Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

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.

  • 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!

  • perez de vargas estepona

    Greetings from less than snowbound Miami, Florida. I am currently reading a thriller, ICE HUNT by James Rollins; a tale of a secret Russian base built into a submerged ice island. I came across the word POLYNYA, but was not sure of the pronunciation; so I used the Dictionary . com’ site on account of its pronunciation link (click on megaphone and hear the work said). In that this is a non-pictorial novel, my Southern curiosity as to what a polynya looked like lead me to your site. They say you can learn something new everday; and I have a new and unusually spelled word for my nephew the next time he challenges me to a game of Scrabble. Stay warm and Happy Winter Solstice Lloyd, Miami Florida.

  • Vanetta Aveni

    Anxiety disorder is a blanket term covering several different forms of abnormal and pathological fears and anxieties.

  • Bella Kapoi

    Great Post. lnformative and inspiring. You have touched on some very useful points.Thank you so much for sharing such a great content.

  • {A brief

    Fulfilled girl and mother, ( in the interview 60 Minutes, She said she will by no means be as very good as her mother) spread her really like to the big day for Brad Pitt, admitting that he was not the man of her daily life but her family and her young children. So frankly, that Angie has admitted sensation prepared to make place for a seventh kid, even if nothing at all had been determined with Brad.

  • Hillary Nunev

    My family loved these I think I would have preferred a layer of melted chocolate to the jam.

  • composite baseball bats

    The moment you have completed a company administration diploma online, there will be a range of rewards you will start to recognize virtually right away. For a single, you will be able to total your everyday tasks with a renewed feeling of purpose and self confidence. Moreover, you will be qualified for a higher placement and greater spend. If your career refuses to supply you this, you have the expertise and the credentials to look for work elsewhere.

  • click aqui

    Bring it on Black Pussies” Yeah we can do it! Your all real brave when you sucker Punch sombody! and Mob People. lets do it right! We”ll even let you take the First Shot! Axxholes!!!!

  • Cheryl Louise McGhan

    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.

  • Emely Fernsler

    It’s the first time when i’ve seen your site. I can see a lot of hard work has gone in to it. It’s actually good.

  • Lena Barie

    I can’t tell you exactly why, I am able to only think.

  • Marshall Klug

    Nice post. I was watching continuously this website and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

  • 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?

  • Vakantie Italie

    Thanks for sharing this information with me, I will return every month to read more.

  • Edie Font

    Doyle just called from Nashville. He had Sadie in the shop earlier today getting 6 new tires. After leaving the Loveless Cafe, Doyle said one of the tires started smoking so they stopped and had a man make a service call & pull the tires. They found nothing that would have caused the trouble so they replaced the tires and are headed out of town on their way to Branson, MO. Please pray for the safety of Doyle & all of the guys. Sadie hasn’t seemed to want to travel lately but we hope her new tires and several other new parts will make her feel like rolling down the toad and not giving Doyle anymore trouble.

  • Jenise Iddings

    Nice post. I was watching continuously this site and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part I care for such info much. I was looking for this specific info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  • 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.

  • hagerman nelson

    quast henry

  • http://www.Der-Beauty-Blog/ Cherlyn Przeniczny

    I simply couldn’t depart your site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual information a person supply on your guests? Is going to be back often to inspect new posts

  • Pattie Merkley

    Lovely selection!I’ll certainly end up checking a good portion of th list. xD

  • tony bowls fans

    “I do know it was my choice to read”

  • ford used cars bedfordshire

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not fail me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, nonetheless I actually believed you would probably have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

  • in disability math learning

    Thank you Tahira for your message. Good to hear that you have found help for your son and that you found this article helpful. I don’t know any centers in that area but when I find out about one I will let you know. Wishing you good luck with his program.

  • seo tools

    Superb, what a blog it is! This blog gives valuable information to us, keep it up. seo tools

  • Kitty Kenrick

    Simply want to say your article is as surprising. The clearness in your post is just excellent and I can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  • Clemente Lappi

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the last part :) I care for such information much. I was seeking this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  • Lisbeth

    It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

© 2015 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.