Faces of America is a four-part series in which Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uses genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned Americans in an effort to understand what made the United States the place it is today.
The final episode, “Know Thyself” airs this Wednesday (March 3) on PBS. In this segment, DNA is used when the genealogical paper trails ends to give the participants an even deeper understanding of who they are and where they came from.
All of the participants who chose to learn about their genetics were analyzed using the 23andMe Ancestry Edition. Our scientists Joanna Mountain and Brenna Henn (who make some cameo appearances!) helped with the analysis of the participants’ mitochondrial and Y chromosome haplogroups, global origins and ancestry paintings.
In addition to learning about their ancestors, Faces of America guests who choose to participate in our new Relative Finder feature will join the thousands of other people who now have the ability to find living relatives based on their DNA.
If you haven’t been watching this series, there’s still time to catch up on what well-known Americans Elizabeth Alexander, Mario Batali, Stephen Colbert, Louise Erdrich, Malcolm Gladwell, Eva Longoria, Yo-Yo Ma, Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Meryl Streep and Kristi Yamaguchi have learned about their family histories. The first three episodes are all available online:
Episode 1: Our American Stories
Check your local listings for Faces of America here.