Finding Your Roots; March 25

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. returns to PBS with a new genealogy show called Finding Your Roots.  In each hour-long episode, Prof. Gates takes viewers along for a journey with a celebrity pair bound together by sometimes hidden links, treks through layers of ancestral history and life-altering discoveries. Professor Gates says “Finding Your Roots will be a moving, uplifting, entertaining and enlightening experience for viewers.” He also adds that “genealogy is more popular than ever, but it’s far more than a solitary pastime. It’s a fascinating endeavor that can drastically alter both history and the way we think of ourselves.”

The 10 part series premieres on most PBS stations Sunday evening with 2 episodes (check your local listings). The first episode will feature 2 sons of New Orleans; Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis, whose European immigrant ancestors made very different choices in the slave-era South. The second hour features Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, NJ and Rep. John Lewis (Dem.-GA). In future episodes of the series are: Kevin Bacon, Robert Downey, Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, John Legend, Condoleezza Rice, Barbara Walters, Kyra Sedgwick and other celebrated citizens.

For those of you in Rochester, during the first episode the Local History & Genealogy Division of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County will be featured in a promotional video that showcases the resources available for genealogists. The video will air each week during the show’s run, and a longer version will be posted on the WXXI-TV website after Sunday’s premier. The video was filmed earlier this month and includes interviews with patron Marlene Capes-Bettin and Historical Services Consultant Christine Ridarsky discussing library resources and how they helped Capes-Bettin trace her husband’s ancestors.