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Erin Burnett's 'Roots'

Updated 10:06 AM ET, Tue October 14, 2014
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CNN's Erin Burnett grew up in the small town of Mardela Springs, Maryland. "The last census had the town at about 420 people," Burnett said. "The best part of growing up there was playing with my sisters. I idolized them." Courtesy Erin Burnett
Burnett said her parents met in New York City, but her father dreamed of being a country lawyer and owning a farm. "They were very idealistic when they got married," she said. "It's so funny hearing them talk about it now. Their eyes still light up." CNN
Burnett recently traveled to the Isle of Skye in Scotland to trace her ancestry as part of the CNN "Roots" project. She said she didn't know much about the Isle of Skye before she got there. "It became clear on the ferry to Skye that it's one of the most glorious parts of Scotland," she said. CNN
Maggie MacDonald is a historian and genealogist on Isle of Skye. She was able to track down my relatives still living on the remote island. CNN
My cousin, Donald Matheson, was a bit shy when we first met him, but he warmed up when we began talking about his great love, fishing. CNN
The potato famine took a horrible toll on Scotland in the 1850s. The destitution was so overwhelming the Scottish government asked people to leave the country and never return. My ancestors, who farmed potatoes, couldn't afford to pay their rent or feed their 7 children on their small plot of land. They were told to leave. They tried to go to Australia and settled on Prince Edward Island in Canada. CNN
Burnett shoots a segment among the rolling hills in the Isle of Skye. CNN
Tormichaig is the remote Scottish village that Burnett's ancestors are from. Ancestry.com