Edward Norton finds out he is a direct descendant of Pocahontas

It was confirmed that the Native American heroine was Norton’s 12th great grandmother (PA)
It was confirmed that the Native American heroine was Norton’s 12th great grandmother (PA)

Edward Norton was a direct descendant of Native American heroine Pocahontas, it has been revealed.

The actor had grown up believing the connection to be part of “family legend”, but was proven wrong on a recent episode of ancestry show Finding Your Roots on US network PBS.

Norton appeared in the first episode of season nine of the show, alongside fellow Hollywood star Julia Roberts, on Tuesday evening.

In it, host Henry Louis Gates Jr confirmed that Pocahontas was Norton’s 12th great grandmother, having married colonist John Rolfe.

“You have a direct paper trail. No doubt about it,” Gates told him.

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The pair were married in April 1614 in Jamestown, Virginia, though Pocahontas died just three years later in March 1617 in Gravesend, England.

“It just makes you realise what a small piece of the whole human story you are,” Norton replied.

Gates also revealed that Norton’s ancestors had owned slaves, which the actor described as “uncomfortable” to hear.

“The short answer is these things are uncomfortable,” he said.

“Everybody should be uncomfortable with it.”

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Writing on Twitter following the episode’s release, he added that participating in the show had been “such a privilege and a pleasure”.

“I’ve admired Prof Skip Gates for years as an Historian, a teacher, writer, conversationalist and I love this show,” he said.

“He’s an inspiration and this was full of revelations & his wonderful insight about life and how we are all connected to history.”