Tracy Morgan Tearfully Discovers Great-Grandfather's WWI Service

Tracy Morgan Discovers Remarkable Ancestral Ties on TV Show

by Zain ul Abedin
Tracy Morgan Tearfully Discovers Great-Grandfather's WWI Service
© Mike Coppola/Getty Images

In an emotionally stirring episode of PBS's "Finding Your Roots," celebrated comedian and former "Saturday Night Live" star, Tracy Morgan, encountered a profound revelation about his ancestry. The show, known for delving into the familial histories of notable figures, unveiled to Morgan that his great-grandfather, Alexander Julius, had served in World War I, a discovery that left the usually boisterous comedian lost for words.

Hosted by the esteemed historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr., this week's episode not only illuminated Morgan's lineage but also provided insight into Broadway sensation Anthony Ramos's heritage. The episode, which promises to captivate audiences, features a poignant moment where Morgan, aged 55, learns of his great-grandfather's drafting in 1917.

Gates, 73, guides Morgan through historical records, revealing Julius's service as a private, including his departure from Hoboken, New Jersey, to France on September 29, 1918. Morgan's reaction, a mixture of pride and overwhelming emotion, underscores the significance of this discovery.

"No words. Just proud. Just proud," he expresses, visibly moved. This moment of historical connection resonates deeply with Morgan, who wishes for all the males in his family to know of their ancestor's bravery and service.

Nas: Morgan's Unexpected Kin

Adding to the surprises, Morgan learns of a familial connection to renowned rapper Nas.

Recounting this revelation on the "Connect the Dots" podcast in December, Morgan shares how he and Nas, whom he has known for years, are genetic third cousins. This unexpected link, discovered during the show's research, adds a personal dimension to their long-standing friendship.

"Finding Your Roots" continues to reveal startling connections and heritage stories for its guests. This season has witnessed "Better Call Saul" actor Bob Odenkirk discovering his linkage to European royalty, singer Ciara learning about her great-grandfather's life on a South Carolina cotton farm, and "The View" panelist Sunny Hostin uncovering surprising details about her indigenous Puerto Rican ancestry.

Tracy Morgan's episode, a blend of emotional depth and historical discovery, showcases the power of genealogy in connecting us with our past. Audiences can tune in to this compelling journey of self-discovery on "Finding Your Roots," airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on PBS.