MICHELLE-RODRIGUEZ-FAMILY-TREE

Michelle Rodríguez is known for her hard-core female roles in action-packed flicks.

But now the actress is tak­ing time to trace her famil­ial roots in an episode of PBS’ 10-part series “Find­ing Your Roots,” with Hen­ry Louis Gates, Jr. Oth­er stars and pub­lic fig­ures look­ing into their ances­try with Gates include Har­ry Con­nick, Jr., Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jack­son, John Leg­end, Bran­ford Marsalis, Con­doleez­za Rice, and Bar­bara Wal­ters.

In her episode, Rodríguez, 33, a native Tex­an, heads to the Domini­can Repub­lic, where she comes face-to-face with the fam­i­ly heroes and secrets that her par­ents left behind when they came to the Unit­ed States as immi­grants.  Rodríguez said that she learned a lot from the expe­ri­ence, but was dis­ap­point­ed that her fam­i­ly roots could only be traced back to the 1870s.

“It’s pret­ty gnarly!,” said Rodríguez. “You are fol­low­ing your entire lin­eage and all you’re left with is a paper trail. It doesn’t go as far back as most peo­ple would expect it to.”   “I have friends who are from Europe whose his­to­ry goes back [a lot fur­ther],” Rodríguez said.

“With my her­itage, I’m Dominican/Puerto Rican, it stops as soon as the Indi­ans were killed off,” she added. “That’s the his­to­ry of the tribes and how they would pass down their words. They wouldn’t write it down, they would just pass it down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.”

This was not Rodríguez’s first time look­ing into her geneal­o­gy. As part of “The Geno­graph­ic Project” from Nation­al Geo­graph­ic, Rodríguez sub­mit­ted her DNA to get a bet­ter under­stand­ing of her genet­ic back­ground. The results were com­bined with new evi­dence pro­vid­ed by one of her 10 sib­lings for “Find­ing Your Roots.”

“As part of “The Geno­graph­ic Project,” they com­pare your DNA to the sev­en old­est car­cass­es known to man,” said Rodríguez. “From that they can des­ig­nate what migra­tion your blood line is from.”

Rodríguez expect­ed her blood­line to stem most­ly from the Mon­gol migra­tion across the Bering Straits from 11,000 years ago. “After thou­sands of years of inhab­it­ing and migrat­ing south, we became dif­fer­ent races like the Amer­i­can Indi­ans, the Tain­os, and the Incas,” Rodríguez explained.   “Once Rodríguez’s results came back, she was sur­prised.

“I’m 73% Euro­pean, 23% African and only 4% Indi­an,” Rodríguez said. “When I got the results, I was think­ing it was going to say Amer­i­can Indi­an and maybe some black because my mom is a lit­tle dark skinned and my broth­er is kind of dark skinned too, as was my grand­fa­ther who was a mer­chant from La Cap­i­tal,” Rodríguez said.  See­ing her fam­i­ly tree was an eye-open­er for Rodríguez in oth­er ways as well.  “There were so many cousins that got mar­ried it wasn’t fun­ny,” Rodríguez said laugh­ing. “They liked to keep it in the fam­i­ly.”