Sunday, November 23, 2014

Don't Miss the Special DNA-Themed Episode of "Finding Your Roots" on Tuesday!

This upcoming Tuesday is the last episode of season two of "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr."  Fortunately, for all of us genetic genealogy enthusiasts, the theme for this episode is DNA! I will be making an appearance on the show to discuss the genetic genealogy of the guests, Jessica Alba and Deval Patrick, as well as that of Dr. Gates. (I'm not too happy to be appearing right after/before gorgeous Jessica Alba!)

Don't forget to check your local PBS listings for Tuesday night and set your DVR if you can't watch. Even with these wonderful guests and Dr. Gates at his best, genetic genealogy is the star of the show this time! Let's make sure this episode gets top ratings to show how popular genetic genealogy really is and that the audience wants to see it! 

That's me on set with Dr. Gates and his family tree

I just found a clip from the upcoming episode here.

If you have missed any of my behind-the-scenes articles for the PBS site discussing the genetic genealogy research from the show in more detail, you can find the links below.

Behind the Scenes of Episode Four
"Mitochondrial DNA or “mtDNA” is the type of DNA that is passed directly from a mother to her children. Since only females pass it on, it is an unbroken chain connecting us to our matrilineal ancestors stretching back through time. No matter how far back you go, you only have one direct maternal ancestor in each generation and she is the one from whom you inherited your mtDNA." 

Read more... 

Behind the Scenes of Episode Five
"Many have told me that last week’s episode featuring the three chefs was their favorite yet. Although it is impossible for me to choose which episode I have enjoyed the most since so much work was invested in each one, the research that I did on Tom Colicchio’s Italian family tree turned out to be one of my favorite cases of the season."


Behind the Scenes of Episode Six
"Last week’s episode focused on the roots of Nas, Valerie Jarrett and Angela Bassett and their connection to slavery. Most of the DNA section was devoted to revealing their admixture and, for Nas and Angela, identifying specific ancestral origins in Africa. While this can be deeply meaningful, unfortunately, taking the next step is rarely possible for African Americans."

Read more..

Behind the Scenes of Episode Seven
"The episode that aired last week with Carole King, Alan Dershowitz and Tony Kushner did not include any DNA research, but that doesn’t mean that I hesitated to delve into their genetic genealogy. In fact, a short segment featuring Alan is included in the special DNA-themed last episode scheduled to air on November 25."


Behind the Scenes of Episode Eight
"Sometimes no matter how hard I try, with so little time to research, I just can’t come up with a good DNA-related story angle for certain guests. That is pretty much the case for last week’s episode. This typically happens when the DNA supports the genealogical research well and there are no real surprises or mysteries to explore. This isn’t entirely unexpected for people who have primarily British and/or Colonial roots like Sting and Sally Field where there is a very good genealogical paper trail to follow."


If you missed any of the episodes, they can be viewed here

We are already deep into research for Season Three, so don't worry, we will be back before you know it!


  1. Cece, you are gorgeous too. It doesn't matter who is appearing right after or before you.

    1. Awww...thanks, Red! She is so young and perfect though!

  2. This is terrific! Thank you so much CeCe for posting links to past episodes!

  3. Thanks CeCe! I have to rely on your articles as we have no PBS here not even the trailers ("We're sorry, but this video is not available in your region due to right restrictions.")

  4. My Y DNA test revealed 3 other males who matched my male MILLS fellow. 2 of them were in Canada. 1 was in New Jersey.
    Our/my paper trail also took us back to New Jersey,
    but different counties. Basically never thought to search those counties, nothing really indicated a connection. at the time.
    Now years later, have a sort of circle of family that begins in New York, to Connecticut to New Jersey, 1 branch goes to North Carolina, Virginia and then Kentucky.
    Another branch goes to Pennsylvania and then onto Northwest Territory and on from there.
    Another at least by DNA matches, to us, but has no paper trail that links us together. But some have it that his branch also came from Pennsylvania to Northwest Territory,now Ohio, and then to Indiana. That branch goes on from there to the four points of the compass.
    Each branch in turn does inter marry with those surname families back in New Jersey etc. circle of family.

    That is, at least by what all every one has posted/shared of their paper trails.

    Have not been able to verify each and every item as do not always have enough time to do so.
    When have question of whether or not the allied family may be related, do try to verify then.

    By now, are 6 other Y DNA kits that match to my MILLS fellow, just not all the paper trails connect. (Since 2004)

  5. Sadly 'We're sorry, but this video is not available in your region due to right restrictions.'

    You say 'I'm not too happy to be appearing right after/before gorgeous Jessica Alba!'. I've never heard of Jessica Alba and no doubt she is very lovely but does she have brains and character as well as her alleged looks? Has she given as much to the world as you? She may well have a following locally in the USA but yours extends across the world. Perhaps *she* should be happy appearing with *you*...

    1. Thanks so much, Tom!

      Hopefully, it will soon appear on YouTube and you will be able to see it.

  6. Jessica Alba may be beautiful and young, but you are beautiful and brilliant, and brilliant lasts forever!

    I'd love to see you and Dr. Gates do an episode on genetics and adoption, with people like Edward Albee, Francis McDormand, Jamie Foxx, Faith Hill, D.M.C. etc. As a closed record, adult adoptee I watch all of these shows with a combination of rapt attention and jealousy and would love to see an adoptee learn their genetic identity.

    1. JLW, I would LOVE that too. We have certainly discussed doing an adoption episode, but it appears to be somewhat difficult to find adopted celebrities who haven't already discovered their biological heritage. I believe some of those on your list have even been invited. (Are all of those people adopted?) I will revisit the subject with the producers.

      Thank you for your kind words!

    2. That's great! Yes, the names above have all been adopted and there are many more:
      Kristen Chenowith, Michael Bay, Greg Louganis, Ray Liotta etc.
      I also wonder if all of the young women from China, without birth records, won't one day want to know where they came from and will only be able to do this with genetic information, like the work that has been done to retrace the origins of African Americans on the show.