finding your roots

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Professor Gates's Blog

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Musician John Legend

John Legend’s Unique Family History

Each family story is unique, and each of these stories contributes to our greater understanding of humanity. Finding these stories and sharing them with my guests is the most rewarding aspect of making these documentary series. This is particularly true … Continue reading ...

May 15, 2012 | 8 COMMENTS

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. interviews Condoleezza Rice for Finding Your Roots

Condoleezza Rice and the Complexities of Race

Last summer, in August 2010, I gave a presentation on genealogy and genetics to the board of directors of the Aspen Institute at our annual board meeting. After showing a clip from our previous PBS series, Faces of America, I … Continue reading ...

May 8, 2012 | 5 COMMENTS

Robert Downey, Jr. on Finding Your Roots

Robert Downey, Jr.’s Family Tree Challenge

When I contacted Robert Downey Jr.’s agent to ask permission to trace his family tree, he responded with an interesting challenge. He asked me to write to Mr. Downey directly, explaining why I wanted him specifically to be part of … Continue reading ...

April 20, 2012 | 3 COMMENTS

Production Blog

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Rabbi Angela Buchdahl

A Show That’s Like a Surprise Party

Filming an interview for “Finding Your Roots” feels like throwing a surprise party. You stay up all night with beer and Pad Thai making a gift (the Book of Life, a scrapbook of their family’s history) and party favors (scrolls of family trees). Continue reading ...

April 15, 2012 | 10 COMMENTS

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Interviews Yasir Qadhi for Finding Your Roots

Filming in a Mosque with Yasir Qadhi

We were nervous. Yasir Qadhi’s interview was approaching rapidly, and we didn’t have much information. Our researchers in India strove to provide the material, but there was little to be found. From the Ark Media offices, most of our promising leads withered into disappointment. Continue reading ...

April 15, 2012 | 7 COMMENTS

Barbara Walters: Behind the Scenes Finding Your Roots 1

Barbara Walters: Finding New Roots

Walters had conducted some independent genealogy research prior to the interview, and she was pleasantly surprised to find that her conclusions were wrong. Her past was rife with movement, adaptation and survival. Continue reading ...

April 1, 2012 | 3 COMMENTS

Genealogy Blog

Three Degrees of Genetic Separation

3 Degrees of Separation, Part 2

While the PBS series Finding Your Roots made only passing reference to connections between guests, the truth is that each guest is separated from each other guest by at most three degrees -- genetically. Continue reading ...

June 8, 2012 | 6 COMMENTS

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

3 Degrees of Separation: Genetic Connectivity

It may take far less than six degrees of separation to connect us. Geneticists who worked on the Finding Your Roots series were able to connect guests through just one or two other individuals. Continue reading ...

May 30, 2012 | 4 COMMENTS

This map shows the origins of the maternal line of Finding Your Roots guest Sanjay Gupta. This genetic lineage, U2c, is found primarily in South Asia. Darker colors show where this lineage is most common.

Haplogroups: Tracing Deep Roots with DNA

People with similar geographic ancestry share these small differences in their mtDNA or their y-DNA and they are grouped together in what are called haplogroups— specific clans or branches of the human family tree. Continue reading ...

May 15, 2012 | 13 COMMENTS

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About the Series

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).


Most Recent Blog Posts

3 Degrees of Separation, Part 2
Posted by Genealogy Team, 8/6/2012
3 Degrees of Separation: Genetic Connectivity
Posted by Genealogy Team, 30/5/2012
Haplogroups: Tracing Deep Roots with DNA
Posted by Genealogy Team, 15/5/2012
John Legend’s Unique Family History
Posted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 15/5/2012

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