The DNA behind the PBS show “Finding Your Roots”

On Tuesdays, I usually count down the hours until the latest episode of Finding Your Roots is on, but tonight we will be watching election returns while my DVR records the show. So you all know what I will do when my husband finally heads for bed …


It looks like tonight’s show will showcase the ancestry of a number of jewish celebrities. Since Ashkenazi research can be particularly difficult and the DNA very tricky due to that population’s endogamy, I am particularly interested to see what I can learn.


Cece Moore‘s latest blog entry at the PBS site was just posted. Each week she discusses some of the details of the DNA work she did for the previous show.

Her current post is called “Tracing Descent from a Slave Owner with DNA.” Needless to say I have read every single one of these behind-the-scenes descriptions which can be found at:

Those of you who do not get this show on your local station can watch via the PBS web site using this URL

Or IMDB describes each episode and has a button for purchasing the video via Amazon


7 thoughts on “The DNA behind the PBS show “Finding Your Roots”

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  1. Hi kitty
    This stuff used to interest me immensely..but both my families have done research, many years ago, and I have it in my possession, so my immediate thirst for this knowledge has been quenched.No doubt, today I will be able to find out soo much more, and I think it really is interesting to pursuit. I am gearing up for it!!
    What I really am not interested in, is my DNA background… I can guess…
    In the meantime you enjoy!
    I will let you know when I get involved..

  2. Oh thank you for posting this. I LOVE that show as well. I hope they don’t quit this show. I hated that Who Do You Think You Are stopped for a while then they came back and did a few more shows. I LOVE genealogy and love the history of families. I got the bug! In comparing those shows I can’t say I love one format better than the other. I love them both. 🙂 In last week’s show with Angela Bassett, I have Ingram’s in my family tree from that area and went back to see if it was MY family that had her family as slaves. But it was the other Ingram’s in that area that did. I have no idea if those two Ingram families are related. I haven’t done enough research. But how interesting! I feel for the black families that have face their ancestors being slaves and then trying to find them can be almost impossible. One question I have about DNA that far back though, can’t it be difficult to trace because of how far back it is?

    • I love both shows too. I even have a keyword genealogy set up on my DVR.

      Last night’s show was particularly meaningful to me as my grandfather was a German Jew who came to the USA in 1935 with his family. More about him on my family history site at

      Cece does a great job. She is pretty active in the local Carlsbad genealogy society DNA special interest group so if you are ever in that area try and catch a meeting

  3. I just started watching Finding Your Roots about a month ago, thanks to a new Roku internet streaming device connected to our TV. We cut the cable TV service almost five years ago, and just watched TV & movies with our Netflix HuluPlus, and Amazon Prime accounts via internet streaming through our Sony Blu-Ray DVD player. But the downside was the Sony DVD player didn’t allow us to watch current PBS shows – we watched Masterpiece/Mystery on a desktop computer in another room, but that was about it. I’m thrilled to be watching PBS programming on my TV again. Finding Your Roots is one of my new favorites.

  4. How can I get this test done ? My father died when I was 3 and a the most I was told my whole like that I am Armenian and mom is french and English. However, his BC says he was born in Lebanon and that was because HIS parents left to go to Lebanon when the 1918 extinction of my people happened. When I sent multiple emails to Armenia to find out my history and my genealogy they told me because of the holocaust that was going on then everything would of been destroyed. But it’s always been a whole in my heart to know where and who I came from. Pls help.

    • Rose –
      I know many an Armenian born in Lebanon now in the USA but they are not family historians and I know nothing about those records. Sorry. I would suggest the family tree DNA test for you as they have more foreigners and are currently on sale at $69. Click the link in the footer here. For paid genealogy help try the link to the Legacy Tree genealogists, also in the footer here.

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