The gilded Hollywood actor Edward Norton has apparently learned that he has a very famous ancestor — Pocahontas……. no less!!!
US cable PBS show “Finding Your Roots,” reveals the genealogy of celebrities and Norton known for films like “American History X” ”Primal Fear”, ”Fight Club” and “Birdman” was told Pocahontas is his 12th great-grandmother, believe it or not.
The unsurprisingly shocked guest was then told by the show’s host Henry Louis Gates, Jr ”Well, it is absolutely true” after believing it was just part of his ”family lore”.
Norton then asked Gates how he could determine the relation to which the host replied “Through the paper trail.”
Gates Jr. explained that there is a record of Pocahontas and John Rolfe marrying on April 5, 1614, in Jamestown, Virginia while other documents revealed that Norton’s genealogy could be traced back to them.
“This is about as far back as you can go,” Gates said. To put into perspective just how long ago that was, he added that William Shakespeare died two years after Pocahontas and Rolfe married. “This just makes you realize what a small piece of the whole human story you are,” Norton said.
Pocahontas, born around 1596, was the daughter of Wahunsenaca, the paramount chief of the Powhatan Chiefdom, which had a population of about 25,000 at its height, according to the U.S. National Park Service.
According to the writings of Captain John Smith, Pocahontas saved his life after he had been captured by the Powhatan and was set to be executed. Before he could be killed, in Smith’s telling, Pocahontas placed her head on top of his, preventing his execution. There is, however, some historical debate as to whether this event ever really occurred, the park service notes.
After later being captured by the English, Pocahontas met widower John Rolfe and the two married. In 1614, she converted to Christianity, was baptized “Rebecca,” and the pair had a baby named Thomas. The family moved to England in 1616.