How is Edward Norton related to Pocahontas? Ancestral family tree explored amid Finding Your Roots revelations

Pocahontas is allegedly the 12th great-grandmother of Edward Norton (Image via Getty Images)
Pocahontas is allegedly the 12th great-grandmother of Edward Norton (Image via Getty Images)

Pocahontas is reportedly related to actor Edward Norton as per a preview of the PBS show Finding Your Roots. In the clip, host and historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. can be seen telling the actor that Pocahontas is Norton’s 12th great-grandmother:

“Pocahontas is indeed your 12th great-grandmother. I understand that was family lore, well, it is absolutely true.”

When a surprised Norton asked Gates how he determined the connection, the latter replied saying, “through the paper trail.” The host then explained:

“John Rolfe and Pocahontas got married on April 5, 1614. Shakespeare died in 1616.”

He continued to share that the pair married in Jamestown, Virginia. He said that Pocahontas died sometime in March 1617, in Gravesend, England, and John Rolfe died around March 1622. Gates further added:

“You [Edward Norton] have a direct paper trail, no doubt about it, connection to your 12th great-grandmother and great-grandfather John Rolfe and Pocahontas.”

The Glass Onion star replied to the host saying that such discoveries make one realize they are a small part of the human story:

“It makes you realize what a small piece of the human story you are.”

Reports suggest that Edward Norton is related to Pocahontas through the Red Boiling bloodline along with Harry and Richard Byrd as well as Edith Wilson.

A look into Edward Norton’s ancestral history and connection with Pocahontas

Edward Norton was born on August 18, 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Edward Mower Norton Jr. and Lydia Robinson "Robin" Rouse. His father was an environmental lawyer and conservation advocate who previously served as a marine in Vietnam.

He also worked as a federal prosecutor during Jimmy Carter’s administration. Meanwhile, Norton’s mother was an English teacher. She passed away in 1997 after a brain tumor diagnosis.


According to the PBS reality show Finding Your Roots, Edward Norton is related to Pocahontas aka Matoaka or Amonute, a Native American woman and the daughter of the Paramount Chief of Powhatan. She is known for her connection with the colonial settlement in Jamestown, Virginia.

Pocahontas was reportedly captured by English colonists during the first Anglo-Powhatan War after being lured onto the ship of Captain Samuel Argall in 1613. She was allegedly held ransom for the return of stolen weapons and English prisoners held by her father.

During her captivity, Pocahontas was converted to Christianity and baptized under the name Rebecca. She later married tobacco planter John Rolfe, who is known as one of the early English settlers of North America.


Following their marriage in 1614, the couple welcomed their son Thomas Rolfe in 1615. Thomas Rolfe married Jane Poythress, the daughter of Virginia landowner Captain Francis Poythress, and the pair had a daughter, Jane Rolfe, in 1650.

Jane Rolfe married wealthy American settler, planter and merchant Colonel Robert Boiling in 1674 and had their son John Boiling in 1676. John Bolling married Mary Kennon, the daughter of Richard Kennon and Elizabeth Worsham, in 1697.

The pair had six children together. Their second child, daughter Jane Boiling, married Virginia planter, merchant and politician Richard Randolph in 1724. The couple had seven children together.

Their second child, daughter Mary Randolph, married Virginia planter, soldier, politician, and landowner Colonel Archibald Cary in 1744. The pair had nine children together and through their marriage, the children became lineal descendants of Pocahontas.


Mary and Archibald’s second child, daughter Jane Cary, married Thomas Isham Randolph, the son of Isham Randolph and uncle of Thomas Jefferson, in 1768. One of their children, Mary Randolph married planter and Thomas Jefferson’s first cousin Randolph Harrison in 1790.

One of Mary and Randolph's sons, Carter Henry Harrison, married Janetta Ravenscroft Fisher. The duo gave birth to Henry Harrison. Henry Harrison married Jane St. Clair Cochran and their son, George Moffett Harrison, married Bettie Montgomery Kent.

George and Bettie’s son Joseph Kent Harrison married Cornelia Long Somerville. Their daughter, Betty Kent Harrison, tied the knot with Edward Mower Norton, the father of Edward Mower Norton Jr., and the grandfather of Edward Norton.

Edward Mower Norton Jr. married Lydia Robinson Rouse in 1966 and the duo gave birth to Edward Norton in 1969. This made Pocanhontas the 12th great-grandmother of the latter from his father’s side of the family.


Dating back to late 1676, Pocahontas’ granddaughter Jane Rolfe passed away after complications from childbirth. Her widowed husband, Robert Bolling, remarried in 1681 and had nine more children with his second wife Ann Stith.

Robert Boiling’s son with Jane Rolfe and their descendants were later dubbed the Red Bollings because of the presence of Indian blood through Pocahontas. Meanwhile, the former’s descendants by Ann Stith are called White Bollings.

Therefore, Edward Norton is part of Pocahontas and John Rolfe’s family through the Red Bollings bloodline.

Edward Norton shares thoughts on his ancestral background

Edward Norton says he feels "uncomfortable" with his family history about slavery (Image via Getty Images)
Edward Norton says he feels "uncomfortable" with his family history about slavery (Image via Getty Images)

In addition to finding out about his relationship with Pocahontas during an appearance on Finding Your Roots, Edward Norton was also seen responding to the news that some of his ancestors were alleged slave owners.

An exclusive preview clip given to Newsweek shows the actor being given a picture of a 55-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman with five girls between the ages 10 and 4. Shortly after, host Henry Louis Gates Jr. told Norton that the little girls were all owned as slaves.

In response, the Fight Club star is seen saying that everyone should be “uncomfortable” about such information:

“The short answer is, these things are uncomfortable, and you should be uncomfortable with them. Everybody should be uncomfortable with it.”

He further mentioned that that information comes off as a judgment on the history of the country:

“It's not a judgment on you and your own life but it's a judgment on the history of this country. It needs to be acknowledged first and foremost, and then it needs to be contended with.”

He continued:

“When you go away from census counts and you personalize things, you’re talking about, possibly, a husband and wife with five girls – and these girls are slaves. Born into slavery.”

As Gates replied to the actor mentioning, “born into slavery and in slavery in perpetuity,” the latter responded by saying:

“Again, when you read ‘slave aged 8,’ you just want to die.”

While the photo remains undated and no details on the history of slave owners are provided in the preview, his 12th great-grandmother Pocahontas’ husband John Rolfe was known as an English settler.

Meanwhile, Norton is also a descendant of the wealthy Rouse family from his mother’s side. His grandfather, James Rouse, was a well-known businessman and founder of The Rouse Company.

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