List of Finding Your Roots episodes

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Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a documentary television series hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. that premiered on March 25, 2012, on PBS. Eight seasons have been broadcast.

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110March 25, 2012 (2012-03-25)May 20, 2012 (2012-05-20)
210September 23, 2014 (2014-09-23)November 25, 2014 (2014-11-25)
310January 5, 2016 (2016-01-05)March 8, 2016 (2016-03-08)
410October 3, 2017 (2017-10-03)December 19, 2017 (2017-12-19)
510January 8, 2019 (2019-01-08)April 9, 2019 (2019-04-09)
616October 8, 2019 (2019-10-08)January 12, 2021 (2021-01-12)
710January 19, 2021 (2021-01-19)May 4, 2021 (2021-05-04)
810January 4, 2022 (2022-01-04)April 19, 2022 (2022-04-19)


Season 1 (2012)[edit]

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
11"Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr."March 25, 2012 (2012-03-25)
Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., fellow jazz musicians, grew up together in New Orleans.
22"John Lewis and Cory Booker"March 25, 2012 (2012-03-25)
Georgia Congressman John Lewis and then Newark Mayor Cory Booker meet each other before they explore their family heritages.
33"Barbara Walters and Geoffrey Canada"April 1, 2012 (2012-04-01)
Barbara Walters and Geoffrey Canada both discover their families' original surnames in the episode.
44"Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon"April 8, 2012 (2012-04-08)
Married couple Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon discover that they share distant ancestry.
55"Rick Warren, Angela Buchdahl and Yasir Qadhi"April 15, 2012 (2012-04-15)
All three guests, Rick Warren, Angela Warnick Buchdahl and Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, are religious leaders in their respective faiths.
66"Robert Downey Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal"April 22, 2012 (2012-04-22)
Robert Downey Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal both descend from European-American immigrants. Robert's father, Robert Downey Sr., acts as the episode's unofficial third guest, sitting with Henry as he reads his son's book of life.
77"Samuel L. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice and Ruth Simmons"April 29, 2012 (2012-04-29)
Samuel L. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice and Ruth Simmons trace their genealogical backgrounds into slavery and, with the help of DNA analysis, back to Africa.
88"Martha Stewart, Margaret Cho and Sanjay Gupta"May 6, 2012 (2012-05-06)
Martha Stewart, Margaret Cho and Sanjay Gupta are all the offspring of first or second generation immigrants.
99"John Legend and Wanda Sykes"May 13, 2012 (2012-05-13)
John Legend and Wanda Sykes[1] explore their rich and extensive free negro heritages. Margarett Cooper also makes an appearance in this episode, appearing only a year before her death in 2013.[2] In keeping with the theme of the episode, Cooper seeks help from Gates to answer long-held questions about her free heritage.
1010"Michelle Rodriguez, Adrian Grenier and Linda Chavez"May 20, 2012 (2012-05-20)
In this episode, Michelle Rodriguez, Adrian Grenier, and Linda Chavez explore their Hispanic roots.

Season 2 (2014)[edit]

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
111"In Search of our Fathers"September 23, 2014 (2014-09-23)
Celebrity guests: Stephen King, Gloria Reuben and Courtney B. Vance
122"Born Champions"September 30, 2014 (2014-09-30)
Celebrity guests: Derek Jeter, Billie Jean King and Rebecca Lobo
133"Our American Storytellers"October 7, 2014 (2014-10-07)
Celebrity guests: Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper, and Anna Deavere Smith
144"Roots of Freedom"October 14, 2014 (2014-10-14)
Celebrity guests: Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander and Ben Jealous. This episode has been withdrawn from all forms of distribution by PBS (see Ben Affleck controversy).
155"The Melting Pot"October 21, 2014 (2014-10-21)
Celebrity guests: Tom Colicchio, Aarón Sánchez and Ming Tsai
166"We Come From People"October 28, 2014 (2014-10-28)
Celebrity guests: Angela Bassett, Valerie Jarrett, and Nas
177"Our People, Our Traditions"November 4, 2014 (2014-11-04)
Celebrity guests: Alan Dershowitz, Carole King, and Tony Kushner
188"The British Invasion"November 11, 2014 (2014-11-11)
Celebrity guests: Deepak Chopra, Sally Field, and Sting
199"Ancient Roots"November 18, 2014 (2014-11-18)
Celebrity guests: Tina Fey, George Stephanopoulos, and David Sedaris
2010"Decoding Our Past Through DNA"November 25, 2014 (2014-11-25)
Celebrity guests: Jessica Alba and Governor Deval Patrick (also appearing are Anderson Cooper, Valerie Jarrett and more). Gates' relationship to Wilmore Mail is described.

Season 3 (2016)[edit]

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
211"The Stories We Tell"January 5, 2016 (2016-01-05)
Celebrity guests: Donna Brazile, Kara Walker and Ty Burrell
222"The Irish Factor"January 12, 2016 (2016-01-12)
Celebrity guests: Soledad O'Brien, Bill O’Reilly and Bill Maher
233"In Search of Freedom"January 19, 2016 (2016-01-19)
Celebrity guests: Maya Rudolph, Shonda Rhimes and Keenen Ivory Wayans
244"Tragedy + Time = Comedy"January 26, 2016 (2016-01-26)
Celebrity guests: Jimmy Kimmel, Norman Lear and Bill Hader
255"Visionaries"February 2, 2016 (2016-02-02)
Celebrity guests: Richard Branson, Maya Lin and Frank Gehry
266"War Stories"February 9, 2016 (2016-02-09)
Celebrity guests: Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore and John McCain
277"Family Reunions"February 16, 2016 (2016-02-16)
Celebrity guests: Sean Combs and LL Cool J
288"The Pioneers"February 23, 2016 (2016-02-23)
Celebrity guests: Neil Patrick Harris, Gloria Steinem and Sandra Cisneros
299"The Long Way Home"March 1, 2016 (2016-03-01)
Celebrity guests: Azar Nafisi, Lidia Bastianich and Julianna Margulies
3010"Maps of Stars"March 8, 2016 (2016-03-08)
Celebrity guests: Mia Farrow and Dustin Hoffman

Season 4 (2017)[edit]

Garrison Keillor was scheduled to appear in the season finale, "Funny Business". His segment was edited out of the episode after reports of inappropriate workplace behavior by him were made public.[3]

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
311"The Impression"October 3, 2017 (2017-10-03)
Comedy writer Larry David and Senator Bernie Sanders discover their Jewish-American heritage and find that they have more in common than they think.
Celebrity guests: Larry David and Bernie Sanders
322"Unfamiliar Kin"October 10, 2017 (2017-10-10)
Actor Christopher Walken discovers that he had relatives back in Germany who stayed when Adolf Hitler rose to power; singer Carly Simon discovers that she has ancestry that her grandmother kept hidden; and former Saturday Night Live cast member Fred Armisen finds out that his paternal grandfather was not all that he seemed.
Celebrity guests: Christopher Walken, Carly Simon and Fred Armisen
333"Puritans and Pioneers"October 17, 2017 (2017-10-17)
Celebrity guests: Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and William H. Macy
344"The Vanguard"October 24, 2017 (2017-10-24)
Celebrity guests: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ava DuVernay, and Janet Mock
355"Immigrant Nation"October 31, 2017 (2017-10-31)
Celebrity guests: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, and John Turturro
366"Black Like Me"November 7, 2017 (2017-11-07)
Celebrity guests: Bryant Gumbel, Tonya Lewis Lee, and Suzanne Malveaux
377"Children of the Revolution"November 14, 2017 (2017-11-14)
Celebrity guests: Lupita Nyong'o, Carmelo Anthony and Ana Navarro
388"Relatives We Never Knew We Had"November 21, 2017 (2017-11-21)
Celebrity guests: Tea Leoni and Gaby Hoffmann
399"Southern Roots"December 12, 2017 (2017-12-12)
Celebrity guests: Questlove, Dr. Phil and Charlayne Hunter-Gault
4010"Funny Business"December 19, 2017 (2017-12-19)
Celebrity guests: Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari[a]
  1. ^ Episode originally featured Garrison Keillor. His segment was replaced by Maya Rudolph's from season 3.

Season 5 (2019)[edit]

The series was renewed for a fifth season which premiered on January 8, 2019.[4][5]

No. in
Title [6]Original air date [6]
411"Grandparents and Other Strangers"January 8, 2019 (2019-01-08)
Former Saturday Night Live cast member (and star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine) Andy Samberg searches for his mother's long-lost parents; Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin stumbles upon a family secret about the man he called "Grandpa Louis". Celebrity guests: Andy Samberg and George R. R. Martin
422"Mystery Men"January 15, 2019 (2019-01-15)
Celebrity guests: Felicity Huffman and Michael K. Williams
433"Reporting on the Reporters"January 22, 2019 (2019-01-22)
Celebrity guests: Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry and Lisa Ling
444"Dreaming of a New Land"January 29, 2019 (2019-01-29)
Celebrity guests: Marisa Tomei, Sheryl Sandberg and Kal Penn
455"Freedom Tales"February 5, 2019 (2019-02-05)
Celebrity guests: S. Epatha Merkerson and Michael Strahan
466"Roots in Politics"February 12, 2019 (2019-02-12)
Celebrity guests: Tulsi Gabbard, Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan
477"No Laughing Matter"February 19, 2019 (2019-02-19)
Celebrity guests: Seth Meyers, Tig Notaro, and Sarah Silverman
488"Hard Times"February 26, 2019 (2019-02-26)
Celebrity guests: Laura Linney, Michael Moore and Chloë Sevigny
499"The Eye of the Beholder"April 2, 2019 (2019-04-02)
Celebrity guests: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Marina Abramović and Kehinde Wiley[7]
5010"All in the Family"April 9, 2019 (2019-04-09)
Celebrity guests: Ty Burrell and Joe Madison[7]

Season 6 (2019–2021)[edit]

On July 29, 2019, it was announced that the sixth season would premiere on October 8, 2019.[8] The season, which spanned from October 2019 to January 2021, explored the ancestry stories of Jon Batiste, Sterling K. Brown, RuPaul, Jeff Goldblum, Terry Gross, Anjelica Huston, Gayle King, Justina Machado, Marc Maron, Melissa McCarthy, Queen Latifah, Jordan Peele, Nancy Pelosi, Zac Posen, Issa Rae, Isabella Rossellini, Amy Ryan, Eric Stonestreet, Diane von Furstenberg, Sigourney Weaver, Jeffrey Wright and Sasheer Zamata.

No. in
Title [6]Original air date [6][8]
511"Hollywood Royalty"October 8, 2019 (2019-10-08)
Celebrity guests: Anjelica Huston, Mia Farrow and Isabella Rosselini (the segments with Mia Farrow originally aired in season 3)
522"Off The Farm"October 15, 2019 (2019-10-15)
Celebrity guests: Melissa McCarthy and Eric Stonestreet
533"Homecomings"January 7, 2020 (2020-01-07)
Celebrity guests: Sterling K. Brown, Sasheer Zamata and Jon Batiste
544"This Land is My Land"January 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Celebrity guests: Queen Latifah and Jeffrey Wright
555"Beyond The Pale"January 21, 2020 (2020-01-21)
Celebrity guests: Jeff Goldblum, Terry Gross and Marc Maron
566"Secrets and Lies"January 28, 2020 (2020-01-28)
Celebrity guests: Sigourney Weaver, Justina Machado and Amy Ryan
577"Science Pioneers"February 4, 2020 (2020-02-04)
Celebrity guests: Francis Collins, Shirley Ann Jackson and Harold E. Varmus
588"Slave Trade"February 11, 2020 (2020-02-11)
Celebrity guests: Ava DuVernay, S. Epatha Merkerson and Questlove (these profiles originally aired in seasons 4 and 5)
599"Italian Roots"February 18, 2020 (2020-02-18)
Celebrity guests: Jimmy Kimmel, Marisa Tomei and John Turturro (these profiles originally aired in seasons 3, 4 and 5)
6010"Criminal Kind"February 25, 2020 (2020-02-25)
Celebrity guests: Laura Linney, Lisa Ling and Soledad O'Brien (these profiles originally aired in seasons 3 and 5)
6111"Fashion's Roots"October 13, 2020 (2020-10-13)
Celebrity guests: Diane Von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez and RuPaul
6212"DNA Mysteries"October 20, 2020 (2020-10-20)
Celebrity guests: Téa Leoni and Joe Madison (these profiles originally aired in seasons 4 and 5)
6313"War Stories"November 10, 2020 (2020-11-10)
Celebrity guests: Kehinde Wiley, Julianne Moore and Bill Hader (these profiles originally aired in seasons 3 and 5)
6414"Flight"November 17, 2020 (2020-11-17)
Celebrity guests: Lupita Nyong'o, Lidia Bastianich and Scarlett Johansson (these profiles originally aired in seasons 3 and 4)
6515"Breaking Silences"January 5, 2021 (2021-01-05)
Celebrity guests: Gayle King, Jordan Peele and Issa Rae
6616"Coming to America"January 12, 2021 (2021-01-12)
Celebrity guests: Nancy Pelosi, Norah O'Donnell and Zac Posen

Season 7 (2021)[edit]

No. in
Title [6][9]Original air date [6][9]
671"To the Manor Born"January 19, 2021 (2021-01-19)
Celebrity guests: Glenn Close and John Waters
682"Against All Odds"January 26, 2021 (2021-01-26)
Celebrity guests: Andy Cohen and Nina Totenberg
693"No Irish Need Apply"February 2, 2021 (2021-02-02)
Celebrity guests: Jim Gaffigan and Jane Lynch
704"The Shirts on their Backs"February 9, 2021 (2021-02-09)
Celebrity guests: Tony Shalhoub and Christopher Meloni
715"Write My Name in the Book of Life"February 16, 2021 (2021-02-16)
Celebrity guests: Kasi Lemmons and Pharrell Williams
726"Country Roots"February 23, 2021 (2021-02-23)
Celebrity guests: Clint Black and Rosanne Cash
737"The New World"April 13, 2021 (2021-04-13)
Celebrity guests: John Lithgow and Maria Hinojosa
748"Anchored to the Past"April 20, 2021 (2021-04-20)
Celebrity guests: Gretchen Carlson and Don Lemon
759"On Broadway"April 27, 2021 (2021-04-27)
Celebrity guests: Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin
7610"Laughing on the Inside"May 4, 2021 (2021-05-04)
Celebrity guests: Lewis Black and Roy Wood Jr.

Season 8 (2022)[edit]

No. in
Title [6][10]Original air date
771"Hidden in the Genes"January 4, 2022 (2022-01-04)
Celebrity guests: Rebecca Hall and Lee Daniels
782"Activist Roots"January 11, 2022 (2022-01-11)
Celebrity guests: Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Anita Hill
793"Children of Exile"January 4, 2022 (2022-01-04)
Celebrity guests: David Chang and Raúl Esparza
804"Things We Don't Discuss"January 25, 2022 (2022-01-25)
Celebrity guests: Pamela Adlon and Kathryn Hahn
815"Mexican Roots"February 1, 2022 (2022-02-01)
Celebrity guests: Melissa Villaseñor and Mario Lopez
826"Fighters"February 8, 2022 (2022-02-08)
Celebrity guests: Terry Crews and Tony Danza
837"Incredible Journeys"February 15, 2022 (2022-02-15)
Celebrity guests: Lena Waithe and John Leguizamo
848"Songs of the Past"February 22, 2022 (2022-02-22)
Celebrity guests: Leslie Odom Jr. and Nathan Lane
859"Watchmen"April 12, 2022 (2022-04-12)
Celebrity guests: Regina King and Damon Lindelof
8610"Where Did We Come From?"April 19, 2022 (2022-04-19)
Celebrity guests: Amy Carlson, André Leon Talley and Erin Burnett


  1. ^ Leemarch, Felicia R. (March 19, 2012). "Family Tree's Startling Roots". The New York Times. New York City.
  2. ^ "Margarett Cooper Obituary". Boston. September 20, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Sefton, Dru. "PBS removes Keillor segment from upcoming 'Finding Your Roots'". Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  4. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (July 31, 2018). "House Speaker Paul Ryan Discovers Ashkenazi Jewish Heritage On 'Finding Your Roots' – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Haddad, Diane (August 1, 2018). "Here's When You Can Watch Season 5 of "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr."". Family Tree Magazine. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Finding Your Roots – Listings". The Futon Critic. January 24, 2021.
  7. ^ a b MacEntee, Thomas (January 30, 2019). "Finding Your Roots: Dreaming of a New Land Episode – Now Available For Online Viewing at PBS". Abundant Genealogy.
  8. ^ a b "Season Six of "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." Premieres Fall 2019 and Airs Through Fall 2020 on PBS, Beginning October 8". The Futon Critic. July 29, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Finding Your Roots TV Schedule". PBS. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  10. ^ "Finding Your Roots TV Schedule". PBS. Retrieved January 22, 2022.