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Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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On 1/23/2019 at 9:10 AM, sempervivum said:

Yes, Christiane's maternal (English) roots and Ann Curry's were kind of similar; maybe I'm also confused, but didn't both of them have ancestors with the surname 'Hill'?

I have never heard of Lisa Ling; she's very, very pretty. And her grandma was awesome- what are the odds of a single woman with 2 tiny kids managing to escape the horror of China at that time?!

I noticed the Hill name in both trees, too. But it's a pretty common name.

Lisa Ling's grandma's story sounds Like "Joy Luck Club." If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend them both.

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On 1/23/2019 at 11:10 AM, sempervivum said:

I have never heard of Lisa Ling

In the 1990s, starting when she was 18, Lisa Ling was a reporter for Channel One, a current world events show for middle and high schools, including a girls high school where I was librarian. The students loved her because she was their age and I think also because she was from the area (Sacramento and Carmichael). I next heard about her in 2009 when her young reporter sister was briefly imprisoned in North Korea. (en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Ling)

Editing to add:
The Wikipedia article linked in this post mentions that Lisa Ling was diagnosed as being dyslexic.
I had not read that and was not aware of that when I posted this earlier:

On 1/24/2019 at 6:37 AM, shapeshifter said:

I loved the story of Lisa Ling's ancestor, who initially couldn't pass a written exam to advance in government, later saving a town from flooding by the Yellow River using what was most expedient (e.g., old clothes from a resale store), and then gaining recognition and asking for his reward to be "help" in passing the test—not unlike when famous people in the U.S. get honorary degrees from colleges. I wondered if he was dyslexic, and if the same quirk in his way of interpreting what he saw was what gave him the insight to save the town—and also to take as his reward something of real value.

Edited by shapeshifter · Reason: Nouns are better than pronouns
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Lisa Ling has had a couple of TV shows, most recently on CNN. I like her. She's very non judgmental and open with her subjects, at least some of whom could be considered, well, odd. She's always so respectful and even handed. 

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I like Marisa Tomei, but I cringed a bit every time she said or acted like she knew nothing about her genealogy when in fact she'd been the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?  It was a few years back, though, so I can't remember if that show mainly explored a line that wasn't discussed on FYR.  Well, the DNA reveal was great, though, but since her ancestry was supposedly just under 70% Italian, what was the other 30% composed of?  I didn't want to squint at the screen to look at the list, but maybe that was the source of commonality.

Edited by One Imaginary Girl · Reason: Forgot important DNA info!
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2 hours ago, One Imaginary Girl said:

I like Marisa Tomei, but I cringed a bit every time she said or acted like she knew nothing about her genealogy when in fact she'd been the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? 

Yep -- I said this exact thing to my mom a few minutes in, lol. Found this ep a little on the boring side, especially by comparison to several others this season -- frankly, I was most intrigued by the idea that Marisa and Julianne Moore went to school together (and that they were related, though Ms. Moore has zero Italian heritage, so it must have been Marisa's other 30% -- could've been interesting).

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I like Marisa Tomei, but I cringed a bit every time she said or acted like she knew nothing about her genealogy when in fact she'd been the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

I didn't know she was on WDYTYA but I found her nervous laugh a bit annoying. I also wanted to know how exactly she was related to Julianne Moore. There's a way to discover who the common ancestor is thru the DNA testing. Where is Jenn Utley when you need her?

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I'm not a fan of the three celebrities per episode.  I feel like they don't do justice to each person.  For example,  HLG said that Sheryl Sandberg's ancestors left Russia for economic reasons.  (As an aside, My family left at the same time and it was because of the pogroms.)  Then Sheryl said that she knew that they had left because of antisemitism.  I assume that HLG had said something about that and it was edited out, but Sheryl's comment was left in.

 

I thought the two of the three people featured last night were very articulate and insightful.  I loved Kal Penn's comment, after seeing the list of his ancestors, about feeling more American.

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This episode seemed to me to be an attempt to subtly sow seeds of good will towards today's immigrants.

 

I feel like crying when I think of my father's family experiencing a crossing like Sheryl Sandberg's, who, as it was described, got on the boat with clean children and arrived with them filthy and covered with "vermin." All my grandmother told me was that there were no diapers on the ship. And my grandmother was a bitter woman who my family distanced themselves from, much like Sheryl's did from her ancestor who had raised his orphaned siblings. Kind of heartbreaking.

 

 

2 hours ago, tljgator said:

. . . I was most intrigued by the idea that Marisa and Julianne Moore went to school together (and that they were related, though Ms. Moore has zero Italian heritage, so it must have been Marisa's other 30% -- could've been interesting).

This seemed like a possible untold story involving a milkman-type character like the previous episode—although not necessarily: Looking at the geography of her non-Italian ancestry, there could just as easily been someone who migrated to or from Italy to one of those regions and who was closely related to Julianne Moore's ancestor—maybe? Here's the pie chart of Marissa's admixture:

image.jpeg

Edited by shapeshifter
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I enjoyed Sandberg's & Penn's stories. Penn should have known more about his grandpa--that was history!

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On 1/30/2019 at 12:31 PM, tljgator said:

 (and that they were related, though Ms. Moore has zero Italian heritage, so it must have been Marisa's other 30% -- could've been interesting).

 

23 hours ago, iMonrey said:

 I also wanted to know how exactly she was related to Julianne Moore. There's a way to discover who the common ancestor is thru the DNA testing. Where is Jenn Utley when you need her?

I was wondering if the connection to Julianne Moore was through Marisa's great-great(?)-grandfather who was a foundling. They said that all of Marisa's KNOWN ancestors were Italian, but maybe the mother who gave away the baby was knocked up by someone who was visiting Italy (and related to one of Julianne's ancestors?)

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On 1/30/2019 at 6:46 AM, One Imaginary Girl said:

I like Marisa Tomei, but I cringed a bit every time she said or acted like she knew nothing about her genealogy when in fact she'd been the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?  It was a few years back, though, so I can't remember if that show mainly explored a line that wasn't discussed on FYR.  Well, the DNA reveal was great, though, but since her ancestry was supposedly just under 70% Italian, what was the other 30% composed of?  I didn't want to squint at the screen to look at the list, but maybe that was the source of commonality.

Yeah, I said that, too. All I can remember about her WDYTYA appearance was some ancestor around 1900 or a little earlier who was involved in a killing -- either as the assailant or the victim. Can't remember. But it was a little more exciting than what we saw. I was thinking the only thing linking these three was their almost completely unmixed DNA (even though Marisa was only 70% Italian, her other "bits" were all closely related). Not too surprising.

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Charlemagne? Fuck me sideways I cannot get back earlier than mid 1800s & even then I don't know if it's correct. I did love the stories tho. The Jesuits Georgetown one was amazing.

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57 minutes ago, rhys said:

Charlemagne? Fuck me sideways I cannot get back earlier than mid 1800s & even then I don't know if it's correct. I did love the stories tho. The Jesuits Georgetown one was amazing.

I liked both of those stories.  I never really got Michael Strahan's appeal but now I do.  Great personality!

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We've seen Charlemagne and a couple of those very early kings before (I think Brooke Shields was one).  I think when you get back to certain people in the 1600s or so (and a lot of trees already searched go that far) they have already set out a track back to Charlemagne.  It wasn't a matter in this case of researching all through the 700s and 800s and 900s and 1000s &c &c for this individual.   But given the records available in those centuries, and we do have the Middle Ages in there too) it seems awfully unlikely to me that you can really believe it.  

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If you have European blood there is an extremely good chance you're related to Charlemagne the dude had 18 children and because of how far people have to go back it’s more than likely his family tree has crossed yours.

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If you are in the US and descend from certain early immigrants, their descent from royalty is well documented. One example is Thomas Dudley (~1577-1653) who was a governor of Massachusetts. 
Charlemagne is sometimes known as Chuck the Prolific.

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That episode was especially great.  Michael Strahan's family was so impressive.  The section on the Jesuits was just wrenching.  Ms. Merkerson nailed it when she said, "They came her to avoid persecution, but then they turned around and persecuted us?" (I don't think that's quite right).  It's great that Georgetown named the hall after her ancestor, but she's right - they are owed a lot more than that.

I wonder if any schools are using these programs to teach about slavery?  I think these episodes would make great discussions.

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Oh yes sing it. My cousin studied to become a jebbie (affectionate term for a jesuit). He didn't take final vows as he got married instead, ha! But I think this episode would have bothered him. He is aware that his clerical brothers have a sordid history, of course,but I don't know if he was aware of this mishegas.

Edited by rhys
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Georgetown is at least planning "to acknowledge and respond to its historical ties to the institution of slavery."  The university has established an archive of "materials relating to the Maryland Jesuits, Georgetown University, and slavery."

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Great that Mr. Stahan not only discovered that his first documented Texan ancestors (originally from Kentucky and Tennessee) not only survived slavery but became landowners themselves and even founded a town that still exists today! I'm sure he'll have fun going there and meeting up with relatives he never knew he had (and I wonder if any of those folks there had any idea HE was a relative?). Also, interesting that they discovered that his double-great grandmother may have had at least an affectionate bond with the European father of some of her children (considering that she did name their lastborn after him). 

Miss Merkerson's story was quite rivetting in that it had to be hard to discover that her Maryland ancestors had been sold and sent SO far away to Louisiana by the Jesuits to what must have been a rather different community ( many folks of both European and African descent in Louisiana STILL spoke French instead of English, cotton bolls are trickier to harvest than tobacco leaves,  it was quite swampy, humid and buggy compared to Maryland,etc.) And, yes to read in the documents JUST how harshly they treated her ancestors (or ANY slaves) was rather appalling- especially in trying to self-justify this. However; the fact that the Jesuits DID meticulously document WHO these people were, where they'd come from, where they sent them to and under what conditions DID provide a very rare  contemporary glimpse into the reality of slavery- and it's good that she got to meet with fellow descendants (and possible relatives) afterwards! 

Edited by Blergh · Reason: name correction
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13 hours ago, riverblue22 said:

liked both of those stories.  I never really got Michael Strahan's appeal but now I do.  Great personality!

Never watched him as an athlete or TV personality, but I'm sold now. Great story, but I wish we had seen him visiting Shankleville or whatever it was called, the way we saw Epatha in Louisiana with the Georgetown slave descendants.

I was not familiar with the Georgetown Jesuit slave holding story, and I'm (among other things) puzzled. Maryland isn't the deep south; it should have been possible to find non-slave field workers who could cope with the climate. I guess purchasing/upkeep of 282 slaves must have been more profitable than just hiring/paying 282 employees. But I'm not totally surprised; the Jesuits don't have a great reputation, except for academics.

 I wish they'd stop with the 'You're related to Charlemagne' thing- they've used this so many times, and it really means next to nothing.

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The first story for Strahan's paternal side was kind of flimsy and misleading. They kept showing a specific photograph of a group of slaves but it wasn't actually a picture of any of his ancestors, it was just used for reference. And there was a lot of "we can only speculate" with that story. They didn't even bother to show how the connection was made until later when they came back to his tree to look at his maternal side. Nor did they try to find out, as far as I can tell, how his ancestor managed to acquire property. The whole thing was more of a generic time capsule than anything personal.

The rest of the episode was better. I just think shows like this are sometimes careless about really connecting those dots for the audience because they're more interested in telling a story about history.

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Yes, in many cases I would like a lot more information. Hoping they did the detailed research even if they didn't put it all in the show.  I wish they would put it on the show's web site.

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I think the different levels of information was one of the things this episode was built around.  Most people descended from slaves find even less information than Strahan got.  The land & cash record was fortuitous; if this hadn't been found, HLG would have thrown his hands up earlier on that side of the family.  The white side had documentation.  On previous shows, often it was the will of the slave owner that provided the only information available because slaves's names didn't appear in any census.  S. Epatha got great information only because the Jesuit slave owners kept thorough records of all their human trafficking transactions. I liked the idea of descendents getting free tuition to Georgetown.

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3 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I just think shows like this are sometimes careless about really connecting those dots for the audience because they're more interested in telling a story about history.

When facts are unknown, Gates tends to push a narrative for the best/most moving possible answer, which is annoying.

It is certainly quite possible for freed slaves to have become wealthy on their own, but my first reaction in these cases is that their former owners deeded them a bit of land and/or money. We've seen that on other episodes when there were records of the transactions, but not finding them doesn't rule it out.

Strahan saying he was going to walk taller now is exactly the attitude I can't deal with; that somehow what his ancestors did (or did not do) has an impact on his life and personality. A person's parents or grandparents can of course inculcate traits such as hard work, thrift, ambition, etc. But those things aren't miraculously passed down in your DNA from people you never knew! And what about all the other great-great relatives who were financial failures, criminals and drunks? Sheesh. It's ridiculous and just bugs me. 

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As it would be difficult to find three people I would less like spending any amount of time watching I will be skipping next week.

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On 2/6/2019 at 8:49 PM, tljgator said:

S. Epatha whispered "...they have names," and then the tears flowed. *sniff*

My father's family was here from the 1600s and in the south since before the revolution so he has some history of slave holding in the family.  And that isn't something I'm proud of, but it isn't something that I found surprising to learn, nor is it something I lost a lot of sleep over. I can't take responsibility for the actions of my ancestors.  But I did find one of their wills once and in the bequests they had the slaves listed with all the other property, to my daughter Elizabeth I leave 500 pounds of bacon, my second best bed, and Ada and all of her descendants in perpetuity.  And it went on and on like that for every child and grand child.  And that really did hurt because seeing their names made it more real.  Seeing their names listed with household goods made it more real.  Seeing the phrase, and all of their descendants in perpetuity made it more real.   And I just wanted to say their names, to honor their names, to unite their names with their people but of course that last is relatively unlikely.   So that moment moved me too!  They had names.

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On 2/5/2019 at 9:18 PM, riverblue22 said:

I liked both of those stories.  I never really got Michael Strahan's appeal but now I do.  Great personality!

I was charmed by Strahan during chemo--which says something about the extent of his charisma.
And S. Epatha Merkerson has an equally arresting screen presence, although more dramatic in every sense of the word.
Combined with their backgrounds being heretofore unknown (HLGjr mentions that even 10 years ago the information would not have been knowable), great choices for an episode of FYR. Good call to just do two of them. This may be the best episode ever.

I loved Strahan saying about his slave ancestors, "I don't want to diminish what they went through by trying to put it in words." My ancestors endured different persecutions, but Strahan has a way of speaking in universally understood terms. 
I also loved to imagine Strahan telling his kids (as he says he will) the story of his ancestors who founded a town in the first generation that they were freed from slavery--because he is an excellent communicator and his words might inspire them.

I also loved HLGjr comforting S. Epatha Merkerson with the words that her enslaved ancestors who slept on the floor "endured so that you could thrive" and the way she seemed to take strength from that.

So, yeah, at least it was my favorite episode.

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On 2/5/2019 at 11:04 PM, Chippings said:

We've seen Charlemagne and a couple of those very early kings before

Tea Leoni, I think, was one. I don't quite get it, but it is kind of cool that it implies folks of various ethnicities and "races" are descended from this one king--it makes a nice demonstration of how related all human beings are--despite the atrocities we visit upon one another (which known sisters and brothers sometimes do too).

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On 2/6/2019 at 9:40 PM, palmaire said:

When facts are unknown, Gates tends to push a narrative for the best/most moving possible answer, which is annoying.

I read the above comments before I had an opportunity to watch the episode, and so I decided to watch to see whether HLGjr emphasized the most interesting narrative.
He was careful to frequently admit we don't know anything for sure.
However, WRT the discovery that Michael Strahan's black female ancestor named her youngest of 4 children "William" after the white neighbor who fathered them (all within 4 years!) meaning that "she didn't hate" (Gates' words) the white father, I have to disagree. He's right that the relationship was "complicated," and I don't think we can assume anything more than that unless some love letters or diaries turn up. 

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On 2/6/2019 at 9:40 PM, palmaire said:

A person's parents or grandparents can of course inculcate traits such as hard work, thrift, ambition, etc. But those things aren't miraculously passed down in your DNA from people you never knew!

True, but natural selection does play a part, and those whose ancestors survived conditions that many others did not might inherit characteristics of both mental and physical strength.

Edited by shapeshifter
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6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

However, WRT the discovery that Michael Strahan's black female ancestor named her youngest of 4 children "William" after the white neighbor who fathered them (all within 4 years!) meaning that "she didn't hate" (Gates' words) the white father, I have to disagree. He's right that the relationship was "complicated," and I don't think we can assume anything more than that unless some love letters or diaries turn up. 

This!!!!   I mean that may well be the case.  But she might have named the kid William to shame him.  She might have named the kid William because her father/brother/favorite uncle was also called William.  The relationship could have been literally anything and I am willing to allow for the possibility that she might have really loved him and vice versa but that isn't the only way that kid gets named William.

Edited by bybrandy
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20 hours ago, bybrandy said:

This!!!!   I mean that may well be the case.  But she might have named the kid William to shame him.  She might have named the kid William because her father/brother/favorite uncle was also called William.  The relationship could have been literally anything and I am willing to allow for the possibility that she might have really loved him and vice versa but that isn't the only way that kid gets named William.

Pretty much every family I have researched as part of my family tree had a William at some point. It would have been more compelling if the name was more unusual.

Which reminds of a personal anecdote - I was contacted last year by a DNA match that was somewhat close (in the 2nd cousin range). She told me that her grandfather was raised in an orphanage and they never knew much about his family background. She sent me a copy of his birth certificate that indicated he was "illegitimate" and his father's name was left blank. Because I have researched my family tree up and down as well as sideways, as soon as I saw the place and year on this birth certificate, I knew exactly how we were related. My grandfather had a loner brother named Walter who never married and even his obituary said he had no family. He lived in Lima, Ohio and was literally the only person in my family that ever lived there. This DNA match's grandfather was born in Lima, Ohio. And his name was Walter. I then verified all of our shared matches with the right lines of the family. So my grandfather's brother had indeed impregnated a woman out of wedlock. I will never know if he knew he had a son or if it was just a one night stand, but the fact that she named her son Walter after him seemed significant. The cool thing is that opened up a whole new line of the family for me that I never knew existed. I'm now Facebook friends with my newfound cousin (technically we are 2nd cousins, once removed), which is pretty cool.

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5 hours ago, Jadzia said:

Pretty much every family I have researched as part of my family tree had a William at some point. It would have been more compelling if the name was more unusual.

Which reminds of a personal anecdote - I was contacted last year by a DNA match that was somewhat close (in the 2nd cousin range). She told me that her grandfather was raised in an orphanage and they never knew much about his family background. She sent me a copy of his birth certificate that indicated he was "illegitimate" and his father's name was left blank. Because I have researched my family tree up and down as well as sideways, as soon as I saw the place and year on this birth certificate, I knew exactly how we were related. My grandfather had a loner brother named Walter who never married and even his obituary said he had no family. He lived in Lima, Ohio and was literally the only person in my family that ever lived there. This DNA match's grandfather was born in Lima, Ohio. And his name was Walter. I then verified all of our shared matches with the right lines of the family. So my grandfather's brother had indeed impregnated a woman out of wedlock. I will never know if he knew he had a son or if it was just a one night stand, but the fact that she named her son Walter after him seemed significant. The cool thing is that opened up a whole new line of the family for me that I never knew existed. I'm now Facebook friends with my newfound cousin (technically we are 2nd cousins, once removed), which is pretty cool.

That is a cool story, @Jadzia, and ties in with this discussion in a significant way.

I didn't question that Strahan's ancestor named her son William after his father, but I did question that it meant they were in love. It could have signified love, but also something more like resentment that they weren't married and that he didn't love her enough (or at all) to move somewhere where they could be married. Given Strahan's unquenchably sunny disposition, I think there's at least a 50-50 chance it was love (that they were loving people), but being of a more negative disposition myself (like my own grandmother) I can't help imagining all the not-true-love possibilities.

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'Random Politicians'- pretty predictable, the only unusual finding was Marco Rubio's 18th century slave owner relative in Cuba, and his sheepish 'Ugh, I was afraid of that' response. Paul Ryan's 3% Ashkenazi Jew result didn't surprise me too much; I'm all Western European and got a 2% A.J. result, too. 

Tulsi Gabbard has a great speaking voice, although she said absolutely nothing original or interesting.

I'm kind of tired of Gates' constant prompting of his guests to tell us 'how x___ makes you feel'. 

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I wish we could see ratings' information for this episode against others for this season.  Personally, I've chosen not to watch because as someone who is very politically aware, I detest all three of these politicians for varying reasons and have no interest in learning about their ancestry.  It would be interesting to know if ratings for this episode showed a reflection of this for other viewers.

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11 minutes ago, ProudMary said:

It would be interesting to know if ratings for this episode showed a reflection of this for other viewers.

For PBS viewers? I'd say so.  ;-)

I skipped it as well.

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As it would be difficult to find three people I would less like spending any amount of time watching I will be skipping next week.

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This one should have grabbed me but I found myself bored for some reason.

I was thinking the same thing as the first poster, but I ended up trying to watch the episode.   And to my surprise I found myself completely bored.  I kept switching away until I finally switched it off before I had even watched a half-hour.   The episodes are generally repetitive - either your family were slaves, or your family owned slaves.  Unless you are a die hard Gates or genealogy fan, audience engagement depends more on how engaging the guests are.  These guys weren't. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised.

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I usually "watch" with my mom (we text back and forth) ... but I had to tell her that I just couldn't endure this one, as I dislike all three and had zero toleration for the first few minutes (I tried, I really did!) as those who regularly vote against immigration go on and on about their families' immigration stories. My mom said that her PBS station didn't even air it (they aired a rerun instead); she only found the new one on a cable station from another city.

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I wish Gates had the nerve to say, 'you're right, it is an American story, don't you see it all replaying again right now?  do you feel any kinship to these most current immigrants?'

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 The episodes are generally repetitive - either your family were slaves, or your family owned slaves. 

Because the show is titled "Finding Your Roots" I would expect it to cover the African American experience, so it doesn't surprise me that slavery is the focus of so many stories. What surprises me, in fact, is when they have a guest who has no connection to slavery. I wonder if they had to branch out because they were running out of stories. Without that connection it's no different than Who Do You Think You Are.

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***MOD NOTE***

I know that it is hard to separate political subjects on this show from their politics, but please try to keep discussion to what was on the show and leave out personal political views.

Thank you.

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4 hours ago, ProudMary said:

Personally, I've chosen not to watch because as someone who is very politically aware, I detest all three of these politicians for varying reasons and have no interest in learning about their ancestry. 

That's funny, because I don't care/don't like/never heard of a fair number of the subjects on this show. I still think everyone's story can be interesting. Hell, I'd watch episodes about Stalin or Bill Cosby.

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This wasn't the most engaging episode ever, but I found plenty to be interested in.  I'm into genealogy in a big way, so I don't need fireworks.  I think this show is leaps and bounds better than Who Do You Think You Are?  (I will watch it if they have another season though.)  There is so much more substance and It seems to cover as much content for two or three people as WDYTYA has for one.  We don't have endless scenes of the person driving around and meeting researcher after researcher and then endless babbling of how Amazing! Crazy! it all is.

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6 hours ago, sempervivum said:

I'm kind of tired of Gates' constant prompting of his guests to tell us 'how x___ makes you feel'. 

Me too.  If they are feeling something they want to share, they will.

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On 2/5/2019 at 9:04 PM, Chippings said:

We've seen Charlemagne and a couple of those very early kings before (I think Brooke Shields was one).  I think when you get back to certain people in the 1600s or so (and a lot of trees already searched go that far) they have already set out a track back to Charlemagne.  It wasn't a matter in this case of researching all through the 700s and 800s and 900s and 1000s &c &c for this individual.   But given the records available in those centuries, and we do have the Middle Ages in there too) it seems awfully unlikely to me that you can really believe it.  

IIRC, Brooke Shields was descended from Louis XIV.

I watched the last episode, because, well, I'm addicted. But it was boring. And, damn, Paul Ryan is inarticulate. I always thought he was an empty suit, and he just proved it.

Marco was the only one who seemed relatively natural. It made me like him an infinitesimally  bit better.

My sister said Gabbard's DNA pie chart looked like a rainbow!

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I can't recall if it was here on FYR or if it was WDYTYA, but Queen Noor of Jordan--the former Lisa Halaby of New Jersey--was descended from Charlemagne. I remember thinking it was pretty cool that an American woman who became a Queen via marriage, turned out to have royal roots of her own.

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On February 13, 2019 at 3:34 PM, iMonrey said:

Because the show is titled "Finding Your Roots" I would expect it to cover the African American experience, so it doesn't surprise me that slavery is the focus of so many stories. What surprises me, in fact, is when they have a guest who has no connection to slavery. I wonder if they had to branch out because they were running out of stories. Without that connection it's no different than Who Do You Think You Are.

I assumed the branching out is because it's on PBS and they want to capture all possible audience-donors.

That said, my ancestors are of the "no connection to slavery" variety (until maybe they figure out how to trace roots back to the times when the pyramids of Egypt were built), but I will be on a fixed income starting in June and can only afford to live a maximum of 15 more years without donating more than, say, $5/yr. to PBS.

One of my adult children tends to donate to charities, but as my generation (Boomer) dies out, PBS-type organizations are going to have to "branch out" in many ways (including types of media) to stay monetarily viable.

OTOH, I think HLGjr also just wants to use the show to bridge cultural gaps, and broadening the viewer base seems like an essential part of that.

Edited by shapeshifter
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