Every season of Finding Your Roots has a standout episode. The new episode featuring Nathan Lane (The Producers, Birdcage) and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Rent, Hamilton) could very well be the best for Season 8, sharing moving family stories of these talented Broadway actors and the research techniques that helped connect the dots.
For Lane, viewers not only learned about his difficult childhood and rise to fame, but we also learned about his Irish roots on both sides, which he knew almost nothing about. 19th-century Irish documents such as property valuations and death records helped determine where they came from and why they emigrated to the United States.
Odom also knew little about his roots, but the show was able to uncover an unusual immigrant story, a South African steward who likely "jumped ship" at a port of call in New York City in the early 1920s. Other ancestors included immigrants from Barbados, enslaved people in the American South, and their "owners."
Check your local PBS affiliate for Finding Your Roots broadcast schedule, but you can also watch episode 8 for free online for this week only.