PBS show ‘Finding Your Roots’ reveals DNA ties for Derek Jeter, Ciara, Whoopi Goldberg and more

For 10 seasons, the show “Finding Your Roots” has revealed shocking DNA connections among Black celebrities.

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PBS Series Finding Your Roots helps Derek Jeter, CIara, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Gonzalez and more discover family ties. (Photos: Getty Images)

There has always been a deep connection among Black people. In addition to shared cultural values and norms, the acclaimed PBS series “Finding Your Roots” has unveiled yet another potential explanation for the innate camaraderie that can exist between Black people: genealogy. 

This week, the PBS show, which has delivered quite a few surprising DNA connections over the years, revealed new and unexpected familial ties between stars in the entertainment industry and athletes. On Tuesday, singer Ciara shared an Instagram video in which she discovered she and former baseball shortstop Derek Jeter are related. 

“The moment I learned @DerekJeter was my cousin! Crazy!,” Ciara wrote in the caption. “Thank you @drhenrylouisgates for such an incredible experience! This was a dream come true to learn about my family genealogy!” 

In the video, Dr. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, historian and host of “Finding Your Roots,” explained, “Ladies and gentlemen, [Ciara] is looking at former New York Yankees Derek Jeter. Ciara and Derek share a long identical stretch of DNA on their 14th chromosome DNA, which we know Derek inherited from his mother.” 

Shocked by the news, Ciara was not the only star to be astounded by the show’s genealogical findings. Recently, Whoopi Goldberg discovered NFL star Tony Gonzalez is her cousin. While making an appearance on “The View,” Gates explained that he’d found new details about the EGOT winner’s genealogy almost 10 years after she appeared on his show, then called “African American Lives.” 

“On the first series, I did [several Black celebrities including] Whoopi, and we didn’t have the sophisticated tests that we now use for DNA at that time,” Gates shared. “You all know about DNA cousins; [well] you have a DNA cousin, dear. Tony Gonzalez is your DNA cousin. How’s that for a Christmas present?”

As her co-hosts joked about how attractive her long-lost cousin is, Goldberg was left speechless, only able to ask, “That’s my cousin!?” in response to the shocking news. 

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The long-running PBS series has played a part in many bombshell discoveries for celebrities. From comedian Tracy Morgan learning that rapper and close friend Nas is his cousin to Kerry Washington finding out the man who raised her is not her biological father, Gates has uncovered a number of familial secrets and connections. Other episodes revealed genealogical relations between RuPaul and Senator Cory Booker (D.- N.J.), Terry Crews and Billy Crudup, and more. 

With stars like Danielle Brooks, Jesse Williams, LeVar Burton and more scheduled to appear on the show’s 10th season, who knows what other discoveries will emerge as “Finding Your Roots” continues to shake family trees. 

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