Josh Gleason
Newburgh Member

A documentary filmmaker and researcher/writer, Josh translated his experience on the hit PBS series Finding Your Roots into a premium genealogy service. He joined the hive in early 2022.

I’m a(n)…

researcher and writer. I turn genealogy into vivid historical narrative.

I’m passionate about…

the craft of non-fiction storytelling. The Shawangunks. Documentary film. My fiance.

Briefly describe your work.

I offer a premium genealogy service that not only uncovers names and dates, but reanimates the stories of ancestors by carefully reconstructing the historical realities that shaped and defined their world.

The resulting narratives make it possible to experience your ancestors’ lives as they unfolded amidst the drama of their times. It’s a way to realize the fantasy of really getting to know your ancestors — not just know about them.

What do you love about what you do?

Genealogy is like detective work. There’s the thrill of the chase, and a genuine glee when you solve the puzzle — or make a surprising discovery.

The historical research is a kind of time travel. I love to get lost in other worlds and experience them through the eyes of an ancestor.

How did you start (your work)?

I’m a producer and director of documentary film and TV by trade, and for several seasons I directed episodes of the hit PBS series Finding Your Roots.

When the pandemic brought the industry to a standstill, I decided to find a way to merge my genealogy and storytelling skills and offer them to the general public. By publishing books, rather than making videos, I felt I could imbue the storytelling with greater richness and depth.

Where do you see your work going in the next year… five?

I envision adding staff and increasing the volume of books that I can produce.

Ultimately, I may consider other mediums for bringing the stories of ancestors to life. Books seem like an ideal way to preserve the stories for subsequent generations, but I want to remain open to other approaches.

What do you like best about BEAHIVE?

I love being able to walk to a welcoming, aesthetically-pleasing space with a professional feel. It’s relatively quiet — which is helpful for writing — but there’s an atmosphere of productivity, which is conducive to focus. It was much harder to get myself “in the zone” when I was working from home.

What’s your favorite thing about the local community?

In Newburgh, there’s a sense of possibility — an energy of ongoing revitalization. It’s exciting to be in the midst of that.

Member Bzzz


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