Three guests who know almost nothing about their fathers’ histories: Stephen King’s father walked out on the family when he was only two years old, and never returned; Courtney Vance wants to learn more about his true roots after the tragic suicide of his father, a foster child who never knew the identity of his biological parents; and Gloria Reuben’s father was 78 years old when she was born, and he died when she was young, taking the secret of his ancestry with him. We solve the mysteries of their paternal ancestry and introduce them to relatives they never knew they had.
Stream this exciting full episode, premiering September 23rd at 8PM EST (check local listings).
Episode Credits Print
A Film by Kunhardt McGee Productions
and Inkwell Films
In Association with Ark Media
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Peter W. Kunhardt
Leslie Asako Gladsjo
Written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Jessica Xanthe Cran
Deborah Clancy Porfido
POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
LIGHTING AND ELECTRIC
Liberty Lighting Ltd.
Production Services & Systems Inc.
Original Score by Michael Bacon
FIELD PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS
AFP / Getty Images
The Bridgeman Art Library
The Family of Stephen King The Family of Gloria Reuben
The Family of Courtney B. Vance
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Getty Images Entertainment Video / Getty Images
The Image Works
The Jacob Radar Marcus Center of The American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Granger Collection, New York
Indiana Historical Society
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
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Ohio Historical Society
Penguin Random House
United Artists/Kobal/Art Resource
Warner Bros./Kobal/Art Resource
New England Historic Genealogical Society
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
The Village Studios Los Angeles, CA
CLK Transcription, Inc.
GENETIC TESTING PROVIDED BY
Family Tree DNA
Dr. David Altshuler
Professor Lawrence Bobo
Dr. Carlos Bustamante
Dr. Lauren Dickerman
Sheila Ford Hamp
Steven K. Hamp
Glenn and Debbie Hutchins
Richard and Lynn Jones
Dr. Doug McDonald
Marial Iglesias Utset
HENRY LOUIS GATES’S WARDROBE
Savile Row, London
HENRY LOUIS GATES’S WARDROBE
The Andover Shop
FOR KUNHARDT MCGEE
George T. Kunhardt
DIRECTOR, PROGRAMMING OPERATIONS
EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE
This program is a production of Kunhardt McGee Productions, Inkwell Films and THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association with Ark Media and WNET which are solely responsible for its content.
© 2014 THIRTEEN Productions LLC, Kunhardt McGee Productions, Inc. and Inkwell Films, Inc. All rights reserved.
Episode Transcript Print
FINDING YOUR ROOTS
EPISODE 201 – In Search of Our Fathers
– – – – – – – – – – – –
I’M HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. WELCOME TO FINDING YOUR ROOTS.
IN THIS EPISODE WE HELP SOLVE FAMILY MYSTERIES FOR THE NOVELIST STEPHEN KING, AND ACTORS GLORIA REUBEN AND COURTNEY VANCE: EACH OF WHOM KNEW VIRTUALLY NOTHING ABOUT THEIR FATHER’S ORIGINS.
THEIR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES ARE HAUNTED BY SILENCES AND LOSS. REMARKABLY, THE STORIES WE RECOVERED INTERTWINE WITH MAJOR EVENTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY, AND INTRODUCE OUR GUESTS TO RELATIVES THEY HAD NO IDEA THEY HAD.
TO UNCOVER THESE ANCESTORS, WE’VE USED EVERY TOOL AVAILABLE — GENEALOGISTS HELPED STITCH TOGETHER THE PAST USING THE PAPER TRAIL THEIR FAMILIES LEFT BEHIND, WHILE GENETICISTS UTILIZED THE LATEST ADVANCES IN DNA ANALYSIS TO REVEAL SECRETS THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD.
Shot of Skip giving Book of Life to King, Reuben, then Vance
AND WE’VE COMPILED EVERYTHING INTO A BOOK OF LIFE, A RECORD OF ALL OUR DISCOVERIES….
KING : Oh my
VANCE: How did you find this?!?!?!
KING: Boy, that’s strange.
Skip on Camera:
TAKEN TOGETHER, THESE STORIES ABOUT STEPHEN, GLORIA AND COURTNEY SHOW US JUST HOW PROFOUNDLY THE DISCOVERY OF LONG LOST ANCESTORS CAN RE-SHAPE OUR IDENTITIES TODAY.
==================== START KING Intro =============================
STEPHEN KING IS ONE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST LIVING STORYTELLERS. HE’S PUBLISED OVER 50 NOVELS WHICH HAVE SOLD MORE THAN 350 MILLION COPIES – NOT TO MENTION, INSPIRING SOME OF HOLLYWOOD’S MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS
SEE book covers –
Clip from THE SHINING: “Here’s Johnny!”
GATES: Nobody comes up with stories like yours, Stephen. (laughs) Where do you think those dark stories come from, my man. What happened to you to make this happen?
KING: Well, Dr. Gates, I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you. (laughs) Listen I grew up interested in, uh, nightmares, scary stories, things that go bump in the night. And uh, my mother used to read Fate Magazine, which was about, uh, the paranormal and flying saucers and all that stuff, and she would read the stories to me, and I was fascinated.
ONE DETAIL FROM STEPHEN’S OWN CHILDHOOD, GROWING UP IN RURAL MAINE, HAS REMAINED AS UNSETTLING TO HIM AS AN UNRESOLVED PLOTLINE FROM ONE OF HIS NOVELS: WHEN HE WAS JUST TWO YEARS OLD, HIS FATHER LEFT THE HOUSE, AND NEVER RETURNED.
KING: According to my mother…I could only tell you family legend, uh, that he said he was going out for cigarettes and never came back, so it must have been a hard pack to find.
GATES: I’m sorry.
KING: But, you know, you get used to it, and uh, Mom was great, and uh, we didn’t have a lot of money, but there was always enough, so we were pretty happy.
GATES: When asked, where do you say your people come from?
KING: (laughs) Well, I used to say they were Scotts-Irish because that’s what my mother said, uh, but now, I just say I’m, I’m from Maine. My mother’s from Maine. I was born in Portland, Maine. I grew up here. This, this is where I am, so in other words, I have a short, uh, a short leash when people talk your past…where do you come from? Well, I come from here.
GATES: I mean, have you wanted to know more?
KING: I’ve always been curious about what my past was, and uh, my mother had a saying…peak not at a knot hole lest ye be vexed.
KING: By which she meant, you know, if you look too closely, you might see something you don’t like, so I’m curious, and at the same time, I’ve always been a little bit, uh…had a little bit of trepidation about that, too.
======================== Reuben intro ============================
ACTRESS GLORIA REUBEN IS MOST OFTEN RECOGNIZED AS JEANIE BOULET FROM THE TELEVISION PRIMETIME PHENOMENON ER WHERE SHE PLAYED A NURSE STRUGGLING WITH HIV.
MORE RECENTLY, SHE APPEARED IN STEVEN SPIELBERG’S EPIC FILM, LINCOLN, PLAYING ELIZABETH KECKLEY, A FORMER SLAVE AND dressmaker and CONFIDANTE TO MARY TODD LINCOLN.
GLORIA GREW UP IN CANADA IN THE 1970s IN A MIXED RACE FAMILY AND AS A YOUNG WOMAN TRYING TO BREAK INTO ENTERTAINMENT SHE WAS OFTEN FORCED TO CONFRONT THE QUESTION OF HER IDENTITY.
REUBEN: Oh my God.
GATES: You look stunning, absolutely beautiful.
REUBEN: What is going on?
GATES: Miss Black Ontario.
REUBEN: Let me tell you, there was some people who thought I wasn’t black enough.
REUBEN: Because I was mixed race.
GATES: From the black people or white people
REUBEN: From both.
GATES: From both.
GATES: Did you experience any racism?
REUBEN: Yes I remember specifically walking to school one day, and being spit on by two boys called the N word. I was seven.
GATES: Oh my God.
REUBEN: I remember that vividly. I was confused and hurt, and I just didn’t talk about it
FURTHER COMPLICATING GLORIA’S UNDERSTANDING OF HER ORIGINS WAS THE DEATH OF HER FATHER.
CYRIL GEORGE REUBEN WAS 74 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE WAS BORN, AND DIED WHEN SHE WAS VERY YOUNG; LEAVING HER WITHOUT ANY CLUES TO HIS FAMILY’S PAST…. OR EVEN THE ORIGINS OF THE REUBEN NAME.
GATES: You said that your mom didn’t even know Cyril’s parent’s names. I find that completely unfathomable.
REUBEN: I know.
GATES: Why do you think that’s true?
REUBEN: Well, I don’t know why that’s true… Maybe he didn’t want to talk about it. Maybe it just wasn’t important to my mother. I don’t understand. Then you really start wondering, okay, that’s when the question of, “Where do I belong? Where do I fit?” Even though in my head I know obviously, I come from somewhere in my heart, it’s always been a lonely kind of feeling.
======================== START Vance Intro =======================
TONY AWARD WINNING ACTOR COURTNEY VANCE HAS DISPLAYED REMARKABLE VERSATILITY – WHETHER ON BROADWAY ALONGSIDE ICONIC ACTORS LIKE JAMES EARL JONES AND TOM HANKS, OR AS ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY RON CARVER ON THE HIT TV SHOW LAW AND ORDER.
TODAY COURTNEY AND HIS WIFE FELLOW ACTRESS ANGELA BASSETT LIVE IN LOS ANGELES WHERE THEY’RE RAISING THEIR TWO YOUNG CHILDREN.
DESPITE GROWING UP IN CLOSE KNIT FAMILY IN DETROIT, COURTNEY TOLD ME HE KNOWS VIRTUALLY NOTHING ABOUT HIS OWN’S FATHER’S PAST.
VANCE: My father, he was a foster child, and never wanted to talk about it. So even my mother, my mother doesn’t know anything about him and that’s why I think our family was just, our family unit was so close because we knew that we were all we had.
COURTNEY’S UNDERSTANDING OF HIS OWN FAMILY ORIGINS IS CLOUDED BY HIS FATHER’S PERSONAL STRUGGLES — STRUGGLES THAT EVENTUALLY LED TO HIS TRAGIC SUICIDE, WHEN COURTNEY WAS THIRTY.
VANCE : I got the call from my mother, and just utter shock and you know we didn’t know the extent of the depression. I think my mother knew, but I didn’t know.
GATES: You must’ve been in shock.
VANCE: He asked me shortly before he died who were my heroes. I said, “You are, Daddy.” (pause) I want to know everything about my Dad and the Vance side of the family.
STEPHEN, COURTNEY, AND GLORIA ARE HOPING TO UNDERSTAND WHO THEIR FATHERS WERE. AND WE WANTED TO TRY TO HELP THEM SOLVE THAT MYSTERY FINALLY INTRODUCING THEM TO ANCESTORS ON THEIR FATHERS’ SIDE OF THEIR FAMILY TREES.
=================== Start KING First Story PATERNAL===================
King and Skip walking outside in Florida.
KING: They’re good kids. And two of them are publishing novelists.
TO START, I VISITED STEPHEN KING AT HIS WINTER HOME IN FLORIDA. KING TOLD ME HE HAD NO MEMORIES OF HIS FATHER WHO ABANDONED THE FAMILY WHEN HE WAS ONLY TWO.
GATES: Now you know who that is.
KING: Not right off hand. Is that my dad?
GATES: This is a photo of your father.
KING: No, I’ve never seen this picture before.
GATES: That is Donald Edwin King.
KING: Wow. How old was he when this was taken?
GATES: Well, we found it in his Naval records.
KING: No kidding. (pause) He looks like me…a little bit.
GATES: Yeah, no kidding.
KING: I can remember as a kid,thinking to myself, well, if I ever meet my dad, I’m going to sock him in the mouth for leaving my mother.
GATES: Oh, of course. Um hmm.
KING: And as I got older, I would think, well, I want to find out why he left and what he did, then I’ll sock him in the mouth.
GATES: (laughs) Yeah, right. That’s called maturity.
GATES: Hmm. Your mom never talked about it?
KING: I don’t think she did. She was very closed-mouthed about Don. In fact, uh, when…we traveled around a lot, she said people are going to ask you what your father does. Say that he’s in the Navy and that he’s at sea because, she said, that might not be a lie…..
STEPHEN’S FATHER’S DISAPPEARANCE WAS NOT THE ONLY FACTOR COMPLICATING OUR SEARCH… THERE WAS ALSO THE ISSUE THAT ‘KING’ WAS NOT HIS FATHER’S REAL LAST NAME.
ACCORDING TO STEPHEN’S GRANDMOTHER, AND CONFIRMED BY THE BIRTH RECORDS, HIS ORIGINAL NAME WAS POLLACK.
GATES: Did your mother or grandmother ever tell you why your father changed his name?
KING: No. There’s very little that I know about any of these people because there’s a pretty clean snip when my father leaves, and as I say my mother kept her mouth shut about a lot of this stuff.
GATES: Well, we searched every archive that we could, but we found no official name change recorded. Your father went by the name of Donald Pollack when he was 16 years old, but by the time he was 23, the next record we found, he was Donald King, so the origin of the surname King remains a mystery. Have you ever thought about the, um… that famous American author of 50 novels, Stephen Pollack?
KING: (laughs) No. Doesn’t have the same ring to it.
EVEN THOUGH WE COULD NOT FIND OUT WHY DONALD CHOSE TO CALL HIMSELF “KING”, WE NOW HAD A CRUCIAL CLUE. WITH THE POLLACK NAME IN HAND, WE COULD BEGIN OUR SEARCH INTO STEPHEN’S FATHER’S ROOTS.
WE FIRST LOOKED FOR DETAILS ABOUT STEPHEN’S PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS, WILLIAM AND HELEN POLLACK.
WE DISCOVERED THEIR MARRIAGE LICENSE, WHICH SHOWED THAT THE NEWLYWEDS WERE LIVING IN PERU, INDIANA IN 1917. WORLD WAR I WAS RAGING AND YOUNG MEN WERE BEING CONSCRIPTED INTO THE MILITARY. AND, A YEAR LATER, A CATASTROPHIC FLU PANDEMIC WREAKED HAVOC ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
BY 1920 CENSUS, WILLIAM AND HELEN HAD GIVEN BIRTH TO STEPHEN’S FATHER, DONALD, AND WE DISCOVERED THAT DONALD HAD ALREADY SUFFERED A TRAGIC LOSS.
GATES: Now Stephen, this is the 1920 Census record from Peru, Indiana. Could you please read the transcribed section?
KING: Helen, 23 years old, widow.
GATES: When Helen was 23, your grandmother became a widow. That means, by the age of 6, your father had lost his father, too.
KING: Just like me.
GATES: Just like you.
GATES: Would you please turn the page?
KING: William E. Pollack, a well-known engineer on the Lake Erie, died last evening about seven o’clock at his home, after an illness for pneumonia.
GATES: He died in that massive influenza pandemic of 1918. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. It was known as the Spanish flu.
KING: It could almost be out of a horror novel like one I wrote called the The Stand, where the world’s population is killed by a flu strain…Hmm…my grandfather died of Spanish flu. That’s amazing.
GATES: William Pollack was 30 years old.
KING: That was my grandfather…. wow….
MOVING UP THE POLLACK LINE, WE WERE ABLE TO TRACE STEPHEN’S LINEAGE ALL THE WAY BACK TO STEPHEN’S FOURTH GREAT GRAND FATHER, JAMES POLLACK. A METHODIST MINISTER IN PENNSYLVANIA.
WE LEARNED THAT JAMES POLLACK HAD LEFT IRELAND FOR THE UNITED STATES IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
HE’D BEEN RAISED IN A FAMILY THAT SURVIVED THE 1741 FROST – A TIME SO SO BRUTAL IT EARNED THE NICKNAME ‘YEAR OF THE SLAUGHTER’ .
THIS FROST DECIMATED THE IRISH PEOPLE BY KILLING THEIR FOOD SUPPLY AND LEADING TO MASS STARVATION. EVENTUALLY, ONE FIFTH OF THE IRISH POPULATION PERISHED IN THE FAMINE.
IT’S NOT DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE WHY JAMES POLLACK WOULD HAVE LEFT.
GATES: Look at this. This is a chart showing your father’s father’s family, Stephen. The Pollacks.
GATES: What’s it like to see all those generations restored to you?
KING: Makes them real.
KING: It makes them real.You see, uh, um, that there’s a real foundation underneath you.
GATES: Did you know that you had paternal ancestors from Ireland?
KING: I never knew, (clears throat) but I always thought to myself you look like an Irishman, you know, and you’ve got the Irish imagination. I don’t know how much of that is true. I’ve always had that appreciation for, uh, uh, fairies and ogres and boggarts and things of that nature. So that sheds a lot of light. // But here’s the thing that I bet you also know …is that the information always leads to more questions, where you say to yourself, yes, but I want to know…
=================== Reuben First Story Paternal =======================
MUCH LIKE STEPHEN KING, GLORIA REUBEN WAS ALSO STARTING HER SEARCH FOR HER FATHER FROM SCRATCH.
GLORIA KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT HER FATHER’S PAST; IT WAS BURIED WITH HIM AFTER HIS DEATH WHEN SHE WAS ONLY TWELVE.
Photo of Cyril with young Gloria
CYRIL GEORGE REUBEN, A WHITE MAN, WAS BORN IN JAMAICA IN 1890. GLORIA WAS PART OF CYRIL’S SECOND FAMILY. HE WAS 73 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE WAS BORN.
GLORIA HAS LONG BEEN CURIOUS ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF THE REUBEN NAME… AND WHETHER OR NOT SHE WAS JEWISH.
REUBEN: I believe that from what my mother said, Reuben being my last name. I know sometimes Reuben is more often spelled r-u-b-i-n or r-u-b-e-n for the Jewish.
GATES: Reuben sandwiches are r-e-u.
REUBEN: Exactly, there’s the reuben sandwich…
GATES: So your mother told you, you were part Jewish, that your father is Jewish?
GATES: Did she know for sure or is she making it up?
GATES: Do you think you are?
GATES: Are you a Jewish wanna-be? Do you want to be Jewish?
REUBEN: That’s funny! Am I… I’ve never thought about that before in that kind of context. No, I guess I want to believe that because that’s what I’ve been told.
GLORIA’S FATHER’S PAST WAS A BLANK SLATE.
HE LEFT BEHIND ALMOST NO PAPER TRAIL—NO ONE EVEN KNEW THE NAMES OF HIS PARENTS. PIECING TOGETHER HIS FAMILY TREE WAS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT ASSIGNMENTS WE’D EVER HAD.
WE STARTED WITH THE ONE CLUE THAT GLORIA WAS ABLE TO GIVE US – HER FATHER, CYRIL GEORGE REUBEN, HAD BEEN MARRIED PRIOR TO GLORIA’S MOTHER — BACK IN JAMAICA.
GATES: Well, Gloria this is an article that was published in the Jamaican newspaper, a very famous called the Daily Gleaner in 1945. It’s about your father, and that’s him there. When he was 55 years old, and he was visiting Jamaica with his first wife named Muriel. Did your father ever talk to you about Jamaica, his life there?
REUBEN: No. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo of him at that age.
THROUGH THIS ARTICLE WE DISCOVERED GLORIA’S FATHER , CYRIL, HAD A BROTHER – NAMED PERCIVEL NATHAN. WE DUG INTO PERCIVAL’S RECORDS AND FOUND HE’D LISTED HIS MOTHER AS A WOMAN NAMED FLORENCE GABAY.
AND BY DIGGING A LITTLE DEEPER WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN FLORENCE GABAY AND GLORIA
GATES: Now Gloria, this is the birth certificate for a child born to Florence Gabay in 1890.
REUBEN: Cyril, my father.
GATES: So you just met your grandmother. Florence Gabay.
REUBEN: Wow! Whoa! (big smiles)
GATES: But look at that birth certificate again. He’s listed with no surname, he’s just listed as Cyril.
GATES: Because there is no father listed on the birth certificate, it reinforces what we suspected. Your dad, Cyril and his brother, Percival were most likely half siblings. They shared a mother, but not necessarily the same father.
REUBEN: Oh my G-d this is crazy….
Graphics: Family tree – see Gloria, Cyril , Florence (+ see boxes for two other children) possibly use edge of the document suggesting that.
WE FOUND OUT THAT CYRIL’S MOTHER, FLORENCE GABAY, LED A DIFFICULT LIFE AND MAY HAVE HAD AT LEAST TWO OTHER CHILDREN OUT OF WEDLOCK.
THE RECORDS FURTHER REVEALED THAT SHE ALSO MET A TRAGIC END.
WE DISCOVERED A DEATH CERTIFICATE FROM 1917 WHICH LISTED HER WITH NO KNOWN FAMILY, DYING ALONE AT THE AGE OF 47 IN A SANITORIUM IN JAMAICA.
THIS SAD INFORMATION WAS THE LAST RECORD WE FOUND FOR FLORENCE GABAYS LIFE.
I DECIDED TO GO BACK TO JAMAICA TO TRACK DOWN THE LOST IDENTITY OF CYRIL’S FATHER AND TRACE THE ORIGINS OF THAT REUBEN NAME.
BURIED IN THE COLONIAL ARCHIVES, WE UNEARTHED CYRIL’S FIRST MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE, WHICH LISTED HIS FATHER’S NAME AS HENRY EMMANUEL REUBEN.
THAT BREAKTHROUGH LED US TO BIRTH RECORDS FOR HENRY’S FOUR SIBLINGS – ALL OF THEM CHILDREN OF A MAN NAMED ISAAC REUBEN – GLORIA’S GREAT GRANDFATHER.
AND WITH THE DISCOVERY OF THESE LONG LOST RELATIVES, WE WERE ABLE TO RESOLVE THE MYSTERY THAT HAD HAUNTED GLORIA ABOUT HER REUBEN HERITAGE.
GATES: Have a look at this…. Those are all, Gloria, records of your Reuben ancestors’ births. And what’s interesting is where we found this list.
REUBEN: The English and German Synagogue. Shut up! The English and German Synagogue, Kingston Jamaica.
GATES: Your father’s family was Jewish.
REUBEN: See, I knew it!
GATES: How’s it make you feel?
REUBEN: Amazing. See. I didn’t even know there was…
GATES: Yeah, you don’t think of Jamaica and Jews, do you?
Graphics – Jamaican Jews – map Jamaica to Spanish route – with paintings of King & Queen with and without Jews.
THOUGH LESS WELL KNOWN, THE HISTORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN JAMAICA IS VERY OLD… The story ACTUALLY begins in 1492, WHEN QUEEN ISABELLA AND KING FERDINAND ordered all Spanish subjects to affirm their belief in the Roman Catholic Church
SPAIN’S JEWISH POPULATION WAS GIVEN THREE OPTIONS: CONVERSION, expuLsion, or…execution! MANY FLED TO THE New World SPANISH OUTPOST OF Santiago, KNOWN TODAY AS JAMAICA.
BUT EVEN THOSE WHO FLED TO JAMAICA CONTINUED TO FACE DISCRIMINATION. THIS SMALL GROUP OF JEWS, INCLUDING GLORIA’S ANCESTORS, CLUNG TO THEIR RELIGION — UNTIL FINALLY THEY SECURED THEIR POLITICAL RIGHTS EARLY IN THE 19TH CENTURY.
GATES: Your great-grandparents were part of a remarkable generation, that won a victory, a major victory over Jamaican anti-semitism. On December 19th, 1831, just months before your great-grandparent’s wedding, the Jewish people in Jamaica were finally granted full rights under the law.
GATES: Now we wanted to trace your father’s family back further in time, but unfortunately, the paper trail ran out. That’s the best that we could do.
REUBEN: That’s great.
Gates: But already your family tree goes back 200 years, 209 years.
REUBEN: (nice smile)
GATES: Are you going to go to the synagogue?
REUBEN: I think just one thing at a time.
GATES: Too late to have a bat mitzvah.
================= Start of VANCE First Story Paternal ====================
Graphics, Family Tree: move from Reuben’s tree to Vance’s tree, just base with Courtney
LIKE OUR OTHER TWO GUESTS, COURTNEY VANCE KNEW NEXT TO NOTHING ABOUT HIS PATERNAL ANCESTORS.
COURTNEY KNEW THAT HIS FATHER GREW UP AS A FOSTER CHILD. AFTER HIS TRAGIC DEATH, MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS FATHER’S BIRTH FAMILY HAUNTED COURTNEY.
NOW WITH A FAMILY OF HIS OWN, COURTNEY LONGS FOR A CONNECTION TO HIS FATHER’S PAST– AND PERHAPS SOME INSIGHT INTO HIS OWN IDENTITY.
GATES: Now there you are as a young boy with your father, Conroy Vance. Conroy was born on February 6th, 1933 in Chicago. Do you remember when this photograph was taken?
VANCE: Yes, we were at his foster father’s house, John B. Cooper, I don’t know what he was showing me, but dad was always, got something going, and I was always, “Well, how does it work, Daddy?” We were in rhythm right there.
GATES: Did your father ever talk about his biological parents?
VANCE: No. We knew nothing.
GATES: Would you please turn the page? Now Courtney, this is your father’s birth certificate. Have you ever seen that?
GATES: Can you find the name of his biological mother?
VANCE: That’s his mother? Ardella?
GATES: That’s your grandmother, your biological grandmother.
VANCE: Wow. Her name was Ardella.
GATES: Ardella Vance.
VANCE: She was 17?
GATES: She was 17 years old. Can you see what it says for his father?
GATES: So that means your father was born out of wedlock.
GATES: She was 17 she was unmarried. That’s perhaps why she gave him up for adoption.
GATES: Ardella Vance.
VANCE: That’s a pretty name. (beat)
WE WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ARDELLA, SO WE TURNED TO OUR MOST BASIC STARTING POINT: THE US FEDERAL CENSUS.
WE WERE PUZZLED TO FIND THERE WAS NO TRACE OF ARDELLA IN THE CENSUS RECORDS SO WE GAVE THE LOCAL NEWSPAPERS A TRY. AND HERE, WE DISCOVERED A VERY UNUSUAL STORY.
GATES: Now Courtney, this article is published in the famous Chicago Defender on October 1st, 1932 – four months before your father’s birth.
VANCE: The 17 year old schoolgirl, Miss Ardella Vance accused a minister of being responsible for her delicate condition…Reverend Richard W. Warren,
GATES: Have you ever heard this story, Courtney?
GATES: Ardella sang in the choir of the Reverend Richard Warren’s church, on the south side of Chicago. And Courtney, it was quite a scandal. Reverend Warren was a very prominent member of the Chicago community. He was 50, and he was married, and your grandmother testified that he brought her to an apartment several times and had sex with her.
VANCE: What happened?
GATES: Well let’s see what happened in the case.
GATES: This ran two months after your father was born.
VANCE: “Pastor freed on paternity charges.” It is a scientific impossibility for a man to be the father an 11 month baby freed the Reverend Richard Warren.
GATES: The Reverend didn’t deny that he had sex with your grandmother, a teenage girl, but he wasn’t on trial for that. He was facing paternity charges, and the court ruled he wasn’t the father of her child, because you see, the dates didn’t line up. You do the math, like it says, that would have meant an 11 month pregnancy, so he got off scott free because of the timing.
VANCE: This is very painful.
GATES: I know it is and I’m sorry.
VANCE: So he was saying it was somebody else?
Graphics, Family Tree: Tree with Rev Warren slowly dissolving into a question mark.
EVEN THOUGH WE COULD NOT ESTABLISH WHO COURTNEY’S GRANDFATHER WAS, WE WERE ABLE TO LEARN MUCH MORE ABOUT HIS GRANDMOTHER, ARDELLA…
Graphics, Family tree – travel from Ardella up passing Todd Vance / Katie Holman and then reaching her grandparents generation.
Emphasis of visual should go towards the archival photos – less about the tree. As we’re using archival photos not Ardella’s actual family.
WE TOLD COURTNEY HOW ARDELLA’S PAPER TRAIL LED US BACK TO ARKANSAS TO A FAMILY OF POOR STRUGGLING FARMERS. ARDELLA HAD LOST HER OWN MOTHER BEFORE SHE WAS TWO YEARS OLD… AND WENT ON TO LIVE A PERIPATETIC LIFE; BOUNCING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN HER FATHER’S NEW FAMILY AND VARIOUS OTHER RELATIVES – UNTIL WE FIND HER IN CHICAGO AS A FIFTEEN YEAR OLD SCHOOLGIRL – AND PREGNANT….TWO YEARS BEFORE CONROY WAS BORN.
VANCE: That poor baby, she bounced around, Ardella.
VANCE: Bounced around, nobody raised her right so she didn’t know no better, just looking for love.
GATES: Looking for Love.
VANCE: You know, seeing that by the age of 15, she had a baby, and then 17, she had two, and then…Pastor trying, everybody’s trying to take advantage of her, poor little thing… No telling what she had to endure, had to go through, and then…. mmm.
GATES: Take as much time as you want.
VANCE: (pause) Ok.
GATES: Now Courtney, that’s a map. It shows the distance between the house in which your grandmother, Ardella lived when she gave birth to your father, Conroy, and the house of the Cooper’s, his adoptive parents, it’s literally right around the corner.
GATES: You see how close it is?
VANCE: One, two, three blocks. I wonder if he knew her. He was close enough to be able to, for her to be able to.
GATES: Yup… Just around the corner… Basically at a certain point your father could have gone for a walk and even if he didn’t know he would have walked past his real mother’s house.
VANCE: Wow!! (pause) I mean the question I have is you know, how much did my dad know of what his mother went through, in which case, that was something he may not have wanted, there will be no way that he was gonna, he had to reinvent himself, and as did she.
Skip On Camera
I’VE BEEN HELPING PEOPLE DISCOVER THEIR ROOTS FOR A DECADE – AND I HAVE LEARNED THAT IT REQUIRES A SPECIAL KIND OF COURAGE TO SEEK OUT WHAT’S BEEN LEFT UNSAID. SILENCES OFTEN MASK DEEPS WELLS OF PAIN.
================ START KING Second Story Paternal ==========
OUR THREE GUESTS HAD FACED THAT CHALLENGE AND BEGUN THEIR JOURNEY …… NEXT THEY WOULD UNCOVER REMARKABLE STORIES THAT CONNECTED THEM ALL TO ONE OF OUR COUNTRY’S MOST DIVISIVE AND PAINFUL HISTORICAL ISSUES… SLAVERY.
Graphics – King tree up to James Pollack line
Then cut to new line paternal Wiliam Bowden – maybe a civil war photo at end .
Q : how to connect these to Stephen’s name when starting a new line?
WE’D GIVEN STEPHEN — WHO BEGAN HIS JOURNEY WITH NO RELATIVES ON HIS FATHER’S SIDE — A LINEAGE tracing ALL THE WAY BACK TO IRELAND ON ONE BRANCH OF HIS FATHER’S TREE.
NOW WE WERE GOING TO INTRODUCE HIM TO ANOTHER PATERNAL RELATIVE: WILLIAM BOWDEN, HIS 2ND GREAT GRANDFATHER WHO WAS 36 YEARS OLD WHEN THE CIVIL WAR BROKE OUT… AND WHO’D MADE THE UNUSUAL DECISION TO VOLUNTEER FOR THE UNION ARMY DESPITE HIS OWN SOUTHERN ROOTS.
GATE: Take a look at this document Stephen.
KING: William T. Bowden, Company K, 128th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. Description: 36-years; height, 6 feet…tall for that time…
GATES: That’s right.
KING: …complexion, dark; eyes, black; hair, black; where born, Camp County, Tennessee; occupation, farmer.
GATES: You can almost picture this guy, right?
GATES: How does it feel to see that your ancestor served in the Civil War?
KING: Well, (sighs) I’m amazed. I don’t know if I should be or not because a lot of people did serve in the Civil War, but it’s more interesting to me to know that, uh, I have southern roots.
GATES: Oh, really?
KING: Yeah. I had no idea, no idea of that. And he’s from Tennessee, and he still fought on the right side, so that’s a good thing.
GATES: But that’s a good thing, but thats not all we found.
GATES: Now, Stephen, this group of military documents shows that William was one of six brothers to serve in the Union.
GATES: Six. You could count them.
KING: Yep. John F. Bowdoin, Enoch Bowdoin, Elza Bowdoin, William, Raleigh, and James.
GATES: And you had no idea about this?
KING: Um umm.
to be filmed – six siblings, record of military involvement in Union Army
SOUTHERNERS SIGNING UP FOR THE UNION ARMY WERE UNUSUAL – ALTHOUGH NOT UNPRECEDENTED. THEIR LOYALTY TO THE UNION WAS OFTEN BORNE OUT OF ECONOMICS, FEELINGS ABOUT SLAVERY, OR SIMPLY THEIR LOVE OF THEIR COUNTRY AND ANTI-SECESSIONIST BELIEFS.
headline and photo of southern loyalists
WE DISCOVERED RECORDS FOR THE FATHER OF THESE SIX UNION SOLDIERS – ENOCH BOWDEN – STEPHENS THIRD GREAT GRANDFATHER. AND THIS GAVE US SOME CLUES AS TO WHY STEPHEN’S ANCESTORS CHOSE TO FIGHT FOR THE UNION SIDE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
ENOCH WAS BORN IN THE SOUTH IN 1801, BUT IN 1836 HE ABRUPTLY MOVED HIS FAMILY NOrth, TO INDIANA, where he SERVED AS a LEADER OF THE METHODIST CHURCH And A JUDGE.
GATES: Why do you think your ancestor moved his family from Tennessee, right, out to this frontier? Why move to Indiana? Any ideas?
KING: Oh, if I had to guess, I might guess that they just, uh, uh, saw a good deal in
another part or wanted a fresh start…all kinds of possibilities.
GATES: Could you please turn the page?
GATES: This is a page from a book published in the year 1901, and it’s about the pioneers of this county…
KING: Oh, my God.
GATES: …Jay County.
KING: Oh, my God, look at this. Good for them. Enoch Bowdoin and his wife, like many others, left their native state on account of slavery there.
GATES: How about that?
KING: It’s good.
GATES: That’s good.
KING: It’s good. It’s something to be proud of. It’s better than turning the page and finding out he left because he shot somebody in a barbershop.
GATES: (laughs) In 1830, Tennessee was a huge slave state. Almost 20 percent of its population was composed of slaves. Did you know that?
KING: No, I didn’t. Can I believe that maybe they didn’t like it on a moral basis?
GATES: Of course. As a matter of fact, you’re absolutely right as a Methodist, Enoch may very well have opposed slavery on moral and religious grounds.
KING: That’s what I was going to say.v How about that!
GATES: Pretty good guy.
KING: I would say.
METHODISTS IN THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH HAD LONG BEEN DIVIDED OVER THE ISSUE OF SLAVERY. BY 1845 THE DISCORD FORCED AN ACRIMONIOUS SPLIT – AND THE CIVIL WAR ONLY INTENSIFIED THE BITTERNESS BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES.
STEPHEN’S ANCESTORS BELIEFS HAD BEEN PROFOUNDLY TESTED AND ULTIMATELY THEY’D MADE COURAGEOUS CHOICES
GATES: How does it make you feel to know that these ancestors on your father’s lines had such a purchase on American history?
KING: You know, what I make of it is just sort of I’m kind of set back on my heels by this whole process. Uh, it’s a little bit like, uh, having a stage and having somebody turn on lights on different parts of the stage so that you can see things you never saw before.
GATES: A lot to contemplate.
KING: A lot, a lot.
THE DARK HISTORY OF SLAVERY TOUCHES MANY OF OUR GUESTS IN SOME WAY. DISCOVERING WHICH SIDE AN ANCESTOR TOOK ON THIS DIVISIVE ISSUE; OR LOCATING THE NAMES OF YOUR ANCESTORS WHO ACTUALLY SERVED AS SLAVES. THESE CONFRONTATIONS WITH THE TRUTH OF THE AMERICAN SLAVE PAST CAN BE QUITE EMOTIONAL.
BUT FEW PEOPLE HAVE EVER PLUMBED THE DEPTHS OF SLAVERY AND DISCOVERED WHAT WE UNEARTHED FOR GLORIA REUBEN…
====================START REUBEN’S SECOND STORY+++++++++++++++++
Grapics: TRAVEL DOWN FAMILY TREE going down full Jewish side, and starting on her maternal side.
WE’D ALREADY INTRODUCED GLORIA TO HER WHITE JEWISH RELATIVES ON HER FATHER’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY AND NOW WE WANTED TO INTRODUCE HER TO THE BLACK RELATIVES ON HER MOTHER’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY…
Jamaica and archives
FOR THIS WE HEADED STRAIGHT BACK TO JAMAICA……
Graphics : Reuben going up five generations to Thomas HIggins and Elizabeth Higgins.
REMARKABLY WE WERE ABLE TO TRACE HER MOTHER’S FAMILY TREE BACK FIVE GENERATIONS WHERE WE DISCOVERED THE NAMES OF TWO OF HER SLAVE ANCESTORS – THOMAS HIGGINS AND ELIZABETH MARTIN – GLORIA’S 3RD GREAT GRANDPARENTS!
AND NOT ONLY THAT, THE JAMAICAN SLAVE REGISTRIES ALLOWED US TO MAKE A VERY RARE BREAKTHROUGH – ONE THAT MOST AFRICAN AMERICANS CAN ONLY WISH FOR.
GATES: This is a Jamaican slave registry from the year 1817, can you read that name?
GATES: Leonorah is your great-great-great-great-great-grandmother
REUBEN: What? Oh my God!
GATES: But can you read the transcribed line?
REUBEN: Leonorah, 50 years old, African.
GATES: That is the original African ancestor. That you found her name, her age, and her birth date. Nobody has found that. Nobody.
REUBEN: (good emotional look)
GATES: This is something black people only dream of finding, and you found her. She is your link to the continent. She came here in the Middle Passage.
REUBEN: (good emotional look)
GATES: What’s it like to see the name of your ancestor listed as property,
REUBEN: It’s unsettling, to say the least.
(maybe reverse these two above lines)
GATES: When you were making Lincoln, did you think about slavery in your own family?
REUBEN: No. I didn’t think there was any, frankly but that’s just because I didn’t know.
GATES: Look at this. This Gloria Elizabeth Reuben is your family tree, unwrap that sucker.
GATES: Trace of this line. Here you are. Go all the way, who’s at the top?
GATES: I cannot tell you rare. This is as rare genealogically, as rare can get. It’s like hitting the genealogical slave lottery.
REUBEN: It’s like… (laughs). Wow.
GATES : You’ve just gone today from having no family tree to the richest family tree back to slavery that we have ever raised.
=================START OF VANCE Second Story MATERNAL ============
Graphics – Reuben tree to Vance tree. Variation on one that was built for the Reuben to Vance Story One transition.
GLORIA’S ANCESTORS HAD TAKEN US ON AN UNPRECEDENTED JOURNEY FROM JAMAICA AND THE DEPTHS OF SLAVERY ALL THE WAY BACK TO AFRICA.
COURTNEY VANCE ALSO WANTED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HIS SLAVE ANCESTORS – AND WHETHER IT WAS EVEN POSSIBLE TO CONNECT TO THAT PAST.
TRAVEL THE FAMILY TREE…
WE HAD ALREADY TRACED HIS FATHER’S FAMILY TREE TO COURTNEY’S GRANDMOTHER, ARDELLA, AND BACK FOUR GENERATIONS.
SO NOW WE TURNED TO HIS MOTHER’S FAMILY TO SEE HOW FAR BACK INTO SLAVERY WE COULD TRACE HER LINEAGE.
WE DISCOVERED A RECORD FOR COURTNEY’S GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER, JOHN T. JANEY, WHO WAS BORN IN MARYLAND AROUND 1842…ALMOST TWO DECADES BEFORE THE START OF THE CIVIL WAR.
AT THIS TIME, THE black population of the STATE OF MARYLAND was split almost evenly – 60 percent slave and 40 percent free
WHEN WAR BROKE OUT, PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN HAD STRATEGICALLY ALLOWED MARYLAND TO KEEP ITS SLAVES, AS A PROVISO TO REMAINING IN THE UNION.
SO COULD WE FIND OUT WHETHER COURTNEY’S GREAT-GREAT GRANDFATHER HAD LIVED THROUGH THOSE TURBULENT DECADES AS A SLAVE, OR AS A FREE MAN?
GATES: Can you see where it’s from?
VANCE: Baltimore Sun. 1858. John Janey, age 22, light brown color, five feet five, has a scar upon one of his great toes from a cut of an axe. (pause) If taken in a slave state, I will give 200 dollars….Joseph Griffiss.
GATES: Do you know what this means?
VANCE: What are they talking about?
GATES: It means that your ancestor, John Janey was a runaway slave, and that is the ad to get his black behind back.
VANCE: So he took off?
GATES: He split.
GATES: He is a slave. We found him through a slave advertisement.
VANCE: How did you find this? This was in the paper?
GATES: In the paper.
VANCE: John Janey.
GATES: Wanted man.
VANCE: Got famous.
GATES: Negro ran away.
VANCE: On the run.
GATES: Now this is a page from a very famous book called The Underground Railroad, your great-great-grandfather is in this book. All the runaways that passed through…
VANCE: Oh my goodness.
GATES: Could you read the passage?
VANCE: Oh my goodness. September 10th, 1858, John Janney, Color brown, well-formed, self-possessed and intelligent.
GATES: There you go. It must be in the genes, brother.
VANCE: Right, he says that he fled from Master Joseph Griffiss of Culbert County, Maryland. He referred to his master as a man of “fifty years of age, with a wife and three children. John said that she was a large portly woman with an evil disposition,
RUNAWAY SLAVES WERE PRESUMED SAFE IF THEY CROSSED THE MASON-DIXON LINE AND MADE IT TO THE NORTH. BUT ALL THAT CHANGED WHEN THE FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT OF 1850 REQUIRED NORTHERN CITIZENS TO RETURN RUNAWAYS. SO WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHN T. JANEY ONCE HE REACHED THE UNION SIDE IN 1861?
VANCE: John Janey – the 22nd Regiment of the United States Colored Infantry.
GATES: He served in the United States Colored Troops. You ever see Glory? He was there.
VANCE: To actually know that my great-great-grandfather was in the colored troops, wow!
THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION OFFICIALLY GAVE BLACK SOLDIERS, INCLUDING FORMER SLAVES, THE RIGHT TO FIGHT FOR THE UNION AND TO TO BEAR ARMS IN COMBAT AGAINST WHITE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS. AND COURTNEY’S GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER JOHN T. JANEY, WAS ONE OF NEARLY 9,000 BLACK MEN FROM MARYLAND WHO SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES COLORED TROOPS
Gates: Yeah. How does that make you feel?
VANCE: Very proud, very, very proud.
GATES: This is a photograph of Lincoln’s funeral procession.
VANCE: (silent reaction) Was the regiment there?
GATES: Your great-great-grandfathers regiment marched in the funeral – He was there in the Lincoln procession.
VANCE: Wow. Look at that.
GATES: Somewhere in one of those photographs is your great-great-grandfather.
VANCE: Wow. My head is spinning.
GATES: It is. It’s mind boggling.
VANCE: He was in the Union Army, and he was a runaway.
VANCE: In the procession for Lincoln’s funeral,
GATES: Yes. It’s like the trifecta, man.
GATES: So I want you to take a look at this, my brother. This is your complete family tree. I have mine framed in my kitchen, it is yours to take away today.
Those are your ancestors that were able to find.
VANCE: Look at that.
GATES: And When you walked in today, how many of those people had you heard of?
VANCE: Maybe one or two on my mom’s side.
GATES: Look at this tree, these are all your father’s ancestors that we found.
VANCE: This is amazing right here.
GATES: It’s amazing.
VANCE Mm mm mm. (pause) My back is a little straighter.
VANCE: You know, everybody has to know where you know you’re from, you know who you are and where you’re going. You gotta know you’re from.
========================== DNA ==============================
WE HAVE REACHED THE END OF THE PAPER TRAIL FOR ALL THREE OF OUR GUESTS, AND IT WAS TIME TO SEE WHAT DNA ANALYSIS COULD TELL US ABOUT THEIR MORE DISTANT PAST. GENETIC GENEALOGY ALLOWS US TO LOOK BACK HUNDREDS OF YEARS AND TO DISCOVER OUR GUESTS DEEPEST ORIGINS.
STEPHEN, GLORIA, AND COURTNEY, ALL AGREED TO TAKE DNA TESTS TO UNLOCK THE geographical ancestry imprinted in their genomes, allowing us to understand something called their genetic admixture… the percentages of their ancestry from different world-wide population
Graphics: traveling down tree from older generations, landing on King photo.
FOR STEPHEN KING, MASTER OF MYSTERY, COULD WE UNCOVER ANYTHING THAT WOULD SURPRISE HIM?
GATES: Can you read what it says?
KING: (laughs) I’m 99 percent European, baby.
GATES: (laughs) The only thing whiter than you is an albino.
KING: I am the whitest man you’ve ever interviewed in your life.
GATES: That is just about true.
Graphics: traveling up Reuben tree to Jamaica and Africa – to show how far we’ve traveled back in time.
THE RECORDS WE FOUND FOR HER ION HER PAPER TRAIL HAD GOTTEN GLORIA REUBEN’S FAMILY TREE AS FAR BACK AS THE 1700s IN JAMAICA …AND EVEN BACK TO AFRICA.
WE WANTED TO SEE IF DNA SCIENCE COULD HELP UNCOVER ABOUT HER RACIALLY MIXED BACKGROUND.
REUBEN: 59.3 percent European.
GATES: 59.3 percent European
REUBEN: Sub-Saharan, 38.7 percent.
GATES: 38.7 percent. So although you were crowned, Gloria Elizabeth Reuben, Miss Black Ontario, you were actually far more European than African.
GATES: Those people who were woofin’ on you were right.
REUBEN: So basically, I’m a Jewish girl in a black body. (laughter) That was so not PC!!!!!! (laughter)
Graphics – tree up from Courtney to Ardella – see empty box with question mark far out in blurred out zone shot.
WE KNEW HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS TO COURTNEY VANCE TO FIND SOME CLOSURE ON HIS SEARCH FOR HIS FATHER’S ROOTS.
HIS GRANDMOTHER, ARDELLA’S, PATERNITY CASE HAD INDEED BEEN CLOSED, BUT SOMEHOW THE ELEVEN MONTH PREGNANCY DEFENCE USED TO CLEAR THE REVEREND DID NOT SATISFY COURTNEY – AND DIDN’T SATISFY US.
REMARKABLY SOME 80 YEARS LATER WITH THE ADVANCES OF DNA SCIENCE, WE COULD HELP HIM CONCLUSIVELY ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT HAD HAUNTED COURTNEY ABOUT HIS FATHER’S PATERNITY.
GATES: Well, Courtney we were able to locate a descendant of Reverend Warren’s – and they agreed to take the DNA test to see if it matched yours. Would you please turn the page?
VANCE: This is amazing. (hands on face laughing in disbelief 🙂 Oh boy.
GATES: Now here’s a map of your DNA. You have 23 chromosomes, and any matches between your DNA and theirs shows up as a red segment. Do you see any red?
GATES: There aren’t any so the court actually was right.
GFX Family Tree: showing Warren turn into “?” for Courtney’s paternal grandfather
GATES: Reverend Richard Warren is not your biological grandfather.
VANCE: Mm hmm. Ok.
BUT THERE WAS ONE MORE TEST THAT ALLOWED US TO LEAP OVER MISSING GENERATIONS, TO FIND HIS MORE DISTANT ANCESTORS.
IT’S A VERY SPECIFIC TEST OF A MAN’S Y-DNA – Y DNA IS AN IDENTICAL GENETIC FINGERPRINT PASSED DOWN FROM FATHER TO SON, IN A DIRECT PATERNAL LINE, FOR HUNDREDS, EVEN THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
GATES: In other words, if there’s a man walking around with your identical Y-chromosome that means you two have the same male ancestor.
Vance: mouth open reaction
GATES: And we found him.
GATES: Turn the page.
VANCE: Stop it!
GATES: You have a perfect match with a man Dr. James Arrington. James Arrington is a doctor in Lewisville, Arkansas. Your Y-DNA is identical to his. That means you share a common male ancestor on your father’s father’s line.
VANCE: So his family…?
GATES: This means that it is possible that your father’s father’s was an Arrington.
VANCE: He kind of looks like me. Wow.
GATES: And Courtney, there were a lot of Arringtons in Chicago when your grandmother, Ardella lived there.
VANCE: Really? Right, that would be… I gotta talk to him.
GATES: How do you think your dad would have felt to know?
VANCE: I don’t know. I wish I could have found out.
GATES: Yeah, I do too, buddy.
VANCE: I wish he could have hung around so he could’ve seen this day, but my mother’s gonna see it, and my sister’s gonna see it, my children and all of that. So that’s a victory.
GATES: You started out today knowing almost nothing about your ancestors. How do you feel now?
VANCE: I feel that now, I can begin the next phase, which is being able to get in touch with people and I just want to go to our family gathering. I want to start to reconnect.
AS YOU CAN SEE WITH OUR THREE GUESTS TONIGHT – THE POWER of GENEALOGY TO CONNECT US TO OUR PASTS CAN BE PERSONALLY TRANSFORMATIVE. STEPHEN KING, GLORIA REUBEN, AND COURTNEY VANCE, ALL CLOSED THEIR BOOKS OF LIFE WITH A MUCH FULLER IDEA OF THE ANCESTORS FROM WHOM THEY DESCENDED – AND WITH THAT – A CLEARER SENSE OF WHO THEY ARE TODAY.
JOIN ME NEXT TIME, WHEN WE UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF THE PAST FOR THREE NEW GUESTS ON ANOTHER EPISODE OF FINDING YOUR ROOTS.