Edward Norton learned that the real-life Pocahontas, the daughter of a 17th century Native American chief, is his 12th great-grandmother.
The revelation came about on Tuesday’s episode of “Finding Your Roots,” the PBS genealogical history show.
According to CNN, historian and host Henry Louis Gates Jr. addressed the family rumor, confirming the family connection to the historical figure who supposedly saved Captain John Smith from execution after welcoming English settlers to the United States in the 17th century.
“You have a direct paper trail, no doubt about it, connection to your 12th great-grandmother and great-grandfather, John Rolfe and Pocahontas,” Gates Jr. told Norton
Gates cited the documents as showing Pocahontas died three years after marrying Rolfe on April 5, 1614 in Jamestown, Virginia during the life of William Shakespeare. Rolfe died around March 1622.
“It just makes you realize what a small … piece of the whole human story you are,” Norton said after hearing the news.
Norton researched his own family history before appearing on “Finding Your Roots,” which also revealed that Norton’s third-great-grandfather John Winstead owned a family of slaves. The father, 55, and mother, 37, had five daughters aged 4, 6, 8, 9 and 10.
“When you read ‘slave aged eight,’ you just want to die,” the “Glass Onion” actor said.
“The short answer is these things are uncomfortable. And you should be uncomfortable with them,” he further expressed about that part of his ancestry. “It’s not a judgment on you in your own life but it’s a judgment on the history of this country and it needs to be acknowledged first and foremost and then it needs to be contended with.”
The premiere episode of “Finding Your Roots” Season 9 also traced “Ticket to Paradise” actress Julia Roberts’ lineage.