Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose PBS series Finding Your Roots premieres Sept. 23

In their book Friends: A Love Story, actor Courtney B. Vance and his actress wife, Angela Bassett, laid bare their seven-year struggle with infertility, along with their unwavering faith that they would someday conceive a child. They ultimately gave birth to twins, Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah, with the help of a surrogate.

Through his son and daughter, Vance is now assured that his family line will continue. That’s comforting, since his past has long been something of a blur. Vance’s own father, Conroy, was a foster child who had never known the identity of his biological parents. Tragically, Conroy Vance committed suicide, leaving Courtney with a family mystery that might never have been uncovered.

That is, until Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the PBS series Finding Your Roots offered Vance the opportunity to delve deep into his unexplored genealogy. The results of their research can be seen in this season’s premier episode, titled, “Finding Your Roots: In Search of Our Fathers,” on Tuesday, Sept. 23, from 8 to 9 p.m. EDT.

Here is a preview:

The premiere also features author Stephen King and actress Gloria Reuben.