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ancestry

The seventh season of PBS' "Finding Your Roots" with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. offers another series of compelling stories about well-known people tracing their family ancestries. The episode that airs tonight features music artist Pharrell Williams, who learns some painful truths about his ancestors. Like many African Americans, Williams was unable to find much information about his genealogy due to a dearth of records before emancipation.

This hour, we talk with the lead genealogist from "Finding Your Roots" about the new season, about the challenges African Americans face in tracing their ancestries, about resources available in the process, and we hear from two women who found their roots. Our guests:

  • Nick Sheedy, lead genealogist for “Finding Your Roots,” season seven 
  • Cheryl Wills, award-winning journalist, anchor for Spectrum News NY1, and author of “Emma,” “The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills,” “Emancipated: My Family’s Fight for Freedom,” and “Die Free – A Heroic Family Tale” 
  • Teej Jenkins, host of WXXI’s “Arts in Focus,” and producer for WXXI-TV 

For more information about "Finding Your Roots" and resources to help trace your ancestry, click here.

WATCH: Genetics, ancestry, and health

Sep 17, 2017

It began as a journey to self discovery. But it’s a quest that hasn’t quite come to an end. And international leader on race and genetics and health disparities, Rick Kittles, PhD, would likely say, that’s a good thing. So would the more than 150,000 people that have utilized the company he co-founded, African Ancestry, to help connect the DNA dots to their family tree. But the discoveries don’t stop there.

The RIT alum and Director of the Division of Population Genetics at the University of Arizona was in Rochester to keynote the 2017 Patients First Awards Luncheon for the Jordan Health Foundation. Before that keynote Rick Kittles joined this edition of Need to Know to talk genetics, ancestry and how it all connects to health. 

WATCH: Finding family roots; preserving stories of the Vietnam War

Sep 14, 2017

Everyone from Whoopi Goldberg to Samuel L. Jackson have sought to find the answer to one question” where am I from? But tracing DNA to find family roots has also resulted in significant discoveries. The connection between genetics, ancestry and health on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, why TV stars are traveling to Rochester to set the stage for a community conversation about veterans, their families and post-combat wounds.

And it’s the war some refer to as an “unfinished history.” Preserving stories of the Vietnam War to better understand its impact. That just before a special 10-part, 18-hour series on PBS.