Family Reunions: Introduction (02:00)
This segment orients viewers to the ancestral search for Sean Combs and LL Cool J.
Sean Combs (03:11)
Combs is the CEO of a business empire; he recalls meeting Andre Harrell. Combs credits his father Melvin with his drive to succeed; his father died when he was two. Combs wants to know more about his ancestry. (Credits)
LL Cool J (03:17)
LL Cool J was born James Todd Smith; his family was musical. His grandparents Eugene Griffith and Ellen Hightower were significant in his life. LL's father shot his mother and grandfather in a fit of rage.
LL's Paternal Family Line (05:41)
LL's grandparents started a business during the Jim Crow South. Henry Louis Gates Jr. traces LL's roots back to his third-great-grandparents who were owned by Joseph Thaxton in North Carolina. Dick Thaxton voted in 1868.
Combs' Paternal Family Line (07:08)
Combs' father Melvin served in the U.S. military and was stationed in South Korea. His third-great-grandfather Robert Allsup and his parents were free; Allsup was charged with being a runaway in 1856. Allsup fought in the Civil War.
Exploring Ancestry (02:07)
Gates presents Combs with his paternal family tree. Seeing the obituary for his great-great-grandmother sparked Gates' desire to learn about his roots. He reflects on the popularity of genealogy and the use of DNA analysis.
LL's Maternal Family Line (06:08)
DNA analysis suggests LL's mother Ondrea Griffith and Joan Lewis are related. Further investigation reveals that Eugene Griffith was not Ondrea's biological father; her father is Nathaniel Christy Lewis.
Family Adoption Revealed (07:07)
LL examines a picture of his biological grandfather. DNA analysis confirms the rumor that Ellen Hightower was not Ondrea's biological mother. Further investigation reveals Ondrea's birth name was Andra Jolly and her mother was Ethel Mae Jolly.
Combs' Maternal Family Line (04:12)
Gates traces Combs' ancestors to St. James Goose Creek, S.C. Garrison Collier was born into slavery and owned by Albert Collier. Slaves were freed in 1865 and Albert acquired a farm.
LL's Biological Family Line (08:32)
Nathaniel Christy Lewis and his brother were professional boxers. LL's ancestors, back to his fourth-great-great-grandparents, were free. His great-grandfather John saw the accidental killing of his mother.
New Family Connections (02:45)
LL and Ondrea connect with newly discovered relatives Claudia Lewis, Thaddeus Lewis, and Joan Lewis. Ondrea later meets her birth mother. A group of 4,000 people meet in New York to locate DNA cousins.
Credits: Family Reunions: Sean Combs, LL Cool J—Finding Your Roots, Season 3 (00:31)
Credits: Family Reunions: Sean Combs, LL Cool J—Finding Your Roots, Season 3
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