New LDS Living podcast shines light on unique family history challenges

Michelle Franzoni Thorley (left) and Miyamoto Loretta Jensen (right), hosts of a new LDS Living podcast.

Miyamoto Loretta Jensen and Michelle Franzoni Thorley are no strangers to the frustrations and practical challenges that can come when tracing family history lines—especially when your ancestors are members of minority and marginalized groups.

Now these two passionate women are hoping to share what they’ve learned about family history and help others connect to their own ancestors as hosts of LDS Living’s newest podcast, Love Your Lineage—a multifaceted, friendly, and shame-free exploration of the challenges of family history centered in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) experience.

In the podcast, Thorley and Jensen help listeners see beyond the traditional focus on searching for missing names—showing how everyone, no matter their background or family situation, can make deep and powerful connections to their ancestors. Love Your Lineage invites people of all backgrounds to listen and claim their own space.

The podcast will feature topics like these in relation to family history:

  • Genealogical consciousness
  • Shame and poverty
  • Transitional characters
  • Loving the bodies our ancestors gave us
  • Generational trauma
  • Impacts of colorism
  • Language loss and diaspora

Real families have real stories and face real issues, including in their histories. Love Your Lineage helps listeners appreciate the work—and the reward—that can come with facing the complexities in our lineage.

Each episode will feature the expertise of Jensen and Thorley—along with guest hosts including therapists, thought leaders, and diverse professionals—helping listeners safely discuss, understand, and mourn sometimes painful topics.

Thorley and Jensen draw on their own family-history experiences and challenges as hosts. For example, Jensen—who is of Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), Samoan, Tongan, Japanese, Korean, English, Swedish, and French descent—recalls that while working on a degree in family history and genealogy at BYU, “I not only learned how to research written records, [but] my eyes and heart were opened more fully to the power of our Indigenous oral histories and genealogies. I now advocate for the validity of this record type as well as the reclaiming of our indigeneity through connecting to our ancestors.”

► You may also like: How Miya Jensen felt her ancestors’ love as she struggled on her mission

And Thorley—a Mexican American, professional visual artist, and anti-racism consultant—has described her own moment of “gut-punching” frustration as she realized how easily she can trace her European ancestors but not her Mexican ones.

“Ultimately, our families and their histories can hold both the poison and the anecdote to the challenges we face in the world today on individual, familial, community, national, and global fronts,” says Jensen.

The podcast’s first three episodes—“Gaining Genealogical Consciousness,” “Shame and Poverty in Family History,” and “Becoming a Transitional Character”—are available now, with more episodes coming in early 2023.

Learn more about the series, hosts, and upcoming episodes at ldsliving.com/loveyourlineage.

You can listen to the first episode in the player below and subscribe here.

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