Here’s When You Can Watch Season 5 of “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.”

By Diane Haddad

Finding Your Roots

PBS has announced the premiere date for season five of the genealogy series “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

It’ll be Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019.

In “Finding Your Roots,” historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., presents well-known Americans with their family histories in all their fascinating complexity and diversity.

“I believe that the more each of us understands about where we came from, about what our ancestors experienced, and how those experiences have shaped us, whether we knew about them or not, the more richly we can live our lives,” Gates says.


Guests You’ll See on Finding Your Roots Season Five

Season five guests include actors, political figures, journalists, artists, authors, TV hosts and comedians:

  • Academy Award winning actor Marisa Tomei
  • Emmy and Golden Globe Award winners Felicity Huffman, Laura Linney and S. Epatha Merkerson
  • actors Michael K. Williams, Andy Samberg, Chloe Sevigny and Kal Penn
  • author George R.R. Martin
  • journalists Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry, Joe Madison and Lisa Ling
  • author and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg
  • TV hosts Seth Meyers and Michael Strahan
  • artists Marina Abramovic and Kehinde Wiley
  • politicians Marco Rubio, Tulsi Gabbard and Paul Ryan
  • Academy Award-winning filmmakers Alejandro Innaritu and Michael Moore
  • comedians Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman.

Researchers use both traditional genealogical records like censuses and court documents, as well as DNA testing. Genetic genealogist and DNA Detectives founder CeCe Moore serves as the show’s DNA analyst.


What’s in Store for Season Five

Highlights include a search for Andy Samberg’s biological grandparents and the solution to a mystery that has plagued Ann Curry’s family for her entire life. We’ll also see revelations that might strike a chord in this era of “Resistance Genealogy.”

As reported in the Journal Sentinel, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s DNA test showed he’s 3 percent Ashkenazi Jewish. (That’s roughly the equivalent of one Jewish third-great-grandparent.) “You could have knocked him over with a feather,” Gates says. He adds that this ethnicity likely came from Ryan’s mother’s German line, which the show’s researchers traced to Ryan’s 10th-great-grandfather, born in 1531.

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Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.


Gates also dropped hints about the ancestry of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, whose fifth-great-grandparents were born in Italy and seventh-great-grandparents in the Canary Islands. “There was a lot going on politically and in terms of immigration for him.”

“Finding Your Roots” season five airs in 10 episodes starting Tuesday, Jan. 8, on PBS. The final episode shares Gates’ personal DNA story and how DNA science and history can inspire young students.