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Episode 4: Know Thyself

Know Thyself takes up the search for the guests’ ancestries where the historical record leaves off and links their distinctive family histories to the broader history of “the family of man.” Combining the documented stories of some of the guests’ last known ancestors with DNA evidence, the series travel backward through time to reveal both distant relatives and surprising shared ancestral connections. Elizabeth Alexander learns that she is a direct descendent of Charlemagne, and that her paternal roots are not only European, but Jewish. Meryl Streep and Mike Nichols discover that they are distant cousins, as do Yo-Yo Ma and Eva Longoria. Interwoven with these stories and others is the journey of the host, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he and his father and brother undertake an historic project to have their entire genomes mapped, and thereby to learn everything they possibly can about their own family. This episode offers a compelling and thought-provoking meditation on the importance of ancestry, the meaning of family and the role of both in creating identity.

  • Stacee

    Thank you so much for this series! I really enjoyed it. I’m touched by each of their stories. Next time, please do some not so famous people. There are many of us out here you have searched for years to find out our family information and our stories would be just as interesting. I’d love to see a fellow researcher react to some of the information that they may receive.

  • Interested

    I have always loved history, whether it is the history of a piece of land or human beings or animal. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Erdrich would be profiled. I am a Kiowa/Comanche/Northern Arapaho/Caddo Indian. I know my roots going back many many generations since this is past down orally from the time we are born. I had heard rumors in the Indian circles of Erdrich’s Native blood line, or lack there of. I figured this would help shed some light on it and lay it to rest. But unfortunately, her decision to decline the DNA test will leave many in the Native community to claim she is hiding her blood line as suspected. And I may have to agree at this point. Her comment about her blood not being hers to give is a romantic notions. But most Indians, who are raised with their people and know their ancestors have nothing but pride in their Tribal blood lines. We all know there was many European mixing in the past so no one expects to of a pure Indigenous background. Most people not raised in the true Indigenous communities may not understand why this matters and I could not explain to you in a way that could be understood. Erdrich will continue to draw questions from the Native peoples. But I doubt it matters much to her.

  • Trish

    This is the best show! I am on my search myself, and this is mindblowing….If you need volunteers for any of it, I will!
    Great show!!!!

  • David

    It’s kinda sad that Kristi Yamaguchi doesn’t share any relatives with everyone else. I would have also like to have seen her pie chart. This show shows that we are truly all the same.

  • Elnora

    Thank you very much for this. So at the end of the day there is no race any better than another because we are so close to one another. Thank you again.

  • teacher

    I have learned so much from this truly life-changing and mesmerizing television show.

    I teach humanities at a community college, and one of my goals as an instructor is to explore all of the ties that bind humans. This will be required viewing for my students from now on. We are all truly connected.

    And, this is another example of the amazing programming on PBS. I’m going to donate right now…

  • Young PBS Fan

    Thank you for putting this series online! It truly embodies the spirit of PBS as a public broadcasting (well maybe not technically true online) system. Having access to such tremendous program through different media avenues allows a person, like me, who does not have a TV to enjoy and learn from your hard work.

  • Maisie

    I am a teacher and this is great for my high school Biology class. However, it would be even better if you used people that could appeal to all generations- athletes, singers, etc., somebody that my students (from an “urban” school district) could better relate to.

  • Sarah

    This series of programs is really amazing and I am so glad you did all the work to make it happen. This last episode has one part that I can grasp — that with work, you could find the ancestors of some people back before the 12th century, relying on literacy and record keeping. Also that some of those 12 people, generally from different walks of life, were cousins. The harder part to fully take in was the DNA analysis. I do not know so much about how DNA is used to identify groups of people, especially over thousands of years of migration. The pie charts are straight forward — it is understanding what underlies them. That is what is new to me. Thank you many times over for presenting a more complex notion than the family tree; rather, it seems, you showed both roots and interconnections, and the enormous difference between biological fact and social reality.



  • Jen

    This series in incredible. Next series could follow a selection of ‘real’ Americans. It would be as fascinating, if not more, than celebrities. Sign me up!

  • Ren

    Wonderful series. Thanks to everyone involved in making it, including those sponsors who ponied up to make it happen. While I’d love to see a similar show with “regular” people, I know that it takes the famous names and faces to get the sponsors interested in funding it. Too bad.

    I’m amazed how how much documentation was found. It must have taken a whole team of researchers many, many hours. Would be nice if someone would decide to do a show about how to do the more advanced research. The Census can only take one so far.

  • Alex Arjonilla-Bonetti

    This is a fabulous TV series. My brother and I have been researching genealogy, familty trees and family DNA for over 20 years. The show is an extension of our efforts. We hope the program will appear on a continued regular basis.

  • Patricia Coleman

    I watched all of this program then went on my computer and watched it again. How wonderful. Like everyone, I would love to know my DNA and what it reveals about my possible health. What it would say about the people I came from. Our family has done some research, I think we came from England, exiled because we revolted against the King. I’d love to know so much more. Just a great, great program.

  • Alejandra Trujillo

    Wow, what an amazing program! Thanks so much PBS for putting this online. It’s really interesting to learn about history and the interconnectedness of people from a perspective like this.

  • CAM

    How do we stop the loud music playing overtop the videos? It ridiculously loud and certainly stops me from being interested in viewing this site.

  • Terisa

    I love this series.

  • Susan Priano

    I consider my Syrian ancestry unique and special. Studying both my Syrian and Italian roots and my daughters German Jewish ancestry has opened up the door to history and erased ethnocentrism. Although what remains of the generations past is only a birth or death date, notation of progeny, they had several years of unrecorded history. It makes me consider the struggles, challenges, expectations, dreams, and goals each may have known. These glimpses offer us a proof or negation of Malcolm Gladwell’s theories of success.
    I’d like to see the Boston Globe article on Queen Noor G-Grandfather, Is it available? And would you be interested in a written documentation of my Syrian grandfather’s birth (1891), young life and immigration to the US?

  • Debra Stiff Monsive

    This series has been so inspirational for me as a family historian. Thank you and your guests for sharing their history with us all. At first I was thinking there were too many guests, but this episode has shown me the reason! DNA is opening up so many possibilities for families to expand their focus and understanding of thier genealogical past. I know this series will spark thousands to take a look at their own ancestors. Thank you!

  • Timothy McClenaghan

    The series inspired me to continue the genealogical research I had put aside for many years. Lo and behold, after “googling” an ancestor, I find that President Obama and I have the same 9th Great-Grandfather.

  • Christine Ives-Brooks

    This series was amazing. I have been researching my family tree for 4 years. I find it Fullfilling. Thank you for celebrating life and wisdom with us.

  • MIchael Diamant

    This series is to today’s audience what the program “Roots” meant to audiences 25+ years ago. It was 25 years ago that I began my own genealogy project. It lay dormant for 23 years and I just recently renewed my research. Fortunately, I waited for technology to catch up to my research interests. The Internet, DNA testing and records being digitized have all made for instant gratification for those who want to know. All of us who do this have burning questions to be answered. Those who are interested and whose parents are alive, don’t miss the opportunity to gather information for those who know what’s what.

  • Robert Doron

    God bless you professor. I was very moved by your program.
    So, we are very much the same after all. I have always suspected this theoretically. It’s amazing to see our genetic similarity. And It’s shameful to consider how we continue to view each other based upon external appearances. Can I buy you a beer?

  • A

    what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.” – Chief Dan George

  • Gary

    I’ve been working on both sides of my family for over 25 years and I started a surname DNA project in 2002, so I have gone pretty far in my own research. When this episode was showing some of the guests’ ancestors, I recognized some of my own in their trees, including Charlemagne and Eochaid. What I haven’t done, yet, is to test for my haplogroup, partly because of the cost and also because, as interesting as it is, I don’t consider it genealogically useful because it doesn’t reveal anything about particular ancestors and is really only useful in establishing one’s genetic makeup and for tracking ancient migrations of whole groups.

  • Gary

    One more thing; Although it’s hard not to be astonished at some of the people we’re related to, the fact is we are ALL cousins, however distant; we are all of the same species. So, if you go back, say 150,000 years ago, you’d find that everyone living at that time are the ancestors of ALL of us, everyone living on the planet today. Howdy, cousins!

  • Mike

    It is amazing what this program brought to the table of America. The diverse ingredients that make for a savory cultural meal. I would like to think of humankind the same way we think of the water cycle. My grandfather would give me the water cycle metaphor to explain humankind. We all arose out of the same pool of water. As the water evaporates, so did the early humans as they started to scatter the earth. As they spread out in communities so did the water droplets in the form of huge clouds. While others found their way back easily like rain falling back into the ocean others went on a journey by falling in all types of land and finding their way back to springs, tributaries before ending back into the one big ocean from whence we came from. As time goes by and thanks to barriers being broken I think we will eventually realize that we all rose from the same waters.

  • steve em

    I have been doing genealogy for years and dna testing for myself and clients since it became available In 20 generations a person has one million forty eight thousand five hundred and seventy six r progenitors. now obviously many of those progenitors were duplicated in your tree. For instance Robert the Bruce is my 22,23,22, 25th,23,21 24th,great grandfather. I am also descended from Charlemagne 40 some times,and I bet almost everyone else who has European blood. Some Kings like Henry the first of England had over 30 concubines. That’s a lot of children.Of course for every king there is 20 stable boys or milkmaids who are our ancestors,but they keep lousy records,the Peers keep great records

    However ther are some misconception Pro Gates has.. One for many ‘white”Americans the line ends after a couple hundred years or less. That because people changed the spelling of their names ,or the records were destroyed etc. Not just African Americans.
    Only about forty percent of Turkish people are Semitic. and even having what is called a Semitic or Proto Semitic haplo group does not mean much, I have haplotype e1bi called Proto Semitic and my paternal ancestors have been in Gotland and Scandinavia for about 10,000 years ,before Semitic even developed.
    You can tell by the number of genetic neighbors,or mutations close to your in a geographical area.
    Also there are Slavic Moslems and many other Indo-European Muslims. Albania for instance and Bosnia.

  • elizabeth

    i thought it was so beautiful the true is coming in to light who we are God is uncovering all truths and we all are Gods children

  • Karen

    Amazing! Thank you Dr. Gates for your insightful and moving series, and thank you PBS for putting these episodes online. I live in Europe and would have otherwise not have had the chance to see them. This is truly precious!

  • Jennifer

    What a great series. I loved watching it and makes me really feel like we are all so connected. I want more!!! Thank you PBS for letting me seeing it online.

  • Shane

    Simply amazing, I love PBS.

  • Sandi

    Thankyou I thought your show was amazing also, I have been trying to do some gene. on my family also,
    I am stuck on my mom mother side . and my great grandmother – dads – dad – I know were in Ont Canada he was born.1833 but have not found out what he did until I found him in 1861 census his 1st wife there living with her parents
    I was able to find to find his mar. cert for his 2nd wife to find out his parents names .
    I dont even know who he had any brother or sisters just his parents name
    I have nothing else .He had 12 kids and they moved to BC 3 kids moved to about 1901 and then they moved to BC about 1911 .. I live in BC Canada .
    Good luck one your show but I did see you on Oprah first.

  • Chloe

    Personally, I am glad that they are doing famous people. I would much rather hear the history of someone who I have heard of, rather than whoever you are. The story of anyone’s family is interesting, therefore there is no need to do a show about people you have never heard of. You are just another one of those people that hates on the celebrity loving American culture… but honestly you are just desperate to be heard yourself and envious of all the famous people.

  • Brenda Mills

    I love this show and wished it were on all the time! Dr. Gates you are brilliant! It is so fascinating to watch!

  • q feem

    Great show! Sign me up too!
    As a black women, it has always been my dream to know more about my family history.
    Can’t wait to see more…..And Dr. Gates….Thank you!

  • Darlene Lee

    This program was a wonderful educational roller coaster ride!

  • sam

    I don’t necessarily doubt her native claim – it seems pretty solid. Her decision to refuse the admixture test may be a matter of striking the professional Indian/literary figure pose…trying to be “deep” and “mystical”…or maybe the pie chart smacks too closely of the Blood Quantum System. It would have been interesting though…

  • Clara

    I’m native American as well, and totally see and mostly agree with your statement. I’m half Apache and half a whole lot of other t hings. I could sort of understand why she wouldn’t take the test because, if I took it and found out that I was actually slightly less then half Native I could lose my benefits, and being that I am desperately poor I need the help of my tribe though school. But considering she is a successful self sufficient person, I can not understand. They said on the show her grandfather or great-grandfather was Native that would make her at the very most a quarter Native. So I suppose she could be at risk for losing tribal membership.

  • phillip

    hello.. Dr. Gates this was a brillant show i wish i could fine out my family tree. i am from the caribbean leaving in mexico. some year ago a friend of mine told me the reason why i came to mexico is because so of my ancestors were from here. did not believe it. now after watching your i kinda have a better understanding of what she was talking about…

  • Ireene

    I agree with Stacee, I would love to see a show about regular people. It would be interesting to know about our neighbours’ histories, people who live in the same communities with us… attend the same colleges & universities etc.
    This show is produced and put together so very well, I love it.
    I am a big fan of Stephen Colbert and Mario Batali. As for Stephen, there are so few interviews with him out there (where is out of character), I was pleasantly surprised (or very shocked, to be honest) when I found out that he will be on this show.

  • Rita Rowe

    Dr. Gates, you are an outstanding person. All the best in the future

  • Darlene

    I loved this show…i do genealogy as much as i can. I would love to be able to afford to have all the DNA testing done that you did on the show. That would be the ultimate in genealogy.

  • Linda

    Excellent program! Really informative! It really showed how we are really all connected and the same. We probably aren’t who we really think we are too. :)

  • Denise

    Now see, this is why there should be NO racism in this world…PERIOD! Because we are ALL connected. This is awesome. I would love to know about my family history.

    Dr. Gates, please do more regular people family history. Don’t get me wrong, its good to hear about celebrity history. But I want to know more about regular people. Thank You.

  • Juanna

    Henry Louis Gates you are my hero! You are an intelligent man that rises above adversity. I wish you can assist me with mine!

  • Pamela

    How rude of you and disrespectful of someones feelings. I think the celebrity thing was fun but it would be nice to have answers for self. Having a show with just us regular folks, would give hope that you don’t have to be a big star to matter and get answers.
    Usually don’t comment on blogs but I found your response quite insulting. From a human aspect.
    Stacee, I too have been searching for answers and I agree with you that all people have the right to know.
    As they say on the show ‘Know thy self.”
    Shame on you Chloe for trying to stomp on someone with your judgments.

  • Cynthia

    WOW and WOW!, for many years I’ve wanted to know from what country in Africa (at least) my ancestors came from. Knowing the tribe would blow me away! Thank you so much for this series. My husband, brother and I are wanting to do a search of our lineage.

  • Martha in NV

    For those of you wanting more common people’s to be searched, there is a series on TV and on-line for us that are not so famous. I THINK I found it by going to Generation Project. I also have viewed a couple of their programs on Direct TV Channel #374 or on the BYU TV. I think the BYU site on line sent me to the correct TV listings but I sure don’t remember how it was done. I just remember that it gave the different areas of the country and told you where to go. Good luck & God Bless all of you.

  • Ann

    I heard about the show on Oprah and went to my computer to watch all 4 episodes. I loved the reactions of all the people when they found out something new about their families. I was really fascinated by the genetic conclusions. It was a superior investigation and well put together. Thank you for the informative show.

  • Kate

    I hope this will get people to search for their roots. I also hope that someone out there will have the answer to my brick wall. I had the ethnology DNA testing done to prove to myself beyond a shadow of a doubt of my Native American heritage, I can look in the mirror and know, I can look at my father and his mother and her father and know. But our tribal heritage was well hidden and I would like to know mine, enrollement isn’t necessary but just to know would truely be a gift. Our family has worked on our genealogy for decades and we all come up against the same wall. So maybe someone who watches this might have the answer to my surprisingly large percentage of Native American heritage. It has been a hole in my soul.

  • arline

    I started watching Mr. Gates with his researching the African Americans Lives series. Thank you Mr. Gates for inspiring me in starting my journey of researching my ancestors. Being an African American, I have traced a grandfather down to his slave record, but it all stoped at this point.

  • Jay

    With market realities here in the US, it would be daunting to pitch a show featuring all regular participants and expect to get funding and air time. Given that, Dr. Gates has made the effort to explore the ancestries of the not-so-famous.

    If you think back to “African American Lives 1 & 2″, you’ll recall that the majority of profiles were of people prominent in the fields, but definitely not the celebrities that Oprah Winfrey and Morgan Freeman are. Also recall that in “African American Lives 2″, Dr. Gates did the ancestry of Kathleen Henderson, a “civilian”.

    Oh, and “Chole” needs a time out.

  • Rick

    These kids of today have no respect and I am shocked that they would even be cultured enough to want to take an interest, honestly.
    As for being interested in a celebrities ancestry, that is all part of the reality TV generation. “I want what I ain’t got but someone else has and I am too lazy to work for it, so I will just live vicariously thru you for now.” couch potato’s that are coming up thru the schools today.
    I would be interested in having them show how truly difficult it is, sometimes, tracing someone’s family tree. It is not always just jumping onto the internet and finding matching names and, OH THAT’S MY FAMILY.
    I have seen all too many times people attaching people who died 25 years before a child was born to a couple. That don’t happen, people!!!
    All that I can say it that it is not always that easy, and I cannot imagine trying to research someone that was either Native American or Black.

  • Laura Hanson

    My mom (the genealogist) showed me “Know Thy Self” and I found it absolutely fascinating. I am a biology teacher and I can’t wait to show my students this video. Yes, I will have to stop it and explain some things but this will put the genetics and evolution that we are studying into context. I am thrilled to have found this series.

  • Kellie

    I would love to see my ancestory, this of course could be very difficult, I am missing half my genetic makeup. I know I have some Native American in me my great, great, great grandmother was a Senneca Indian. That would leave me with very little. I know my mother side quite well, I am mostly German on her side. My father is who I am missing, my grandmother had him out of wedlock we could possibly know his fathers name, but my grandmother took that secret to the grave with her. I think that i would be cool to find out if you were related to any celebrities that have been tested.

  • J. Hendrix

    How would one go about getting this ancestry search started? Is it terribly expensive? My 19 yr old son has a genetic disease – briefly put – EPP. I have given birth to five children and he is the only one with this. Having this disease has effected every part of his life. I have taken him to doctor after doctor and basically the doctors tell me there is nothing we can do to help him. I do understand in order for him to have this, both parents have to be carriers but I often wonder where this came from. He cannot go outside bc of the sun, between 10 am and 4 pm. Makes it hard to play first base baseball which he loves and very difficult to play golf even when he starts at 7 am. Beach is only at night. I want to know where this came from and if others in my family suffered from this and no one ever diagnosed it properly.

  • joe

    I agree, as great a show as this is, it could ALSO be a cool low cost reality type show
    kind of how they took the boring UK Deal or No Deal and remade it

    most everyone will lead back to someone famous for those that “don’t care” and you can also change the channel if you don’t like it. no one is hatin on celebs geez

    Please, all people need to do a tree online to help others especially Native Americans and those who have them in their trees. It will help everyone. Every little pc. counts. This coutry was started by Traders and they also traded kids/first born back in the 16-1700s

    I would like to know the why there is an issue with the lady who refused, at the very least she should share the tree not really the DNA. You can also find places to do your tree for free

  • Susan Larkin

    Magnificent series! Intelligent, mind-opening. I have been doing genealogy for a number of years. It is true we do not begin to understand ourselves until we understand those who came before. Perhaps in the future it can focus on non celebrities.

  • Doug

    Here here! Thank you for speaking on behalf of what I am sure amounts to many many people also appalled by such a judgmental hostile response to a hopeful request.

    Guess what Chloe:
    Stacy had her DNA analyzed and found out she is related to at least a dozen of the celebrities you idolize.


  • Sheryl

    Of course the result of watching this would spark an interest in us all to know more about our own genealogical history, which is an innate curiosity in everyone. But, having the celebrities is marketing genius. Many people, myself included, would not have chosen to watch this program if some familiar face hadn’t drawn us to it. Having recently watched Mamma Mia! with Meryl Streep, and being an avid Colbert watcher (I saw Gates interview on The Colbert Report), I initially watched it to see their faces. But, what I take away from this is not what was learned about their backgrounds, but a bigger picture that was being conveyed. And I am so glad that I did watch it.

  • Sheryl

    Dude, in my opinion, what you just said doesn’t make sense. But, it was interesting.

  • Helene Clark

    Open, informative, intriguing. This is one of PBS’s superior shows which left me longing for more, more and more. Spellbinding barely begins to cover it. The excellence, depth and soul of this series is fully worthwhile. What these individual’s lives reveal is riveting.

  • Kristin

    I would love to see this last episode, Episode 4. I’ve been trying for over a week. Will it be available again?

  • moe

    the video isnt working..can anyone tell me why??

  • Debbie

    Hey Stacee have you seen this show?

    They use real people!

  • amber

    any word on when this will be up and running again?? saw the first three, but i was particularly interested in this episode. any links online?

  • Karen

    Bravo Doug and Pamela…Bravo. I think if we knew as a country we were interconnected, it would be a huge step in easing the sting of having the race conversation. Nothing brings reason to a racist like knowing they carry the blood of those they despise.

  • Tony

    Like many of you, I am amazed! We have spent quite a bit of time researching my family background and found evidence of one of my ancestors to have been on the Mayflower. I would love to find out more about more family history on the other side of my family. It is much more diverse. It is very exciting to know that we are capable to “Know Thyself”! Thanks PBS

  • Elena

    I saw Dr. Gates on Oprah and was very amazed by what he was doing. As a young person who was born to an “immigrant” (if you can call people that in the 21st century), Ive always been interested in who I am based on where Ive come from. For a long time I thought that it was the subject of race that could really help us figure out who we are, but now I realize that it dosnt matter what the color of our skin is. Although I consider myself to be hispanic, I could be african, european, and asian. I think that if people knew where we came from, we might not be so quick to judge people based on how they look on the outside.
    As for the people who say that young people have no respect and arent cultured enough to be interested, I disagree. I am fourteen years old and I find everything about culture, race, ethnicity, and where we come from extrememly interesting (and I respect it).
    Thank you for making this program available to people, I find it extremely valuable.

  • Lucy

    Why is this last part unavailable but the others are available? It’s such a great series and I would love to see the end of it. Please make it available again!

  • Yolanda

    Excellent series! I am very interested in knowing my ancestry. I would love to do the dna testing to find out. We as a human race are all connected some kind of way, and I personally would like to know all there is to know.

  • Cheryl

    As a transplant from West Virginia to Illinois, this series has struck a cord inside of me that makes we wish so to know my geneology—–even that spoken about with the testing—-which I am sure is quite expensive: therefore, cutting me out. However, I was raised by a father who always told stories of his life and his family’s “tales”
    I even wrote these stories down and had them published for my children and grandchildren. I feel that knowing where we come from is extremely important to how we live our lives and plan our future. I was taught to respect the past . My husbands family did not know anything about their past or relatives or anything , nor did they want to know. I have always been puzzled about this. I “tear up” when I watch these shows where others are learning about their past relatives and their stories. Maybe I have a tender heart regarding these matters, but I think that this tenderness comes from my father and his love of the past in history and family history. Long may this tribe increase..

  • Sandra Ault

    My ancestor came over in 1725 from Germany. His first property he called “Little Worth”. When traveling on vacation down the Danube to the Main to the Rhine, there was an Island called Worth Island. Things that made me go hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Was this his Little piece of Worth Island???

  • Kadeja

    I am so amassed at the knowledge and technology there is today. I hope one day you could do some history search in my country Australia.

  • Sierradolphin

    That is really rude and it would be cool if we they did regular people.

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  • Kathy

    Wonderful series! Thank you for keeping this on-line for me to discover!

  • mary

    I am also a HS Biology teacher and will use the 4th episode to introduce human genetics & pedigrees and eventually a project on tracing autosomal genes. Sure with PBS would include video questions/answers with the dvd’s.

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  • Debbie Thomas/Know Thyself

    This episode was great it was very interesting to see what length a person would go to know about their ancestors. I enjoy this so much I might look into find out about my family history, my family is not that large at least I don’t thing so.

    Another part of this episode I found interesting was the Genome (DN) part where they can take your blood and your mother or father blood and find out more information that you could ever imagine. I also like how the China culture keep family history all the back to 600 hundred years that is something.

    I like the statement that Henry Louis Gates Jr made about African Americans not always being able to find their long ancestors history. For some reason the culture don’t want to talk about it or because how slavery took place, and how so many families were separated that they couldn’t find one another again.

  • Alberta Russell

    As an adult adoptee finding and locating my ancestors has been so very important to me. I am 64 years old and did not know of my Irish ancestry until I was 55. I have Russian, Irish, German, Jewish and Native American ancestry within me. I applaud this series and hope to continue to see more on PBS. I am very interested in doing DNA testing to see how much further I can go back to learn more of my ancestry.

  • jean

    I, for one, am tired of people putting so called ’stars’ on pedestals. Most of them are ignorant and haven’t even finished high school, but because they are in movies it makes them stars??? I was saddened to hear about Whitney Houston but she killed herself by doing drugs. In other words she was a drug addict, albeit a rich one, which seems to make a difference in this sick society. I’m all for what Stacee asked for – let’s see regular people’s ancestry.

  • David Mero

    It’s amazing that every human in this world can trace their roots, one way or a another, back to Africa. With all the discourse in today’s political arena surrounding race and color and the outward difference’s, if you rip off the band-aid and look deeply into what really ale’s you, you might find that your issues and problems are with a family member, someone just like you. Being a bi-racial person myself, I’ve always been amazed with the fighting going on between the two major colors of people, black and white.

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  • Brandon

    I believe that the way technology has evolved in a fashion that people can trace their lineage multiple ways and in much greater depth is a wonderful thing! Regardless of who gets their lineage traced it was shown in the short film that most people seem to be a stones throw from being related in some way form or fashion. Even though some nationalities are not able to trace as far it gives one hope to new discoveries as to who they really. I really want to try this out not only for my own benefit, but also for the benefit of my children an\d their future children as well. Great show!

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    I am the 32nd great grand daughter of Charlemagne through his 2nd wife Hildegaard. They had five children and she died in childbirth. Charlemagne had a total of five wives and several mistresses. I have done DNA on both sides of my family. I am related to Charlemagne through my grandmother whose mother was a Howard and so all that royalty flows back from her. Grandma always said that we had blue blood and I thought that we had a blood disease. It would be interesting to compare are charts. I have been working on the family tree for 40 years. Keep in touch cousin, Cheryl

  • anita

    I don’t think her comment was rude at all. If you want research done than you should do it yourselves. Like I have done. This is interesting in that we all have stories to tell, and I agree I would rather this be about famous people than people I don’t know. Nothing wrong with our opinions.

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  • Charlie

    I think it’s interesting(even though some hardnosed atheist will be offended by this) that at 34:00 it talks about humans coming from 1 ancestor later there are 3 sub groups that come from this one ancestor. Yet in Genesis 8-10 it says 1 patriarch and his 3 sons repopulated the world. Furthermore it’s interesting to note in this series that Jews and Arabs are related by the same patriarch in the same series. Could the bible be more than coincidence?

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  • TMJohson

    Interesting you would touch on education, but you’ll note that ever “celebrity” on this series has at least one if not multiple college degrees.

    I believe it is fair to say that their “celebrity” was well earned as their accomplishments have contributed greatly to American society, whether through entertainment, medicine, politics or whatever endeavors they undertook.

    I appreciate your desire to have a “reality show” based on discovering the ancestors of a “regular Joe”, but be honest, would you actually tune in to see it? And if so, would it impact you as strongly?

    Eva Longoria’s story is one that proves, you can’t assume every Hispanic person you see entered the country illegally. Many may have been here longer than your family. I’m not sure I’d remember that as strongly if the series had studied Eva’s cousin instead and never mentioned the relationship to Eva.

    The truth is, the celebrity gets us interested, but the lessons to be learned are potentially just as powerful. Celebrities are human, too.

  • TMJohson

    Wow!! This BYU series looks pretty kewl. Thank you for the tip. I have something else to keep me up at night and continue to give me inspiration to keep digging up my own ancestry.

  • TMJohson

    You may already have this part of your syllabus, but I’d also suggest Spencer Well’s book, The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey. He also did a PBS/National Geographic documentary by the same name. I don’t think PBS has the video available to stream on their web site, but I do think they have the DVD for sale.

    If you, as an educator, have access to it, consider reviewing it for inclusion as a portion of your humanities course.

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