28    Feb 20122 comments

Roots: Where it all began

In 1977, a television miniseries changed the face of genealogy forever, as the largest ever viewing audience - some 130 million viewers - in television history watched Alex Haley’s “Roots.”

I was among those millions - fascinated by the story of Haley’s ancestor Kunta Kinte and his descendants - who saw it 35 years ago.

According to Haley's research, Kunta Kinte was an African from Jufferee in Gambia. Haley's family history reported that he was sold into slavery in a town called "Naplis."

His research found a slave ship, the Lord Ligonier, which saled from Gambia River on July 5, 1767, with 140 captured Gambians. The ship arrived in Annapolis, Maryland on September 29, 1767 - only 98 Gambians survived. Haley believed one survivor was Kunta Kinte, age 17. According to an advertisement in the Maryland Gazette, the Africans were sold into slavery on October 7.

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