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Finding Your Roots – Season 7
(Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Jane Lynch, Christopher Meloni, Tony Shalhoub, Gretchen Carlson, Maria Hinojosa, Don Lemon, Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, Roy Wood, Jr., Clint Black, et al / 3-Disc DVD / PG / 2021 / PBS)

Overview: 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 that trace throughout the United States and Canada; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Germany, Poland, Ireland, Russia and more.

DVD Verdict: Finding Your Roots continues the excellent PBS series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as host with research provided by professional genealogists as Prof Gates explores major personalities’ genealogies with them.

What this series demonstrates is that by visiting one’s ancestral roots’ locations, one can come to appreciate their ancestors even more than just using computers to do research.

And, it helps all of us recognize that we are not isolated but all one very large family that share many common ancestors, no matter what our heritage.

As we quickly learn, genetic genealogy has helped tremendously within this viewpoint and so I would not have known about it without Dr. Gates, Jr. or this incredible show.

African has been a real disappointment, but has the largest libraries of DNA, and has an incredible service and supportive website and resources.

The stories of these people, some of which I fully admit I had never heard of before, are so moving that you find yourself searching out their movie/TV history on IMDB.

This seventh season advances this journey with a special focus on the experiences of individual families across time, looking at how our ancestors have preserved and redefined cherished traditions as they’ve crossed the globe.

Indeed, the series (also written by Gates, Jr.) moves fluidly from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, uniting us all through emotional moments that enrich and enlighten - encouraging us to look at our world through a wider, more inclusive lens.

As the pages turn in each guest’s book of life, emotional revelations give way to complex questions about individual and collective identity.

Through Gates’ discerning touch, Finding Your Roots reveals what every family history shares — love, hardship, and triumph — human experiences that transcend borders and merge to form an American root system fortified by its diversity.

The season features actors Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Jane Lynch, Christopher Meloni, and Tony Shalhoub; Broadway stars Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin; filmmakers Kasi Lemmons and John Waters; talk show host and author Andy Cohen; journalists Gretchen Carlson, Maria Hinojosa, Don Lemon, and Nina Totenberg; comedians Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, and Roy Wood, Jr.; and musicians Clint Black, Rosanne Cash, and Pharrell Williams.

Episode 1: To the Manor Born:
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uncovers the lineages of actor Glenn Close and director John Waters, digging into centuries past to encounter a succession of bold forebears who found fortune amidst drama and rebellion.

From the gold rush fields of the Yukon to an enclave in Quaker Pennsylvania to British royalty, our guests meet a succession of relatives who prove to be as eccentric as they are.

Episode 2: Against All Odds:
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. introduces media personality Andy Cohen and radio journalist Nina Totenberg to Jewish ancestors who journeyed from Russia to America determined to overcome enormous odds in the face of oppression.

With little more than grit and talent, these individuals tested the limits of luck and familial love as they battled to survive and lay the groundwork for future generations.

Episode 3: No Irish Need Apply:
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. reveals the roots of actor Jane Lynch and comedian Jim Gaffigan, exploring the experience of their Irish ancestors on America’s shores — an experience characterized by sacrifice and religious persecution.

Weaving together stories of maids and coal miners, Gates traces the journeys of ancestors who arrived empty-handed from the Emerald Isle and flourished.

Just such a great show and taken together, their stories illuminate the vast kaleidoscope of culture, race, and experience that make up our nation and world. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

Official PBS Purchase Link