Sally Field learns that she descends from William Bradford, who helped the Puritans establish their new lives in colonial America. Deepak Chopra’s family pledged their loyalty to the British in hopes of achieving a higher place in society, and Sting’s ancestors, who fueled Great Britain’s world dominance during the Pax Britannica by building its merchant ships.
Stream this exciting full episode, premiering November 11th at 8PM EST (check local listings).
Episode Transcript Print
Finding Your Roots – Ep 208 “British Empire”
Deepak Chopra / Sally Field / Sting
GATES: I’M HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. WELCOME TO FINDING YOUR ROOTS.
IN THIS EPISODE WE WILL MEET SINGER-SONGWRITER STING, ALTERNATIVE-MEDICINE GURU DEEPAK CHOPRA, AND ACTOR SALLY FIELD. THREE PEOPLE WHO HAIL FROM VERY DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD, YET WHOSE ANCESTORS ARE SUBJECTS OF THE ONCE MIGHTY BRITISH EMPIRE.
STING: We have a history, a checkered history, not a perfect history. But I am British and I’m proud to be British.
CHOPRA: I speak English. And I recite Shakespeare. So I’m obviously connected.
FIELD: You know I do feel very much a connection. But I’d say that I’m sort of quintessentially American.
GATES VO: TO DISCOVER THEIR ORIGINS WE’VE USED EVERY TOOL AVAILABLE–GENEALOGISTS HELPED STITCH TOGETHER THE PAST USING THE PAPER TRAILS THEIR ANCESTORS LEFT BEHIND, WHILE GENETICISTS USED THE LATEST ADVANCES IN DNA ANALYSIS TO REVEAL SECRETS HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD. AND WE’VE COMPILED EVERYTHING THAT WE’VE FOUND INTO A BOOK OF LIFE…
CHOPRA: Oh my god.
GATES VO: A RECORD OF ALL OUR DISCOVERIES…
STING: This is a total revelation to me.
FIELD: Holy smoke. That’s, that’s amazing!
GATES VO: THOUGH STING, SALLY AND DEEPAK ARE STRANGERS TO EACH OTHER, THE ROOTS OF ALL THREE OF THEIR FAMILY TREES ARE INEXTRICABLY INTERTWINED WITH THE SAGA OF GREAT BRITAIN — THE TINY ISLAND NATION THAT ONCE RULED 400 MILLION PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
ROOTS TITLE SEQUENCE
GATES VO: ODDS ARE, YOU KNOW THIS FACE–AND THIS VOICE…
STING. HE’S WON 16 GRAMMY’S… SOLD OVER 100 MILLION RECORDS… AND RAISED UNTOLD SUMS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CAUSES.
HE’S AN ICON–CELEBRATED WHEREVER HE GOES.
YET IN PERSON, STING IS RESERVED, ALMOST SHY–AND HIS ROOTS ARE AS MODEST AS HIS DEMEANOR.
HE WAS BORN “GORDON MATTHEW THOMAS SUMNER” IN WALLSEND–A WORKING-CLASS SHIP-BUILDING TOWN IN NORTH EAST ENGLAND.
STING: Some of my first memories as a child is seeing the end of my street blocked by a ship. And so the ship was a massive symbol in my life, literally, a symbol that covered the sky.
GATES VO: THOUGH HE LEFT WALLSEND AS A YOUNG MAN, HE HAS NOW BEEN DRAWN BACK…
HIS MOST RECENT PROJECT IS AN EVOCATIVE MUSICAL ENTITLED THE LAST SHIP, INSPIRED BY MEMORIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD IN THE FIFTIES AND HIS ADOLECENT YEARNING TO ESCAPE THE NARROW CONFINES OF HIS HOMETOWN…
STING: … Yup, that’s me. Guilty as charged.
GATES: (Laughs) There you are, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, born on October 2, 1951. What was it like growing up in Wallsend?
STING: …most people worked either in the coalmine at one end of the town, or they worked in the shipyard at the end of my street. I would do everything in my power not to end up there.
STING: So, I studied hard. I found a guitar.
GATES: Yeah (Laughs).
STING: Which became my best friend and my accomplice in my plan to escape.
GATES: How old were you when you escaped?
STING: I would say I was 15.
GATES: So, very much like the protagonist of The Last Ship.
STING: Perhaps (Laughs). Isn’t that ironic that you have to go back to the place that you escaped from to find yourself in many ways (Laughs)?
GATES VO: DESPITE HIS RENEWED INTEREST IN HIS WALLSEND ROOTS, STING KNOWS VERY LITTLE ABOUT THEM.
STING: I’m pretty in the dark about…about my ancestors, I don’t think anybody in my family knows anything about anything beyond two generations. So, yeah, I’m intrigued.
SOT: Chopra interviews Lucy Liu.
Chopra: My very special guest today is the one and only Lucy Liu. What kept you healthy?
GATES VO: FOR DEEPAK CHOPRA, THIS IS A TYPICAL DAY AT THE OFFICE.
HIS UNIQUE BLEND OF WESTERN AND TRADITIONAL INDIAN MEDICINE HAS STRUCK A CHORD WITH MILLIONS OF FOLLOWERS. HE’S PUBLISHED MORE THAN 80 BOOKS, INCLUDING 22 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS AND HE REINS OVER A MULTI-MEDIA EMPIRE.
CHOPRA: We have a practice, and I keep my California license…
GATES VO: BUT HIS SUCCESS DIDN’T COME EASILY.
DEEPAK IMMIGRATED TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1970. AND WORKED DOGGEDLY FOR A DECADE RISING FROM RESIDENT TO CHIEF OF STAFF AT A MAJOR NEW ENGLAND HOSPITAL.
AT HIS PEAK, HE HAD SEVEN THOUSAND PATIENTS.
AND ALL THAT WORK TOOK ITS TOLL.
CHOPRA: Sometimes days would go by and I hadn’t slept. It was crazy.
GATES: You were smoking a pack a day.
GATES: And drinking consistently?
GATES: The holistic health guru, a smoker and drinker. This is not part of your image. You know that, right?
CHOPRA: Yeah, but it’s part of my history.
GATES VO: DESPITE HIS SUCCESSFUL CAREER, DEEPAK GREW FRUSTRATED WITH WESTERN MEDICINE. IN 1985, WHEN HE MET THE MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI –ONCE THE GURU OF THE BEATLES — HE DECIDED TO MAKE A DRAMATIC CHANGE. THE MAHARISHI ENCOURAGED HIM TO STUDY AN ANCIENT INDIAN SYSTEM OF HOLISTIC MEDICINE KNOWN AS AYURVEDA.
DEEPAK WAS CAPTIVATED…
CHOPRA: There’s a famous aphorism in Ayurveda. ‘As is the atom so is the universe. As is the human body so is the cosmic body.’ So this fascinated me. I started to see the human body as a system.
GATES VO: BY EMBRACING AYURVEDA, THE WORK OBSESSED BOSTON PHYSICIAN WAS IN SOME SENSE CONNECTING WITH THE TRADITIONS OF HIS INDIAN ANCESTORS.
BUT THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT DEEPAK DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT THEM–AND HE IS EAGER TO LEARN.
CHOPRA: I think you can give me a clue to the trail of those who have been before me.
GATES: Oh, absolutely.
CHOPRA: There’s a feeling of reverence always when I think about that. So, I’m up for surprises.
GATES: This is the book of life for Sally Margaret Field.
FIELD: Oh my goodness.
GATES VO: MY THIRD GUEST, SALLY FIELD, IS ONE OF AMERICA’S MOST-BELOVED ACTORS. SHE ROCKETED TO FAME AT AGE 18, STARRING IN WILDLY POPULAR TELEVISION SHOWS LIKE GIDGET AND THE FLYING NUN.
GATES: I couldn’t figure out how you kept the habit so clean.
FIELD: The fact that my hat was still on my head, and I was like flying, I mean, that was a little bit of suspended reality.
GATES: Yeah, but God, God works miracles, you know.
FIELD: Yeah, I guess so (Laughs).
GATES VO: SHE’S APPEARED IN OVER 35 FILMS, WINNING ACADEMY AWARDS FOR NORMA RAE AND PLACES IN THE HEART.
I’VE BEEN WATCHING HER AND ADMIRING HER SINCE I WAS A TEENAGER–AND I WASN’T SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT AT LEAST SOME OF HER TALENT CAN BE FOUND IN HER GENES.
FIELD: That’s my mother in Man from Planet X.
GATES VO: SALLY’S MOTHER–MARGARET MORIAN NEVER ACHIEVED STARDOM LIKE HER DAUGHTER, APPEARING IN B MOVIES AND PLAYING SMALL PARTS IN TELEVISION SHOWS, BUT SHE DID PASS ON TO SALLY A PASSION FOR PERFORMING…
FIELD: What my mother handed me is this love for the craft of acting, of telling stories. It was a place that my mother and I came together, I was drawn to it.
GATES: It was in your blood.
FIELD: It was in my blood.
GATES VO: LIKE DEEPAK AND STING, SALLY IS SEEKING TO CONNECT WITH HER ANCESTORS–A CONNECTION THAT WAS BROKEN WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD.
SALLY WAS ONLY FOUR YEARS OLD WHEN HER PARENTS DIVORCED. AS A RESULT SHE KNOWS ALMOST NOTHING ABOUT HER FATHER’S SIDE OF HER FAMILY TREE.
FIELD: I have had the feeling for a long time, that if I could just see a picture of them in my mind, of what they came from, of how hard it was for them that it would somehow give me what I’m looking for in owning all of myself.
SKIP ON CAMERA
GATES VO: IT’S EASY TO SEE THAT SALLY, DEEPAK AND STING ALL COME FROM VERY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS. BUT AS WE RESEARCHED THEIR FAMILY TREES, WE REALIZED THAT THEY ALL SHARE ONE THING IN COMMON. ANCESTORS WHOSE LIVES WERE SHAPED BY THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
I STARTED WITH STING–THE SOLE BRITISH CITIZEN AMONG OUR THREE GUESTS.
GATES: You have homes in Los Angeles and in New York, but you’ve remained a British citizen. Why?
STING: Uhm, I think I’m maybe patriotic in the sense that I…I was born British. So, I…I will stay British. I like to be British.
GATES VO: “BRITISH.” THE VERY WORD CONJURES UP NOTIONS OF PEDIGREE, HERITAGE AND WORLD DOMINANCE.
AT ITS PEAK IN THE 1930S, THE BRITISH EMPIRE WAS LARGER THAN THE ROMAN EMPIRE, AND HELD SWAY OVER ALMOST A QUARTER OF THE WORLD’S TOTAL POPULATION.
STING: These were the biggest ships ever built…
GATES VO: STING IS INTENSELY AWARE OF HIS FAMILY’S ROLE IN HELPING SUSTAIN BRITIAN’S DOMINANCE.
GATES VO: ON THE EVE OF WORLD WAR II, NORTH EAST ENGLAND WAS THE LARGEST SHIPBUILDING CENTER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.
GENERATIONS OF MEN, WOMEN, EVEN CHILDREN TOILED IN DICKENSIAN CONDITIONS TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN THE SHIPS THAT ALLOWED BRITIAN TO CONTROL SO MUCH OF THE EARTH.
STING: The shipyard was a very unpleasant place to work. Noisy and dangerous. They dealt with all kinds of toxic substances, like red lead, asbestos, and yet there was this immense pride in being able to point to something and say, “Look, we built that with our hands.” And I think modern society we sit at a computer, you know. Where is… Where is the artifact that says we worked? And the ships were just massive examples of that.
GATES VO: STING KNEW THAT SOME OF HIS ANCESTORS HAD WORKED IN THE SHIPYARDS, BUT HE KNEW ALMOST NOTHING ABOUT THE DETAILS OF THEIR LIVES THERE.
WE WANTED TO INTRODUCE HIM TO THESE ANCESTORS. WORKERS WHO HAD EXPERIENCED GREAT BRITAIN’S DOMINANCE FROM THE BOTTOM.
GATES: Any idea who those people are?
STING: That’s my grandfather Tom. Who was a shipbuilder. And that’s his wife, and probably my dad. I’ve no idea who that old codger is.
GATES: (Laughs) Well…the older man sitting to the right side is your great grandfather, Richard. Richard Keller Halfknight Sumner.
STING: Why would you be a half knight, not a whole knight?
STING: He’s a handsome man.
GATES: Indeed. Mr. Halfknight.
GATES VO: STING’S GREAT GRANDFATHER RICHARD MAY HAVE HAD HIS GOOD LOOKS–BUT HIS LIFE WAS FAR FROM EASY.
HE WENT TO WORK ON THE DOCKS AS A YOUTH. AND AN ARTICLE IN THE LOCAL PAPER SHOWED US JUST HOW DANGEROUS THAT WORK WAS…
STING: Accident at Sunderland Docks. Shortly before 6:00 in the morning, a teemer named Richard Sumner was bringing down a wagon of coal when, in turning a curve, the wagon went off the line. Sumner was violently thrown over the drop site to the ground below, a distance of some 45 feet. When picked up, he was found to be seriously injured and had to be conveyed to the infirmary on a locomotive. Wow.
GATES: You ever heard that story?
GATES: He was thirteen, and was loading coal.
STING: I had no idea that had happened.
GATES VO: WE WONDERED WHY STING’S GREAT GRANDFATHER HAD TO WORK THE DOCKS AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE.
WE FOUND THE ANSWER IN THE STORY OF HIS FATHER–STING’S 2ND GREAT GRANDFATHER–A MAN NAMED HENRY KIRK SUMNER…
HE’S LISTED AS A CREWMAN ON A TRADE SHIP CALLED THE JAMES, IN THIS LEDGER FROM 1870.
STING: Henry Sumner, born in Nottingham. Date and place of joining of this ship: December 29, 1871 in Sunderland. In what capacity: Mate. He had a position of responsibility on the ship.
GATES VO: ACCORDING TO MARITIME RECORDS, HENRY’S SHIP CARRIED CARGO FROM NORTHERN ENGLAND TO LONDON–AND THEN ON TO PORTS IN THE NETHERLANDS.
BY THE STANDARDS OF THE DAY, HENRY HAD A GOOD JOB. IT WAS A COMPARITIVELY SHORT ROUTE–AND HE AND THE CREW WERE WELL-PAID AND WELL-FED.
BUT THEIR LUCK WOULD SOON RUN OUT.
STING: Henry Sumner, mate, aged 46, drowned on September the 30th, 1871 at sea. Wow.
GATES: Your great-great Grandfather and everyone else on board that very ship were lost at sea.
STING: Leaving at 13-year-old boy to…to work and…and support the family. Th…I find that very moving. It’s totally fascinating.
GATES VO: CHILD LABOR AND WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS WERE ALL TOO COMMON WITHIN THE VAST INDUSTRIAL MACHINE THAT POWERED THE BRITISH EMPIRE, AND STING’S FAMILY PAID A HIGH PRICE FOR SERVICE TO THE CROWN.
WHILE STING’S SECOND GREAT-GRANDFATHER, HENRY, DROWNED IN THE NORTH SEA, WE LEARNED THAT HIS PARENTS HAD QUITE A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE WITH NAUTICAL TRAVEL.
STING’S THIRD GREAT-GRANDPARENTS, GEORGE AND MARY SUMNER WERE ALSO WORKING-CLASS LABORERS – BUT THEY ESCAPED INDUSTRIAL ENGLAND BY MAKING THE PERILOUS JOURNEY TO THE FURTHEST OUTPOST OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE – AUSTRALIA.
GATES: You ever heard about ancestors going to Australia?
GATES: Any idea why they might have gone?
STING: No, but I’m fearing the worst.
GATES VO: STING’S FEARS WERE BASED ON THE CHECKERED HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA. IN 1788, IT WAS FOUNDED BY THE BRITISH AS A PENAL COLONY. PEOPLE CONVICTED OF CRIMES LIKE THEFT AND ASSAULT WOULD BE EXILED THERE.
BUT IN THE 1830S, AUSTRAILIA BEGAN TO CHANGE. A SECOND SETTLEMENT WAS ESTABLISED FOR BRITISH CITIZENS SEEKING A FRESH START. AND IT WAS THERE THAT WE FOUND STING’S THIRD GREAT GRANDPARENTS.
GATES: [Laughs] Well, Sting, at least we know they weren’t convicts.
STING: I wouldn’t be ashamed if they were. You could be a convict for stealing a loaf of bread.
GATES: You could.
STING: Les Miserables.
GATES: [Laughs] That’s true.
GATES VO: WE WONDERED HOW STING’S ANCESTORS WOUND UP IN SUCH A REMOTE PLACE–SO WE BEGAN BY SEARCHING FOR CLUES IN NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND WHERE THEY STARTED A FAMILY IN THE 1820S.
AND IT WAS HERE THAT WE UNCOVERED THE KEY TO THEIR JOURNEY.
STING’S THIRD GREAT-GRANDPARENTS TOILED IN SMALL WORK SHOPS USING HAND-OPERATED FRAMES TO MAKE LACE. BUT WHEN TOWERING FACTORIES AND STEAM DRIVEN MACHINES BEGAN TO REPLACE THEM IN THE 1840S, THEY – ALONG WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHERS- WERE FORCED OUT OF WORK.
SO THEY MOVED TO CALAIS, FRANCE–JUST ACROSS THE ENGLISH CHANNEL–WHERE THERE WAS STILL A STRONG DEMAND FOR THEIR SKILLS.
ALL WENT WELL FOR A TIME BUT THEY WERE IN FOR A TERRIBLE SURPRISE.
STING: 1848, March. The Revolution in France produced great distress among the lace hands of Nottingham extraction at Calais.
GATES: They abruptly lost their best customers, French aristocrats (Laughs).
GATES: And the political and social upheaval left your third great grandfather and his family, unemployed…
GATES: And their future unsure.
GATES: So they migrated again.
STING: This is a total revelation to me, just the geography of the thing, you know, from Nottingham, to…to France, to Australia is astounding to me.
GATES: Yeah. Are you curious about how things turned out for your family in Australia?
STING: I am now.
GATES: (Laughs) Would you please turn the page?
STING: George Sumner of River Wakefield, farmer, is now sized of an estate. Which said piece of land contains 50 acres or thereabouts. Can’t wait to visit! I tour a lot in Australia and always manage to feel at home there. So, maybe…maybe there’s a reason (Laughs).
GATES VO: WHILE STING’S FAMILY WAS MIGRATING FROM ENGLAND TO AUSTRALIA, DEEPAK CHOPRA’S ANCESTORS WERE DEEPLY ROOTED IN YET ANOTHER PART OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE: INDIA.
BY THE TIME DEEPAK WAS BORN IN NEW DELHI IN 1947, BRITAIN HAD CONTROLLED INDIA FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY. WITH ITS EXOTIC SPICES–AND TEA–THIS WAS ONCE ENGLAND’S MOST LUCRATIVE COLONY.
EVEN SO, MOST INDIANS DIDN’T PROSPER. THEY WERE FORCED TO PAY HIGH LAND TAXES THEY COULDN’T AFFORD—AND MANY WERE LIVING IN POVERTY. IN FACT OVER 90 PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY STRUGGLED JUST TO FEED ITSELF.
BUT DEEPAK’S PARENTS MANAGED TO THRIVE.
GATES: You’ve written that, quote, “The Chopras attached their fortunes to the British,” end quote. Why?
CHOPRA: It was part of who they were. My parents were comfortable in both environments. Actually, at home we spoke a mixture of English and Hindi.
GATES VO: DEEPAK’S FAMILY WAS ABLE TO NAVIGATE THE SYSTEM IMPOSED ON THEM BY THE BRITISH –THANKS LARGELY TO THE EFFORTS OF HIS FATHER: DR. KRISHAN LAL CHOPRA.
IN 1943, KRISHAN GRADUATED FROM MEDICAL SCHOOL IN LAHORE AND JOINED THE BRITISH INDIAN ARMY AS A MEDIC.
WORLD WAR TWO WAS AT ITS HEIGHT. AND IN THE SPRING OF 1944, DEEPAK’S FATHER’S BATTALION WAS SENT EAST, TO CUT OFF THE ENCROACHING JAPANESE ARMY IN ONE OF THE BLOODIEST WARZONES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA –
THE BATTLE OF KOHIMA WAS FOUGHT IN HORRIFICALLY CLOSE QUARTERS—OVER THE COURSE OF THREE MONTHS.
KRISHAN AND HIS FELLOW MEDICS WERE ORDERED TO THE FRONT LINE TO SET UP A FIELD HOSPITAL. WITHOUT ADEQUATE TIME TO DIG IN, THE MEDICS WERE EXPOSED TO ENEMY FIRE. BUT KRISHAN FEARLESSLY TENDED TO THE WOUNDED SAVING COUNTLESS LIVES. EVEN SO, THERE WERE OVER FOUR THOUSAND BRITISH-INDIAN ARMY CASUALTIES.
GATES: Today, the battle is considered one of the most impressive victories on any front in the entire World War II. And your father played a major role.
CHOPRA: It’s a big deal.
GATES: It’s a big deal.
CHOPRA: It’s a big deal. You know that time, by the way, Indians could only be soldiers, not officers. But because my father was a physician, he was an officer in the British Army, a Lieutenant. That in itself was a big deal for Indians, that he was on an equal footing with the British.
GATES VO: AFTER THE WAR, KRISHAN’S RELATIONSHIP TO THE BRITISH DEEPENED.
HE WAS APPOINTED AIDE DE CAMP TO LORD LOUIS MOUNTBATTEN, THE VICEROY OF ALL INDIA—AND THIS APPOINTMENT LED TO A REMARKABLE OPPORTUNITY…
CHOPRA: Lord Mountbatten said to my father: ‘My dear chap.’
CHOPRA: ‘You’ve done a great job, do you have any desire, any wish?’ And my father said: ‘I would love to be a cardiologist one day.’ And so apparently, shortly thereafter he got a telegram saying he had a scholarship to go to England.
GATES: That’s extraordinary.
GATES VO: DEEPAK’S FATHER’S LOYALTY TO THE BRITISH HAD PAID OFF: HE WAS GIVEN A CHANCE TO STUDY MEDICINE IN SCOTLAND–A CHANCE THAT VERY FEW INDIANS RECEIVED.
GATES: Do you think he felt that he was representing his people, representing India as well as himself and his family?
CHOPRA: Yes for sure. He was representing a nation that had been subjugated for close to two hundred years. Um you know, actually Indians referred to those days as the days of slavery. They use that word. The British, in hindsight, ya know they were pirates, but that’s how history is.
GATES: When the lions write history, right?
CHOPRA: Yeah. And my mother told him: ‘the first thing you have to do when you get to England is get a white man to shine your shoes.’
GATES: (Laughs) I like that.
CHOPRA: He took a picture I think and sent it to my mother.
GATES VO: WITH HIS FAMILY THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY, KRISHAN WORKED TIRELESSLY TO PASS HIS EXAMS AND TO BE ACCREDITED BY THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS. THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS AND RIGOUROUS MEDICAL INSTITUTION IN ALL OF GREAT BRITAIN.
SO WE SEARCHED THE COLLEGE’S ARCHIVES AND UNEARTHED THE RECORD WE KNEW DEEPAK WOULD WANT TO SEE.
GATES: Have you ever seen that before?
THIS RECORD REVEALS THAT DEEPAK’S FATHER GAINED MEMBERSHIP TO THIS ELITE INSTITUTION IN THE SPRING OF 1954.
GATES: That is a huge accomplishment and a huge moment in his life.
CHOPRA: (Tearing up) Yeah. He talked about how hard it was to work, study, all night long.
GATES: Your father stepped up to the opportunity, I mean he seized the moment.
GATES: I’m glad we could show you that document.
CHOPRA: Thank you. It’s very precious. To me he is one of my greatest, no, my greatest hero.
GATES VO: WE HAD NOW TRACED THE ANCESTORS OF BOTH DEEPAK AND STING TO THE FARTHEST REACHES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE… IT WAS TIME TO DO THE SAME FOR SALLY FIELD –
GATES: This is the Canadian ancestry of Sally Margaret Field and I want you to…
GATES VO: SALLY’S GREAT-GRANDFATHER, JOHN QUINCY FIELD, WAS BORN IN 1851 IN ONTARIO, CANADA–HE WAS PART OF A LONG LINE OF BRITISH CANADIANS IN SALLY’S FAMILY–A LINE THAT SHE KNOWS ALMOST NOTHING ABOUT.
FIELD: Adam Field, John Morton Field and Gilbert Field.
GATES: Did you ever imagine that your family’s history went so far, so deeply back into Canada?
FIELD: Does that mean I get something good if I go to Canada?
GATES VO: I WANTED TO LEARN HOW SALLY’S ANCESTORS ENDED UP IN CANADA. I ASSUMED THEY HAD COME THERE FROM ENGLAND, LIKE MOST CANADIAN IMMIGRANTS AT THE TIME. BUT THE RECORDS TOLD US A VERY DIFFERENT TALE…
WE FOUND SALLY’S FIFTH GREAT GRANDPARENTS RALPH AND ANNE MORDEN LIVING IN THE BRITISH COLONY OF PENNSYLVANIA. THEY ARE THE REASON THAT SALLY’S FAMILY ENDED UP IN CANADA. AND HOW THAT HAPPENED IS QUITE A STORY.
GATES: Okay, think about this for a minute. Your roots, dear, go from Canada back to Pennsylvania.
FIELD: (Laughs) Oh, my goodness.
GATES VO: IN THE EARLY 1770s, SALLY’S FIFTH GREAT GRANDFATHER, RALPH MORDEN, WAS AN ITINERANT LABORER, STRUGGLING TO SUPPORT HIS FAMILY.
JUST A FEW YEARS LATER, HIS ALREADY PRECARIOUS LIFE WAS OVERTURNED BY THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
HE AND HIS FELLOW COLONISTS WERE FORCED TO CHOOSE: THEY COULD SIDE WITH THE PATRIOTS–OR THEY COULD BECOME TORIES, REMAINING LOYAL TO THE BRITISH.
THE RESULT WAS A KIND OF CIVIL WAR. FARMS WERE TORCHED AND PEOPLE MASSACRED AS NEIGHBOR FOUGHT AGAINST NEIGHBOR.
FIELD: You know, our American Revolution, you see our side and their side, and now you realize it was a big mixed up mess of everybody’s side.
GATES VO: WE WONDERED WHAT HAPPENED TO RALPH MORDEN IN THE WAR…
AND WE FOUND THE ANSWER IN A LETTER WRITTEN IN THE FALL OF 1780.
IT DESCRIBED A PATRIOT ATTACK ON A GROUP OF BRITISH LOYALISTS IN RALPH’S HOMETOWN.
FIELD: A few volunteers fired upon a party of Tories. Two were made prisoners, namely Ralph Morden. Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear.
GATES: (Laughs) Ralph Morden is your fifth great-grandfather, and he was a Tory.
FIELD: Oh, dear.
GATES: He was now a prisoner of war.
FIELD: Yeah. Oh Ralphie.
GATES: Why do you think he sided with the British?
FIELD: Um, You know, there were the people that thought things needed to change and the people that thought that things needed to stay the same.
FIELD: Or maybe they were thinking, “Don’t rock the boat.” Don’t take a chance.
GATES: And we’re going to stay loyal to the King.
GATES VO: SALLY’S FIFTH GREAT-GRANDFATHER WAS ACCUSED OF TREASON–AND OF BEARING ARMS AGAINST THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA. HE PLED NOT GUILTY, AFTER A TEN-DAY TRIAL, THE VERDICT WAS ANNOUNCED.
FIELD: Ralph Morden is guilty of treason. Judgment that he be hanged by the neck until he be dead. Yikes.
GATES VO: RALPH LEFT BEHIND A WIFE AND EIGHT CHILDREN.
AND HIS EXECUTION WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF THE TROUBLES FACING HIS SURVIVORS.
PATRIOT MOBS OFTEN TARGETED THE WIVES OF SUSPECTED TORIES, ATTACKING AND LOOTING THEIR HOMES.
SALLY’S FIFTH GREAT-GRANDMOTHER ANN AND HER CHILDREN WERE NOW IN GRAVE DANGER.
FIELD: I’m sort of struck with where the women end up, you know, in all of this always. Um, the men, you know are the ones that go fight and then the women are there left with the children and what now?
GATES VO: ANNE MADE A DECISION THAT WOULD ALTER THE FUTURE OF SALLY’S MORDEN FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS. SHE GATHERED HER CHILDREN AND LEFT THE NEWLY FORMED UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. SHE HEADED NORTH TO ONTARIO, CANADA, STILL A BRITISH COLONY. BECAUSE RALPH MORDEN HAD BEEN EXECUTED A LOYALIST, HIS SURVIVING FAMILY WAS ENTITLED TO 200 ACRES OF LAND, A GIFT FROM THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO THEIR FAITHFUL COLONIAL SUPPORTERS.
FIELD: She became a landowner? I’m going to like her quite a bit.
GATES VO: ANNE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST HOMESTEADERS IN HER PART OF ONTARIO – AND AS A RESULT, SALLY’S PENNSYLVANIAN ANCESTORS ARE REVERED IN CANADA AS FOUNDING FATHERS AND MOTHERS.
FIELD: Wow. I feel admiration that she was able to pick it up and move it on. I…
GATES: …and get the land.
FIELD: …get the land. That’s what I mean. It’s just…it’s smart, and she’s, and she’s…you know, she can write and read and, and also she raised all those children. I appreciate her, and how hard that must have been. And I thank her for that.
GATES VO: WE HAVE NOW TRACED EACH OF OUR GUESTS’ FAMILY TREES TO THE EDGES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE–AND HEARD STORIES OF HOW SOME OF THEIR ANCESTORS CARVED OUT OPPORTUNITIES UNDER BRITISH RULE.
AS I DUG DEEPER, I FOUND STORIES THAT TOLD A VERY DIFFERENT TALE.
I HAD ALREADY REVEALED TO STING HOW HIS FATHER’S FAMILY HAD HELPED SUSTAIN THE BRITISH EMPIRE – AND INTRODUCED HIM TO HIS THIRD GREAT GRANDPARENTS, WHO FLED ENGLAND TO FIND PROSPERITY IN AUSTRALIA –
NOW I WANTED TO EXPLORE THE ANCESTORS OF HIS FATHER’S MOTHER, AGNES WRIGHT, WHOSE ROOTS STRETCHED TO ONE OF THE MOST CONTESTED CORNERS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE: IRELAND.
STING: My grandmother was the only person I knew with a bookshelf with piles of books. She taught me to do crosswords, which I do to this day. And she would always tell me that if I had any talent it was because of her.
GATES: (Laughs) Was she right?
GATES: (Laughs) Did she ever talk about her Irish roots?
STING: No, I knew they were Irish, which is why we were brought up Catholic. But I don’t really know.
GATES VO: I WANTED TO HELP STING FIND HIS IRISH-BORN ANCESTORS.
WE WERE ABLE TO IDENTIFY HIS 2ND GREAT GRANDFATHER–A MAN NAMED JOHN MURPHY.
AND HIS BAPTISMAL RECORD REVEALED JUST HOW HARSH HIS FAMILY’S LIVES WERE IN RURAL COUNTY MONAGHAN.
STING: John Murphy, baptized on the 21st of June in the year 1850 to father Michael Murphy and mother Mary Goodman. N-I-L?
GATES: It means your Murphy ancestors were…
GATES: Dirt poor. So poor that they were unable to make the customary donation to the church upon having their son, John, baptized.
STING: Oh Okay.
GATES: So their contribution was NIL.
GATES: Mm-hmm. This was not uncommon in this parish. Conditions in Ireland were tough. Would you please turn the page? Sting, this is a letter from the Commission of Public Works for County Monahan in 1847.
STING: Hundreds spend days without food. Their forlorn and distressing look with pain and sickness so dreadfully depicted in every countenance is horribly painful to look at, and with all this human misery, no proper efforts are being made to relieve the people. How will it end? God only knows. Is it the potato famine?
GATES: The Irish potato famine indeed it is.
GATES VO: DURING 1845 AND 1852, THE POTATO CROP FAILED YEAR AFTER YEAR–DEPRIVING IRELAND’S FARMERS OF THEIR MAIN SOURCE OF FOOD.
EVEN SO, THE BRITISH CROWN DEMANDED THAT THE IRISH CONTINUE TO PRODUCE WHEAT, OATS, AND BARLEY FOR EXPORT—TO ENGLAND.
THE RESULT WAS A DISASTER OF ALMOST UNIMAGINABLE PROPORTIONS. ONE OUT OF EVERY EIGHT IRISH PEOPLE DIED OF STARVATION OR DISEASE.
AT LEAST A MILLION OTHERS–ABOUT 25% OF THE ALREADY REDUCED POPULATION–FLED THE COUNTRY. MANY, FAMOUSLY, CAME TO AMERICA, WHILE OTHERS, LIKE STING’S 2ND GREAT GRANDFATHER JOHN MURPHY FLED TO ENGLAND.
NOT EVERYONE IN HIS FAMILY WAS SO FORTUNATE.
STING: May the 12th 1881. Mary Murphy, widow, 68 years of age at last birthday. Occupation: Pauper. Her Residence: Workhouse, Carrickmacross.
GATES: Carrickmacross Workhouse was known as the poor man’s jail and it was deliberately harsh. Admission was only as a last resort. Your third great grandmother Mary Murphy, went to what we would call the poor house.
STING: Terrible. That designation of pauper, you know, it’s just such a shame attached to that…And yet …certainly wasn’t her fault.
GATES: No, not at all.
STING: Seeing my great great grandmother in a poorhouse actually makes me feel very, uh, compassionate for her.
GATES: Yeah it’s a sad story, and I’m sorry.
STING: I sense a part of me comes from there. It’s part of my DNA, my, uh…my history, and somehow who I am, is very related to who these people were. So I feel connected to them.
GATES VO: LIKE STING, DEEPAK CHOPRA DESCENDS FROM ANCESTORS WHO SUFFERED UNDER BRITISH RULE.
WE’D EXPLORED THE GOOD FORTUNE DEEPAK’S FATHER FOUND BY COOPERATING WITH THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
BUT WE DISCOVERED THAT HIS GRANDPARENTS, LIKE THE MAJORITY OF INDIANS AT THE TIME, HAD A VERY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE.
BY THE END OF WORLD WAR TWO, THE YEARS OF GROWING UNREST, SPARKED BY MAHATMA GHANDI’S NON-VIOLENT INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT, FINALLY LEAD THE BRITISH TO RELINQUISH THEIR CONTROL.
ON AUGUST 15TH, 1947, BRITISH SOVEREIGNTY OVER INDIA CAME TO A CLOSE. INDIA WAS FREE.
IT WAS A MOMENT INDIANS HAD DREAMED OF FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIVES–INCLUDING DEEPAK’S GRANDPARENTS: SAGAR CHAND AND KESARI CHOPRA.
GATES: Were your grandparents angry at the British?
CHOPRA: Not overtly. I remember my grandmother would often say that the British are stealing our knowledge, that the knowledge of science, of astronomy, of philosophy, of mathematics existed in India long before the British came, you know?
GATES: She was right.
CHOPRA: They were very proud of independent India.
GATES VO: BUT INDEPENDENCE WOULD ALSO BRING CHAOS AND HARDSHIP TO DEEPAK’S GRANDPARENTS.
BEFORE THE BRITISH LEFT, THEY DIVIDED THE SUBCONTINENT INTO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN AND THE HINDU AND SIKH UNION OF INDIA.
WHILE INFANT DEEPAK AND HIS PARENTS WERE SAFE IN NEW DELHI, HIS GRANDPARENTS, WHO HAD BEEN LIVING IN RAWALPINDI FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIVES, SUDDENLY FOUND THEMSELVES AMONSGT THE HINDU MINORITY ON THE ISLAMIC SIDE OF THE BORDER, IN WHAT WAS NOW PAKISTAN.
THE PARTITION, AS IT WAS KNOWN, TRIGGERED ONE OF THE LARGEST MASS MIGRATIONS IN HUMAN HISTORY. APPROXIMATELY 14 MILLION PEOPLE MOVED TO JOIN THEIR RELIGIOUS MAJORITY, AND ROUGHLY ONE MILLION PEOPLE DIED DURING THE INTER-SECTARIAN VIOLENCE.
IN ONE TRAGIC EPISODE, KNOWN TODAY AS ‘THE RAPE OF RAWALPINDI,’ HUNDREDS OF WOMEN CHOSE TO KILL THEIR DAUGHTERS AND THEMSELVES TO AVOID ASSAULT, ABDUCTION, AND DISHONOR. THOUSANDS DIED IN RAWALPINDI ALONE.
DEEPAK’S GRANDPARENTS WERE FORTUNATE: THEY FLED RAWALPINDI BY FIGHTING THEIR WAY ONTO A DANGEROUSLY OVER-CROWDED TRAIN.
WHILE THEY SURVIVED THE HARROWING JOURNEY, ARRIVING SAFELY IN NEW DELHI, SAGAR CHAND DID NOT ESCAPE COMPLETELY UNSCATHED.
GATES: Some of your relatives told us that they thought the Partition played a role in your grandfather’s death. They say the experience was so stressful for him that it weakened his heart. Do you think that’s true?
CHOPRA: It’s very possible, yes. They left their belongings, their house, everything. And I remember when I was growing up, my grandparents would say, human beings are capable of the most atrocious things, but when you see something like this you learn how not to be.
GATES: It’s incredible.
CHOPRA: They were very influenced by the concept of Dharma. That no matter what happens, you know, you always, in the midst of crisis keep your values. We would call it enlightenment.
GATES VO: THE STORY OF DEEPAK’S GRANDPARENTS SPEAKS TO THE INCREDIBLE RESILIENCE OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT.
I WANTED TO TAKE DEEPAK’S FAMILY LINE BACK FURTHER IN TIME–TO RECLAIM HIS EVEN MORE DISTANT ANCESTORS.
THE SEARCH LED TO A HOLY SITE IN INDIA. HARIDWAR–MEANING GATEWAY TO GOD–SITS ON THE BANKS OF THE SACRED GANGES RIVER.
HINDUS AND SIKHS HAVE MADE PILGRIMAGES HERE FOR CENTURIES.
DEEPAK HIMSELF CAME HERE TO HONOR HIS PARENTS…
CHOPRA: I took the ashes of my father and mother to immerse them in the Ganges. When I went I wrote to my grandchildren not yet born.
CHOPRA: ‘One day you’ll come here and you’ll remember that I was thinking of you and the fragrance of your ancestors lingers here right now.
GATES: Ahh, that’s beautiful man.
GATES VO: BUT WHAT DEEPAK WASN’T THE FIRST MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY TO MAKE THIS PILGRIMAGE. IN HARIDWAR, PANDIT PRIESTS KEEP CAREFUL RECORDS OF EVERYONE WHO’S VISITED THE RIVER GANGES. AND LUCKILY FOR US, THESE RECORDS SOMETIMES NAME THEIR ANCESTORS AS WELL.
CHOPRA: Moti Ram and Bhagwan are the sons of Karam Chand and grandsons of Dilbagh Rai’s great-grandsons of Chavve Ram. 1864.
GATES: You recognize any of those names?
GATES: That document takes us further up your family tree back to your sixth great-grandfather. Did you ever think we could go back that far?
CHOPRA: No, I couldn’t.
GATES: Would you please turn the page? And that’s your direct paternal family, your father’s line. Based on the information that we found in the scrolls at Haridwar.
CHOPRA: Totally fascinating. Looking at these gives me a feeling of awe, of reverence, of humility, but also magnificence.
GATES: Magnificence how?
CHOPRA: I’m the magnificent universe disguised as Deepak Chopra. But this opens the door.
GATES: That’s right.
CHOPRA: Chopra’s all the way.
GATES VO: STING AND DEEPAK HAD NOW MET ANCESTORS WHOSE LIVES HAD BEEN CRUELLY RESHAPED BY BRITISH RULE. NOW I WANTED TO DELVE DEEPER INTO THE ROOTS OF SALLY FIELD’S ENGLISH ANCESTORS.
WE HAD INTRODUCED SALLY TO HER 5TH GREAT GRANDFATHER, WHOSE LOYALTY TO THE BRITISH CROWN COST HIM HIS LIFE AND FORCED HIS WIDOW TO FLEE TO CANADA AT THE END OF THE 18TH CENTURY.
NOW I WANTED TO INTRODUCE HER TO AN ANCESTOR WHO RISKED EVERYTHING BY DEFYING THE KING OF ENGLAND, AND WHO PLAYED A PIVOTAL ROLE IN THE BIRTH OF ONE OF THE EMPIRE’S MOST ICONIC COLONIES.
THE STORY STARTS WITH THE GRANDMOTHER SALLY BARELY KNEW– HER FATHER’S MOTHER: JANE FOX.
FIELD: I remember hearing that my grandmother on my father’s side wanted to be a concert pianist, but that her father wouldn’t let her go on stage because it was unladylike.
GATES: But what was that about?
FIELD: Well, I had heard that they came from Puritans. But that strict behavior, um, really clung to that family.
GATES VO: WE DISCOVERED THAT SALLY’S FAMILY STORY WAS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT: SHE DOES HAVE PURITAN ROOTS.
BUT SALLY HAD ASBOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW DEEPLY THOSE ROOTS ACTUALLY RAN.
WE WERE ABLE TO TRACE SALLY FIELD’S PATERNAL LINE ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE 16TH CENTURY–TO A MAN NAMED WILLIAM BRADFORD. WILLIAM BRADFORD IS SALLY’S 10TH GREAT-GRANDFATHER.
WE EVEN FOUND A PORTRAIT OF HIM.
FIELD: Holy sweet Mother of God. (Laughs) Wow. He’s a serious looking fellow.
GATES: We traced his roots to England, in 1590. This is a very long family tree for any of our guests.
GATES: And William was a Puritan.
FIELD: Well, there you go!
Gates: You’re looking at the source, 500 years old!
GATES: Well, Sally it turns out it’s quite a story.
GATES VO: WILLIAM BRADFORD WAS BORN IN AUSTERFIELD, ENGLAND IN 1590. HE WAS ORPHANED AS A YOUNG BOY. FINDING COMFORT AND INSPIRATION IN THE CHURCH, WILLIAM WAS DRAWN INTO THE EMERGING PURITAN MOVEMENT, WHICH DARED TO REJECT THE PRACTICES OF THE MONARCHY’S OFFICIAL RELIGION, THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
KING JAMES THE FIRST VEHEMENTLY RESISTED THE RADICAL REFORM OF HIS CHURCH, AND VOWED TO SUPPRESS ANY DISSENTERS. UNDER HIS ORDERS, PURITANS WERE HUNTED ACROSS ENGLAND.
GATES: Being a Puritan was, effectively, illegal.
FIELD: Oh. That can’t be good.
GATES: In late 1607, your ancestor William Bradford and his fellow Puritans were arrested and thrown in jail with no idea of when he might be released.
FIELD: and it was for religious persecution.
GATES: Totally religious persecution.
FIELD: You just gotta shake your head (Shrugs).
GATES VO: EVEN THOUGH SALLY’S TENTH GREAT GRANDFATHER AND HIS FELLOW PURITANS WERE RELEASED FROM PRISON, THEY KNEW THEY WERE NEITHER FREE NOR SAFE IN ENGLAND.
SO THEY RESOLVED TO FLEE, REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES.
THAT DECISION WOULD CHANGE HISTORY–AND BRING SALLY’S ANCESTORS TO AMERICA IN A MOST EXTRAORDINARY WAY.
WE’VE NEVER HAD A GUEST’S FAMILY ARRIVE IN AMERICA IN A WAY THAT HERS DID.
FIELD: Holy smoke! On the Mayflower. I’ve heard of that ship. (Laughs) As a child I colored pictures of that boat with the crayon thing, and you know.
GATES VO: ON SEPTEMBER 6TH, 1620, WILLIAM AND ANOTHER 101 PASSENGERS BOARDED THE SHIP CALLED THE MAYFLOWER IN PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND AND SET SAIL FOR THE NEW WORLD. TOGETHER THEY HOPED TO CREATE A RELIGIOUS HAVEN IN THE NEWLY FOUNDED COLONY OF VIRGINIA.
ROCKED BY TERRIBLE STORMS, THEY WERE BLOWN SO FAR OFF COURSE THAT THEY FINALLY ARRIVED 66 DAYS LATER ON THE SHORES OF PRESENT DAY MASSACHUSETTS.
GATES: He landed at Plymouth Rock on December 21st, 1620.
FIELD: Wow. You know that’s a kind of bravery that few people can feel now, maybe those people who go off to space but…
GATES: Yeah that’s a good analogy.
FIELD: What must have it … have this been like…
GATES: No roads.
FIELD: No roads. And you- How do you find your way and how would you live through the night much less the winter?
GATES VO: INDEED, THAT FIRST WINTER, THE PILGRAMS WERE FORCED TO HUDDLE TOGETHER IN THE HULL OF THE MAYFLOWER, JUST TO STAY WARM. WITHIN FOUR MONTHS OF THEIR ARRIVAL, HALF OF THEM HAD DIED FROM STARVATION AND DISEASE.
SALLY’S TENTH GREAT-GRANDFATHER, WILLIAM WATCHED HELPLESSLY AS PEOPLE PERISHED ALL AROUND HIM. BUT HE DIDN’T GIVE UP ON THE DREAM OF A NEW COLONY.
GATES: Your tenth great grandfather William Bradford was elected governor of Plymouth Colony and not only was he elected governor. He remained governor for the next 36 years.
FIELD: Wow. Wow, that’s … that’s amazing.
GATES VO: UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF SALLY’S ANCESTOR, AND THE WAMPANOAG, THEIR NATIVE AMERICAN NEIGHBORS, THE PILGRIMS FINALLY GAINED A FOOTHOLD IN THEIR NEW HOME.
AND, INCREDIBLY, WE UNEARTHED THE LETTER DESCRIBING A NOW FAMILIAR EVENT THAT TOOK PLACE IN PLYMOUTH IN THE FALL OF 1621.
FIELD: Many of the Indians coming amongst us whom for three days we entertained and feasted. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us yet by the goodness of god we are so far from want.
GATES: And you know what they were describing?
GATES: The very first Thanksgiving.
FIELD: Well there you go. I’ve always loved
Thanksgiving. It’s always been a big deal.
GATES: Could you please turn the page? Look at that painting.
FIELD: Oh, yeah.
GATES: Now –
FIELD: Okay are you going to tell me one of those is…
GATES: Historians guess that is William Bradford sitting at the head of the table.
FIELD: He hasn’t changed a bit. (Laughs) You’re telling me he presided over the first Thanksgiving?
FIELD: Well hot diddly damn (Laughs) Everybody likes to say oh yeah, I was on- ya know, my herita- we go- my line goes back, we came over on the, you know. We all go, “ah, sure.” So now I can say, yes, well, you know, I really do.
GATES: (OVERLAP) But yours really do.
FIELD: I’m so glad.
GATES VO: WE HAD NOW EXHAUSTED THE PAPER TRAIL FOR ALL THREE OF OUR GUESTS. IN CANADA, ENGLAND, IRELAND, AND IN INDIA AND AUSTRALIA, THE DISTANT OUTPOST OF THE ONCE MIGHTY BRITISH EMPIRE. IT WAS TIME TO SEE WHAT DNA ANALYSIS COULD TELL US.
IN EACH CASE, WE FOUND MORE SURPRISES–SURPRISES THAT ILLUMINATED HISTORICAL PERIODS LONG BEFORE THE SUN FIRST ROSE OR SET OVER THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
DEEPAK’S DNA SHOWED HE HAD ANCESTORS NOT ONLY FROM INDIA–BUT ALSO FROM THE MIDDLE EAST–TESTAMENT TO HUMAN MIGRATION OUT OF THAT REGION HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO…
CHOPRA: Makes sense.
CHOPRA: And they all had lives. They lived, they loved and their fragrance lingers.
STING: Surprise me (Laughs).
GATES VO: STING’S RESULTS TOLD A STORY ABOUT A DIFFERENT MIGRATION…
WHEN GENETICISTS TESTED HIS Y-DNA, INHERITED FROM HIS FATHER’S FATHER’S FATHER’s LINE, THEY FOUND THAT IT MATCHED SIMILAR Y-DNA FROM NORDIC EUROPE, BROUGHT TO THE BRITISH ISLES BY THE VIKINGS!
STING: Fantastic! It doesn’t surprise me emotionally, but to actually see evidence of it is…is astounding. There they are, and they’re part of me. It’s…it’s a wonderful thing. Thank you.
GATES: You see they’re color coded there?
GATES VO: SALLY’S DNA OFFERED HINTS THAT HER PURITAN ANCESTORS MIGHT HAVE BEEN SHARING MORE THAN TURKEY WITH THEIR NATIVE AMERICAN NEIGHBORS.
GATES: The very small segments of YELLOW on chromosomes 10 and 11. That is Native American ancestry.
FIELD: They were up there in those – Massachusetts places and you know, it got lonely.
GATES: It got cold.
FIELD & GATES: (Laughs)
FIELD: I wish there was more. I mean just European 100% would just be dreadful. I mean thank god for that little bit of yellow. You need diversity, we know that. We know that. And if only the world would learn that.
GATES VO: FINALLY, I HAD ONE LAST QUESTION FOR EACH OF MY GUESTS.
GATES: Between your deep American and Canadian roots you’re truly a product of the British empire. Do you feel at some level that you’re British?
FIELD: Sure. You know, my DNA and my history on the paper is so linked to England, but there’s a part of me that feels so deeply rooted in America. You know when people will say where is your lineage? It would always be I come from here.
GATES: Do you feel like you and your ancestors carry the legacy of the once world-wide and invincible British empire?
STING: When I was a kid, we used to look at the map…maps of the world, and it was all red. And this tiny little island had invaded most of the countries of the world and conquered them. It was a kind of pride about it but also a sense of shame, you know. But I think we have to concentrate on…on the things that make us proud about where we come from and um, there’s a lot here that I’m proud of.
CHOPRA: I think of myself as a global citizen and even though I’ve been denigrating the British as plunderers, you have to give credit to a little island that so influenced the world that the sun never set on the British Empire.
GATES: For good and ill.
CHOPRA: Contradiction and paradox is the essence of life.
GATES: Deepak Chopra, thanks so much for allowing us to introduce you to your ancestors.
CHOPRA: It was a great privilege. Very grateful for this.
Skip on Camera
GATES: WE’VE REACHED THE END OF OUR QUEST TO FIND STING, DEEPAK, AND SALLY’S ANCESTORS. JOIN ME NEXT TIME WHEN WE UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF THE PAST FOR THREE NEW GUESTS ON ANOTHER EPISODE OF FINDING YOUR ROOTS.
Episode Credits Print
Finding Your Roots
Episode 208: “The British Empire” – Chopra / Field / Sting
A Film by Kunhardt McGee Productions
and Inkwell Films
In Association with Ark Media
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Peter W. Kunhardt
Leslie Asako Gladsjo
Written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Jessica Xanthe Cran
POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
LINE PRODUCER Stef Gordon
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Austin de Besche
LIGHTING AND ELECTRIC
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Original Score by Michael Bacon
FIELD PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Deborah Clancy Porfido
“Coming Home Ain’t Easy” Written by Gordon Sumner Published by Steerpike (Overseas) Ltd “Coming Home’s Not Easy” Performed by Sting Courtesy of A&M Records
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GENETIC TESTING PROVIDED BY
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