Edward Norton stunned to learn he is related to Pocahontas

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Edward Norton was amazed to learn he is a descendant of the real-life Pocahontas.

In a teaser for the latest episode of PBS genealogy series Finding Your Roots, host Henry Louis Gates Jr. informed the actor that the Native American woman, also known as Amonute, was his 12th great-grandmother.

Ed's family had known of a possible connection to Pocahontas and her husband John Rolfe for many years.

"Oh my God," he responded to the confirmation. "This is about as far back as you can go, unless you're a Viking. It makes you realise what a small piece of the human story you are."

Reflecting on the extensive paper trail, which included a 1614 marriage certificate, Henry added, "No doubt about it."

Pocahontas had a son, Thomas Rolfe, with tobacco planter John. She died in 1617 following a trip to England.

Over the years, Pocahontas has been the subject of many artworks and films, including the 1995 animated Disney feature.

In an earlier preview of the programme, Ed was also told that some of his ancestors owned a family of slaves, including five young girls.

Reacting to a photo of the family, the 53-year-old commented, "Everybody should be uncomfortable with it. 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. When you go away from census counts and you personalise things, you're talking about, possibly, a husband and wife with five girls, and these girls are slaves. Born into slavery. Again, when you read, 'Slave aged eight', you just want to die."

Season nine of Finding Your Roots started airing on Tuesday.