Culture

Finding Your Roots

For more than a decade, renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has helped to expand America’s sense of itself, stimulating a national conversation about identity with humor, wisdom, and compassion. Professor Gates has explored the ancestry of dozens of influential people from diverse backgrounds, taking millions of viewers deep into the past to reveal the connections that bind us all.

Viewers Like You

52m 10s

After a national casting call that received over nine thousand submissions, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. meets 3 everyday Americans. Each has a family mystery that they have spent years trying to solve—only to reach dead ends. Using genetic genealogy and old-fashioned detective work, Gates unravels these mysteries, allowing each of his guests to understand themselves—and their families--as never before.

Episodes

  • Viewers Like You: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Viewers Like You

    S10 E10 - 52m 10s

    After a national casting call that received over nine thousand submissions, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. meets 3 everyday Americans. Each has a family mystery that they have spent years trying to solve—only to reach dead ends. Using genetic genealogy and old-fashioned detective work, Gates unravels these mysteries, allowing each of his guests to understand themselves—and their families--as never before.

  • In the Blood: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    In the Blood

    S10 E9 - 52m 10s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of actor Michael Douglas & writer-director Lena Dunham. Both guests are the children of famous artists—and both proudly followed in their parents’ footsteps. But their family trees contain a cast of characters whose lives were forgotten. Gates recovers them, telling fascinating stories from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the streets of colonial America.

  • Mean Streets: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Mean Streets

    S10 E8 - 52m 11s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. maps the family trees of comedian Tracy Morgan & actor Anthony Ramos—two native New Yorkers whose roots stretch to surprising places and contain inspiring stories. Moving from the Canary Islands to battlefields in Europe & Asia to slave plantations in Virginia, long-lost records reveal ancestors who laid the groundwork for Tracy and Anthony’s success by fighting to survive.

  • The Brick Wall Falls: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Brick Wall Falls

    S10 E7 - 52m 11s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps musician Dionne Warwick and actor Danielle Brooks break down the barriers imposed by slavery to learn the names and stories of their ancestors who endured bondage. Facing one of the greatest genealogical challenges, Gates uses his detective skills to piece together the lives of women and men who survived unimaginable ordeals—but emerged to forge families that thrived.

  • Far and Away: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Far and Away

    S10 E6 - 52m 11s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of journalist Sunny Hostin & actor Jesse Williams—revealing the tremendous diversity hidden within their family trees. Sifting through stories of Swedish musical prodigies, Spanish slave traders, Southern plantations, and Salem Witch Trials, Gates unravels deep secrets and uncovers lost ancestors—compelling each of his guests to rethink their identities.

  • Hold the Laughter: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Hold the Laughter

    S10 E5 - 52m 11s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uncovers the roots of comedians Bob Odenkirk and Iliza Shlesinger—two very funny people whose family trees brim with stories that are more drama than comedy. Moving from Napoleonic France to Nazi-occupied Poland to the castle of a European duke, Gates introduces them to relatives who took great risks and overcame enormous hardships for the sake of their families.

  • Buried Secrets: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Buried Secrets

    S10 E4 - 52m 11s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps singer Sammy Hagar and actor Ed O’Neill uncover their hidden roots, revealing scandals and secrets that their ancestors went to great lengths to conceal. Traveling from criminal underworlds to Civil War battlefields, they explore the meaning of family bonds—meet heroes and villains—and celebrate the virtue of accepting one’s relatives, whoever they may be.

  • Fathers and Sons: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Fathers and Sons

    S10 E3 - 52m 11s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. meets actors LeVar Burton and Wes Studi—two men who grew up without their fathers, haunted by questions about entire branches of their family trees. With only a handful of clues to guide him, Gates uncovers stories his guests have long wanted to hear, introducing them to ancestors whose names they’ve never known-—and revealing their connections to key moments in history.

  • Forever Young: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Forever Young

    S10 E2 - 52m 11s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. meets Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser—two actors who found fame when they were young and lived much of their lives in the limelight, cut off from their roots. Moving from war-torn Europe to the coal mines of Pennsylvania to the Amazon jungle, each discovers the places their ancestors once called home—providing new insight into what made them who they are today.

  • Born to Sing: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Born to Sing

    S10 E1 - 52m 12s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of singers Alanis Morissette and Ciara—using DNA analysis and genealogical detective work to trace lineages that run from shtetls in Eastern Europe to Jazz Age Harlem. Along the way, Alanis and Ciara reimagine their families and meet the people who laid the groundwork for their success—including one ancestor who was at the center of a song.

Extras + Features

  • Mean Streets Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Mean Streets Preview

    S10 E8 - 32s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. maps the family trees of comedian Tracy Morgan & actor Anthony Ramos—two native New Yorkers whose roots stretch to surprising places and contain inspiring stories. Moving from the Canary Islands to battlefields in Europe & Asia to slave plantations in Virginia, long-lost records reveal ancestors who laid the groundwork for Tracy and Anthony’s success by fighting to survive.

  • Tracy Morgan Discovers a Pre-Civil War Freed Ancestor: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Tracy Morgan Discovers a Pre-Civil War Freed Ancestor

    S10 E8 - 5m 46s

    Surprisingly, Tracy Morgan's third great-grandfather, Wiley Warton, was listed by name in the 1860 census, indicating he was free before the Civil War -- a rare occurrence for black individuals at that time.

  • Dionne Warwick Reflects on the Ugly Legacy Slavery: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Dionne Warwick Reflects on the Ugly Legacy Slavery

    S10 E7 - 5m 44s

    Dionne Warwick discovers her ancestors in the 1870 census in Jackson County, Florida, likely born into slavery. Researchers found a white farmer, Joseph Russ, who owned 31 enslaved people in the 1860s, potentially including Dionne's ancestors. She reflects on the impact of seeing her ancestor listed anonymously in the slave schedule and acknowledges the undeniable connection to slavery.

  • Danielle Brooks Learns the Dollar Value of Her Ancestors: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Danielle Brooks Learns the Dollar Value of Her Ancestors

    S10 E7 - 6m 42s

    Danielle Brooks takes a genealogical journey to Lowndes County, Mississippi, tracing her fifth-greatgrandparents, Fraser and Susan Sharp, back to the 1850s. Finding Your Roots uncovered records indicating their status as enslaved individuals on a plantation owned by Elisha Sharp, with Fraser valued at $1350 and Susan and their three youngest children at $2000.

  • The Brick Wall Falls Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Brick Wall Falls Preview

    S10 E7 - 32s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps musician Dionne Warwick & actor Danielle Brooks break down barriers imposed by the slave system to learn the names of their ancestors who endured unimaginable ordeals—but emerged to forge families that thrived.

  • Dionne Warwick Explores the Roots of Her Singing Grandfather: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Dionne Warwick Explores the Roots of Her Singing Grandfather

    S10 E7 - 6m 44s

    Dionne Warwick explores her family history, focusing on her maternal grandfather, Nitch (Nicholas Drinkard). Through research, she discovers that Nitch's grandparents, John Drinkard Sr. and his wife, owned land in Georgia in the early 1900s, which was uncommon for African-Americans at the time. The Drinkards likely farmed cotton before relocating to Newark, New Jersey, by the late 1920s.

  • Jesse Williams Discovers the Story of An Enslaved Ancestor: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Jesse Williams Discovers the Story of An Enslaved Ancestor

    S10 E6 - 2m 57s

    Jesse learns about his ancestor, July Hadley's life as an enslaved individual, tracing connections to Samuel Hadley's estate and the cultivation of cotton. Despite geographical proximity to ancestral lands, the emotional impact of visiting evokes a profound sense of connection and reflection.

  • Jesse Williams Learns About His Swedish Great Grandmother: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Jesse Williams Learns About His Swedish Great Grandmother

    S10 E6 - 5m 31s

    Jesse Williams learns about his great grandmother, Inge, who left her small farming parish in Sweden to study at the Royal Music Academy in Stockholm in 1871 -- a significant move for a young woman at that time.

  • Sunny Hostin Explores Her Puerto Rican Roots: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Sunny Hostin Explores Her Puerto Rican Roots

    S10 E6 - 2m 36s

    Through investigative efforts, Sunny Hostin's ancestral lineage was traced back three generations to Fermín Beza, Sunny's third great-grandfather, from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

  • Far and Away Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Far and Away Preview

    S10 E6 - 32s

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the extraordinarily diverse roots of journalist Sunny Hostin and actor Jesse Williams—telling long-lost stories of African and European ancestry that compel his guests to rethink their own identities.

  • Sunny Hostin Learns About Her Grandmother's Missing Father: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Sunny Hostin Learns About Her Grandmother's Missing Father

    S10 E6 - 6m 4s

    A 1940 census, reveals that Sonny Hostin's grandmother, Mary's father was absent from her parental home. Mary's father, Robert Cummings, left the family around 1937. This absence likely impacted Mary, who was close to her mother but didn't discuss her father much.

Schedule

  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Born to Sing: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Born to Sing

    Tuesday
    Apr 23

    1 Hour

    Singers Ciara and Alanis Morissette examine their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Tuesday
    Apr 23

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Tuesday
    Apr 23

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Wednesday
    Apr 24

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Wednesday
    Apr 24

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Wednesday
    Apr 24

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Wednesday
    Apr 24

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Saturday
    Apr 27

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Sunday
    Apr 28

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Sunday
    Apr 28

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Sunday
    Apr 28

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Monday
    Apr 29

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Monday
    Apr 29

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Monday
    Apr 29

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Forever Young: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Forever Young

    Tuesday
    Apr 30

    1 Hour

    Actors Valerie Bertinelli and Brendan Fraser explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Fathers and Sons: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Fathers and Sons

    Tuesday
    Apr 30

    1 Hour

    Actors LeVar Burton and Wes Studi, two men who grew up without their fathers, explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Fathers and Sons: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Fathers and Sons

    Tuesday
    Apr 30

    1 Hour

    Actors LeVar Burton and Wes Studi, two men who grew up without their fathers, explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Fathers and Sons: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Fathers and Sons

    Wednesday
    May 1

    1 Hour

    Actors LeVar Burton and Wes Studi, two men who grew up without their fathers, explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Fathers and Sons: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Fathers and Sons

    Wednesday
    May 1

    1 Hour

    Actors LeVar Burton and Wes Studi, two men who grew up without their fathers, explore their family histories.
  • Image
    Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Fathers and Sons: TVSS: Iconic

    Finding Your Roots

    Fathers and Sons

    Wednesday
    May 1

    1 Hour

    Actors LeVar Burton and Wes Studi, two men who grew up without their fathers, explore their family histories.

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