Kicking Up the Past

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Can crowd-sourced internet fundraising work for Baby Boomers too?

Industry: Genealogy

An elementary school teacher & genealogist is using to attract an older generation to fund a television documentary about family genealogy stories.

Chicago, IL (PRUnderground) November 15th, 2013

Chicago-area teacher & genealogist Madonna Davis has launched a documentary film project called Kicking Up the Past.  A novel effort that relies strictly on the strength of the community at-large to both crowd-source a compelling story and crowd-fund the production of a made-for-television documentary featuring family histories.

The project also comes at a time when the popularity of genealogy is high.  For instance, now boasts 55 million family trees containing more than 5 billion profiles, and true family history accounts are portrayed in recent popular movie and television programs such as, 12 years a Slave, Who Do You Think You Are? and PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow.

“It’s going to be an interesting experiment”, she says, “Genealogy is among the most popular hobbies in the world… so we’re trying something not attempted before on this scale – using crowd-funding to kick start production of a quality genealogy series for television”.

Internet-based crowd-sourced fundraising, a relatively recent phenomenon, is popular among the internet-savvy generation and has been very successful at raising millions of dollars to support all manner creative projects including book publishing,  computer games, technical innovations, and even movies., perhaps the most well-known crowd-funding site reports since its launch in 2009 approximately 5.2 million people have pledged $875 million, funding 51,000 creative projects.

There is a unique variety of rewards offered for those who pledge funds to back this project including the opportunity to perform on-camera & in-costume as an extra in one of the historical reenactment scenes. Another reward made available to a few project backers is the opportunity to submit their own personal family story to be read by the producers for this documentary project. Project producer, Ken J Marks says, “It’s a chance for an ordinary family  to get the Hollywood treatment”.

Here is an industry review in Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

Only 9 days remain in the fundraising effort.

About Kicking Up the Past

In 2009, Madonna Davis and partners, Ken J. Marks & Frank Haney first brought grassroots family history to television with their production of the Emmy-nominated documentary, ”Legend Seekers: The Lively Family Massacre”, which aired on PBS stations across the country. More information about the producers can be found at and on the project page

Press Contact

Ken J. Marks
312 505-6193

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