Finding Your Roots, Season 1

The Official Companion to the PBS Series

By Henry Louis Gates Jr.

346 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2614-7
    Published: September 2015
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1801-2
    Published: September 2014

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Who are we, and where do we come from? The fundamental drive to answer these questions is at the heart of Finding Your Roots, the companion book to the PBS documentary series seen by 30 million people. As Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. shows us, the tools of cutting-edge genomics and deep genealogical research now allow us to learn more about our roots, looking further back in time than ever before. Gates's investigations take on the personal and genealogical histories of more than twenty luminaries, including United States Congressman John Lewis, actor Robert Downey Jr., CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, President of the "Becoming American Institute" Linda Chavez, and comedian Margaret Cho. Interwoven with their moving stories of immigration, assimilation, strife, and success, Gates provides practical information for amateur genealogists just beginning archival research on their own families’ roots, and he details the advances in genetic research now available to the public. The result is an illuminating exploration of who we are, how we lost track of our roots, and how we can find them again.

About the Author

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
For more information about Henry Louis Gates Jr., visit the Author Page.


"Of interest to avid genealogy buffs."--Kirkus Reviews

"In telling these stories, Gates provides clues to readers of how they can conduct their own searches and the value to be found in immigration records and the 1870 census."--Booklist

"A painstakingly researched genealogical tapestry weaving a wonderful tribute to America as a very culturally rich melting pot."--Kam Williams

"An accessible and engaging book, Finding Your Roots is a veritable how-to guide for readers to explore their own past. Henry Louis Gates Jr. brings a wealth of genealogical research expertise to his interviews, which are witty, knowledgeable, and touching, made more so by the fact that Gates himself enters the stories, changing places with the interviewees to reveal something of his own personal experience. Throughout, Gates imbues the stories with a kind of intimacy that speaks to all of us in our personal journeys searching for our own histories. There’s nothing else quite like it."--Ira Berlin, University of Maryland

“Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I headed? These are all fundamental questions to which every human being, regardless of race, gender or background, wants answers. Professor Gates provides these answers to the people he profiles, but [Finding Your Roots] also encourage[s] viewers to explore their own family histories so they can know more about themselves.”--Cal Thomas, Washington Examiner

Multimedia & Links

Follow the author on Twitter @HenryLouisGates.