Publication: Deseret News
Date: March 24, 2012
Author: Tiffany Shill
PBS’s 10-part series “Finding Your Roots” illustrates how researchers never quite know what they’ll find when looking into family history, whether it’s in a public record, through the Internet or a story passed down from generations.
“Finding your Roots,” which premieres Sunday, March 25, at 7 p.m. on KUED, Ch. 7, is hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University. The series looks into the family history of notable names like Samuel L. Jackson, Barbara Walters and Robert Downey Jr. Gates invites all to look back in their family lines and find what it is that makes them who they are.
“Genealogy is more popular than ever, but it’s far more than a solitary pastime,” says Gates, whose previous projects include “African American Lives” (2006), “African American Lives 2” (2008) and “Faces of America” (2010). “It’s a fascinating endeavor that can drastically alter both history and the way we think of ourselves.”
The premiere episode features guest biographies of musician/actor Harry Connick Jr. and composer/band leader Branford Marsalis. The two are “dear friends” who grew up together in New Orleans with its rich musical heritage.
“It’s often been said that people in New Orleans don’t just tell history, they do history,” Gates says.
Gates uses “every tool available” to put together their “book of life.”
“Genealogists help stitch together the past, using the paper trail their ancestors left behind,” Gates says.
Their story “illuminates the complicated history of race in New Orleans,” he says. Read more »