‘Finding Your Roots’ delves into family histories

Today’s leading artists, politicians, activists, performers and journalists discover surprising ancestral stories while learning their family history in the fourth season of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” The 10 new episodes will begin airing on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m.

Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, continues exploring the mysteries, surprises and revelations hidden in the family trees of 28 of today’s cultural trailblazers.

“We are all connected to larger stories that have played a role in shaping who we are as people and as a nation,” said Gates. “The DNA technology of today opens the doors to discovering the past in new ways, allowing us to learn more about our history than ever before. This new season will continue to inspire people to find out more about their own personal family stories, and spark an interest among young people in genetics, anthropology, history, and the pursuit of science.”

Share your thoughts about the series, genealogy and share your own family history via social media, using the hashtag #FindingYourRoots on Facebook and Twitter.

Oct. 3

“The Impression” – Comedian Larry David and politician Bernie Sanders discover they have more in common than they thought, tracing their roots back to Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. Watch via Passport.

Oct. 10

“Unfamiliar Kin” – Actors Fred Armisen and Christopher Walken and musician Carly Simon each learn about a grandparent whose real identity and background had been a mystery to them. Watch via Passport.

Oct. 17

“Puritans and Pioneers” – Actors Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and William H. Macy trace their nonconformist ancestors through American conflicts – the Civil War and the American Revolution, all the way back to the Puritan establishment. Watch via Passport.

Oct. 24

“The Vanguard” – Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and author and activist Janet Mock see their basic assumptions about their families challenged, placing their ancestors – of all colors – into the greater context of black history. Watch via Passport.

Oct. 31

“Immigrant Nation” – Actors Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd and John Turturro, all with immigrant parents, gain greater understanding of the unique challenges their ancestors faced by way of prejudice and poverty at home and abroad. Watch via Passport.

Nov. 7

“Black Like Me” – Journalists Bryant Gumbel and Suzanne Malveaux and producer and writer Tonya Lewis-Lee discover a tapestry of the unexpected as they delve into their ancestry, revealing slaves and free people of color, Civil War legacies, and forgotten European origins. Watch via Passport.

Nov. 14

“Children of the Revolution” – Actor Lupita Nyong’o, NBA star Carmelo Anthony and political commentator Ana Navarro trace their African heritage, investigating the political choices of their fathers and discovering sometimes unexpected heritage. Watch online.

Nov. 21

“Relatives We Never Knew We Had” – Actors Tea Leoni and Gaby Hoffmann both have lives shaped by family mysteries and are introduced to the identities and life stories of their biological ancestors, thanks to DNA detective work. Watch online.

Dec. 5

“Family Reunions” – Uncover family mysteries about two legends of hip hop, Sean Combs and LL Cool J, through the use of DNA technology that reveals information that shakes their very foundations. Watch via Passport.

Dec. 12

“Southern Roots” – Three guests of disparate Southern backgrounds, DJ and producer Questlove, talk show host Dr. Phil and journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, find astonishing tales of bondage in their family histories. Watch online.

Dec. 19

“Funny Business” – Comedic guests Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari and Maya Rudolph take a serious look at their family trees, learning contrasting stories of assimilation, independence, hardship, and success all over the globe. Watch online.

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