Finding Your Roots on Connections On-Demand Podcast

Finding Your Roots on Connections On-Demand Podcast

Guests from Season 7 of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Listen On-Demand to the Podcast: Connections with Evan Dawson to discussing the new season of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the challenges for African Americans in tracing their ancestry and the value they find in doing it. From 2/16/21.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Guests on Connections include Nick Sheedy, the lead genealogist on Finding Your Roots, who will highlight tools and stories for carrying out their ancestry studies with a focus on people of color. We will also explore the journeys of author Cheryl Wills' family genealogy study and the books she has written and WXXI host and producer, Teej Jenkins and her family history study. 

  • Nick Sheedy, Lead genealogist on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Nick has conducted extensive genealogical and historical research during the past 25 years.  Under the mentorship of his dear friend, the late Johni Cerny, he embarked on an eight-year crash course on how to become a world-class professional genealogist.  He became the Associate Genealogist of Finding Your Roots in 2012 and the Lead Genealogist in 2020.  While his work for Finding Your Roots and private clients has given him a depth and breadth of experience few other genealogists enjoy, Nick's specialties include African American and slave-era research, Quaker ancestry, fur trade and gold rush research, and frontier Americana.

  • Cheryl Wills, anchor for Spectrum NY 1, who researched her genealogy and wrote several books about what she learned, including EmmaThe Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills, Die Free - A Heroic Family Tale

  • Teej Jenkins, Rochester resident who researched her genealogy with her family. Teej is also a host of WXXI's Arts in Focus and a producer for WXXI-TV of such series for the City of Rochester as Cultural Expressions and What's Good Rochester.

See the overview Season 7 and get an Inside Look into themes and national guests on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 



Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. continues Tuesday, February 2, 2021 through February 23, 2021 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Season Seven episodes of Finding Your Roots will broadcast throughout Winter/Spring 2021 and will continue to feature exciting new guests who are game-changers in their fields, with family histories that illustrate the power and diversity of the human experience. Among them are actors Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Jane Lynch, Audra MacDonald, Christopher Meloni and Tony Shalhoub; acclaimed musicians Clint Black, Rosanne Cash and Pharrell Williams; groundbreaking directors Kasi Lemmons and John Waters; renowned journalists Gretchen Carlson and Nina Totenberg; hilarious comedians Lewis Black and Jim Gaffigan; popular late night personality Andy Cohen; and more to be announced.

In sharing their stories, Finding Your Roots, uses every tool available, from cutting-edge DNA research to old-school genealogical sleuthing, to reveal long-buried secrets. Spanning the globe, the series compiles family trees in these new episodes that trace throughout the United States and Canada; across Europe and Africa; and more. Episode to episode, audiences will meet guests’ ancestors who were businesspeople and bootleggers, war heroes and criminals, farmers and immigrants, the persecuted and the persevering under the most extraordinary circumstances. Together, the arc of each guest’s family personalizes history while emphasizing the human connections that unite everyone.

At the center of it all, guiding every discovery, is host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.  “As we enter our 7th season on PBS, Finding Your Roots continues to illuminate the past by unlocking the histories contained in our guests’ DNA,” says Henry Louis Gates, Jr. “Building on traditional paper trail research, genetic genealogy is a powerful tool for reconnecting branches on family trees eroded by silence and time. It also underscores one of the central themes of our series — that all of us, in one way or another, descend from immigrants whose travels across space are part of the larger human story of movement either through necessity, brutal force, escape, or the search for a better life.”

Assembling the extensive family trees and family narratives alongside Dr. Gates are DNA expert CeCe Moore (Founder, The DNA Detective and host of ABC’s THE GENETIC DETECTIVE), and new lead genealogist Nick Sheedy, who carries on the work of founding series genealogist Johni Cerny (Founder, Lineages), who unfortunately passed away in early 2020.

Funding provided by:

Corporate support for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Seven, is provided by Ancestry and Johnson & Johnson. Support is also provided by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, Candace King Weir, The Zegar Family Foundation, Lloyd Carney Foundation, and by The Inkwell Society and its members Felicia A. and Benjamin A. Horowitz Fund; Demond Martin; Sheryl Sandberg and Tom Bernthal; Jim and Susan Swartz; Anne Wojcicki; John and Jennifer Fisher; Fletcher and Benaree Wiley; Gwen and Peter Norton; and Darnell Armstrong and Nicole Commissiong. Major support is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.


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