For Immediate Release                                                                                    WXXI logo
Contact: Kristin Tutino, WXXI, (585) 258-0253



Rochester, New York (March 23, 2012) – Henry Louis Gates, Jr. returns to WXXI-TV/HD on Sunday, March 25 at 8 p.m. with Finding Your Roots —a new ten-part series, airing through May 20th, that explores the history of America  through the lives, family histories, and DNA of some of its most celebrated citizens. In collaboration with the series, WXXI has partnered with The Monroe County Library System (MCLS) and the Rochester Genealogical Society (RGS) to create a short video piece that spotlights the genealogical resources available, while sharing Rochester native Marlene Capes-Bettin’s journey to find her husband’s family roots. The video will be a lead in to the 8 p.m. March 25th premiere of Finding Your Roots on WXXI-TV/HD, and will air throughout the series’ ten-week broadcast schedule.  A longer version of the video piece will be posted at after the television premiere.

In the video piece Capes-Bettin shares stories about her 13-year genealogical journey. For her search, she primarily used the resources available through the Local History & Genealogy Division of the Central Library in the Rundel Memorial Building, and the assistance of volunteers from the Rochester Genealogical Society.  She explains why and how she got started and shares some of the interesting and surprising information she has found about family ancestors. Also included is an interview with Christine L. Ridarsky, City Historian and Historical Services Consultant, who talks about the resources available at the library and offers advice on how to begin a genealogical search.

The Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County boasts one of the premier collections of local historical and genealogical materials in western New York, while the Monroe County Library System’s smaller municipal member libraries such as the Ogden Farmers’ Library in Spencerport, the Henrietta Public Library, and the Penfield Public Library have built collections of materials relevant to their particular towns. MCLS libraries have developed collections and finding aids that make sense of the past in order to better serve local residents and visitors who come to find their roots. Volunteers from RGS are available designated Saturdays and evenings to assist with research in the collection and e-databases. To learn more, visit: (Click on Local History/Genealogy) Resources)
The Rochester Genealogical Society sponsors regular educational activities and encourages member-to-member support as well as community awareness of genealogy and family history. Its membership is comprised of people from all walks of life, who freely offer help or guidance to other members and the community. Some members also volunteer at the Local History & Genealogy Division of Central Library and local Family History Centers to assist researchers or serve as speakers on particular topics. To learn more, visit:

More about the PBS Series, Finding Your Roots:
In each hour-long episode of Finding Your Roots, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes viewers along for a  journey with one celebrity pair bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden link, treks through layers of ancestral history, uncovers secrets and surprises of their family trees and shares life-altering discoveries. Guest pairings include: New Orleans jazz masters and close friends Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis, whose European immigrant ancestors made very different choices in the slave-era South; spiritual leaders Angela Buchdahl, Yasir Qadhi and Rick Warren, whose ancestors’ paths to America were shaped by religious convictions; and education superstar Geoffrey Canada and media legend Barbara Walters, who both rediscover family histories long obscured by forgotten name changes.

Corporate funding for FINDING YOUR ROOTS with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is provided by The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, and American Express.


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