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Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 

Harvard educator Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts this enlightening PBS series that examines "the DNA of American culture" through an extensive discovery of the ancestors of today's celebrities.... See full summary »
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Harvard educator Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts this enlightening PBS series that examines "the DNA of American culture" through an extensive discovery of the ancestors of today's celebrities. In each episode, a set of featured guests view their ancestral histories, learn connections, and discover secrets about their lineage, while sharing the emotional experience with viewers. Gates guides them as they see results and details derived from the background work competed by expert genealogical diagnosticians, who have analyzed genetic code and traced bloodlines that leads to documentation and the occasional confirmation or debunking of long-held beliefs. A variety of guests have included musicians, authors, chefs, and more. Actors who've made an appearance include Julianna Marguiles, Stephen King, Ben Affleck, Sally Field, Mia Farrow, Anderson Cooper, and many others. Written by writermaia

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Release Date:

25 March 2012 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


When Stephen King appeared on the show, he looked through a scrapbook very much like the one from It (1990), based upon his novel. See more »


Stephen King: [discovering your roots] I'm set back on my heels by this whole process. Like having a stage and turning on different lights so you see things you never saw before. It's a lot to contemplate.
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User Reviews

Keeps the focus on historical themes rather than personal drama - and I love it.
8 December 2017 | by See all my reviews

I love genealogy and hearing the stories from different families. I enjoy both this show and TLC's Who Do You Think You Are? (2010), but they are very different shows. Finding your roots features multiple guests each week, and identifies a given historical thread to highlight through the interwoven stories of the 2-4 different families. This focuses the story more on an element or period in history than on the personal experience about learning about your roots. Additionally, the show features guests from variety of professions including politicians, activists, journalists and authors. In contrast, 'Who Do You Think You Are', features a single guest who is almost always an actor and who undergoes a personal journey to multiple locations to uncover his or her roots.

I am a history nerd. While I enjoy both formats, 'Finding Your Roots' does a better job at putting the stories into a historical context, and at asking the viewer to consider broad historical questions. It has less personal drama, since it spends less time on each guest and the guests largely sit in a wood paneled room.

I also enjoy the diversity of the guests, which increases the diversity of stories and coverage of global history.

This show will appeal to history lovers and genealogy fans alike.

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