Johni Cerny Biography, Johni Cerny Wiki
Johni Cerny is a professional genealogist and family historian who first began her career in 1979. She founded Lineages, Inc. in 1983, left the firm in 2005 and returned as the company’s President and CEO in 2011.
Gates wrote on Twitter on the morning of February 22, “It’s with great sadness to share that Johni Cerny, our chief genealogist for #FindingYourRoots, has passed away. We’ve worked with Johni, one of the most highly respected and pioneering genealogists since we created the PBS series.”
Johni Cerny Early Life
In addition to appearing on “Finding Your Roots,” Cerny worked with PBS on the shows, “African American Lives 1 & 2” and “Faces of America.” Cerny was a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and attended high school in Los Angeles at Van Nuys High School. Cerny would later graduate from Brigham Young University, majoring in Geneaology and social work. Cerny lived and worked out of Draper, Utah.
Johni Cerny Career
Cerny started working professionally as a genealogist in 1979 and founded her own business, Lineages Inc., in 1983. Cerny left the company for a time in 2005 but would return as CEO in 2011. On her IMDb page, it says that Cerny specialized in American, African American, English, Scottish, German, Slovakian, Swiss and Italian ancestry. That profile says that Cerny had been unable to secure regular work as a genealogist until the television miniseries “Roots” became a hit in the 1980s.
Prior to her genealogy career, Cerny served in the United States army from 1972 until 1979 achieving the rank of captain. Cerny served on inactive duty between 1979-1983. During her time serving in Germany, Cerny was the first female commander of a forward support unit.
Johni Cerny Death
It’s with great sadness to share that Johni Cerny, our chief genealogist for Finding Your Roots, has passed away. We’ve worked with Johni, one of the pioneering and most highly respected genealogists in the field, since we created the PBS series, African American Lives, in 2005, in which she traced the ancestry of such well-known African Americans as Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones. Since then, she has researched the genealogy of almost 200 celebrities, including Meryl Streep, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Tina Turner, Congressman John Lewis, Senator John McCain, Senator Bernie Sanders, Larry David, Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, P Diddy, and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, among many others. Johni’s passion, dedication, originality and mastery of the tools of her craft have been at the heart of countless revelations for the guests in our PBS series over the last fifteen years. Her passion for genealogy began at age 19 when she sought out the story of her own roots, eventually discovering the identity of her grandmother and father. Her lifelong love of the work inspired all of us who make Finding Your Roots, and she was always grateful to the viewers who make it possible for us to tell these stories. This calling, and all of the joy she brought to it, radiated throughout our show and was a key to the fulfillment of its promise to discover personal histories that liberate us from mistruths about our differences and foster a more human connection amongst us. Thank you, Johni, for believing in our dream from the very beginning, and for doing so very much to make that dream a reality. We will miss you and we love you.