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Finding your roots is a new production of a 10 part series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This is to be a continuation of Gates' quest to uncover and discover more of our pasts. These discoveries are sometimes surprising; sometimes disturbing, but for enlightened family members the knowledge is truly welcomed. Something about knowing who you are; about where you've come from.

Each episode features well-known people who are somehow, in some way connected. Henry Gates takes the viewer down the road in the discovery of a link between the two that has sometimes been hidden; is usually surprising and often times, life changing. The audience gets to experience the discoveries of Robert Downey Jr. through his mother's family all the way back into the 1400's. It's thrilling for him and almost as much for those watching as well.

Gates is the show's executive producer and he along with experts in genealogy and family ancestry scour through family histories and stories to find relatives and events the guests have never known. And after they have exhausted all of those avenues, they can then tap into the knowledge and expertise of geneticists and DNA diagnosticians. With a sampling of DNA these specialists can determine specific bloodlines and possibly debunk generations of misconceptions.

As a side treat the audience is encouraged to look into their own pasts. Gates gives plenty of incentive and enthusiasm for questioning families; poking through archives and generally keeping your eyes and ears open to the past. Sending in your own story might not get experts to pick up your trail for you, but it will put it out there for others to hear and possibly inspire a portion of their own tale. There are avenues of rich heritage out there ready to connect.

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Sundays 8:00 pm EST on PBS
2 Seasons, 11 Episodes - New Series
Family, History
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Finding Your Roots Full Episode Guide

  • From PBS - Michelle Rodriguez, Adrian Grenier and Linda Chavez all share Spanish colonial roots, yet each views their own identity very differently. In this episode we ask what it means to be Hispanic-and find that the answer lies in the tangled histories of European, Native American and African peoples. Crisscrossing Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and the Southwest, Professor Gates reveals stories of ancestral Conquistadors, Indian rebels, and "Crypto-Jews" (Spanish Jews who converted to Catholicism to survive the Inquisition, yet continued to practice their religion in secret) - showing that the American experience has been shaped by people who were in the New World long before the Mayflower.

  • From PBS - Most African Americans struggle to trace their ancestors beyond Emancipation; slavery erased names and family ties with brutal efficiency. But what about the descendants of the handful of free black people who evaded bondage during that terrible time? Musician John Legend and comedian Wanda Sykes discover the extraordinary stories of the free black ancestors they never knew about, while Professor Gates himself and his 98-year-old friend Margarett Cooper delve into the mysteries shrouding the free people of color in their family trees.

  • Sanjay Gupta, Margaret Cho, and Martha Stewart

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