I enjoy watching a show called “Finding Your Roots” on PBS. The host of the show is Henry Louis Gates Jr., and the basic premise is that they use genealogical research and DNA analyses to determine the family history of famous Americans. The celebrity guest is presented with a “book of life,” containing historic documents, pictures and other information obtained about their family history. It’s fascinating what they are able to find out, including ancestors like George Washington for John McCain, or a purported witch for Neil Patrick Harris, and they are sometimes even able to reunite long lost family members. A lady named Margo Lee Williams thoroughly traced her ancestry back and recounts the entire process in her book entitled “Miles Lassiter (circa 1777-1850) An Early African-American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home.” She began her research after learning about Alex Haley’s search for his ancestors and publication of his book “Roots.” She learned of and used resources like the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, the National Archives and Library of Congress in Washington D.C., all the way down to the Randolph County Library and Genealogical Society of Randolph County. Margo’s story is interesting in one sense because her mother had become estranged from her family in North Carolina, and Margo was able to reconnect with a variety of family members through her research.
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