know your roots!” and ‘What’s Your Narrative?”

Together with the lively producer Toni Williams and guests hosts, Sylvia and Wilhelmena discuss family stories, American history including early America’s “open society” before slavery and the post Civil War era.

Sylvia traced her ancestors in Mississippi, Louisiana, the Caribbean, China and Africa to slavers and enslaved.

For tips on ways to honor your family history, here’s an excerpt from Sylvia’s October post about Family History Month:

“Family History Month is celebrated in October by genealogists worldwide. This is a perfect time to celebrate your food legacy. I learned so much about my Southern and Caribbean genealogy and culture through the food we ate at home.

Here are 3 ways to honor your family’s food legacy:

  1. Share memories of food you ate growing up. Don’t take your culinary traditions for granted. Be proud of all the crazy things you ate at home!
  2. Create a family cookbook by collecting recipes. Read or write about how food intersects with culture and history.
  3. Travel to your ancestral homeland to taste and witness your authentic roots. The land, waterways, air, plants, animals, fish, fowl, bugs, farms, gardens, environment and dietary habits of your people are all important parts to your history.”

Wilhelmena is a direct descendant of Pocahontas and was recently inducted into the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Ms. Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly and Linda Rhodes Jones published a book tracing their family to Pocahontas. She shared her story about her African American family’s descent from John Rolfe and Pocahontas through Edward Yates Hamlin and Dollie Scott of Dinwiddie, Virginia.

Wilhelmena, Sylvia and the show’s hosts discussed oral history, research, family and extended family interviews and other challenges faced by African Americans and other mixed-heritage families in their genealogy search. To find one’s family history, it can takes decades of work and commitment.

Brooklyn Savvy airs every Sunday, 8am on NYClife Channel 25 and Cablevision 22.