Julia Roberts, one of the most recognizable names on the planet, is not actually Julia Roberts. Introducing… Julia Mitchell?
This Beautiful woman Star on Ancestry Finding Your Roots Henry Louis Gates Jr. where he (along with the rest of us) learned that his great-great-grandfather probably couldn’t be a Roberts. Gates Jr. revealed his research on Julia’s family tree.
Julia’s great-grandfather, John Pendleton Roberts, was born in 1878, as noted in Georgia’s 1880 census. He lived with his mother – Julia’s great-great-grandmother – named Rhoda Suttle Roberts. (The 55-year-old Oscar-winning actress stated she had never heard of Rhoda before.) However, John’s father is “missing” from any official record.
In the 1850s, Rhoda married a man named Willis R. Roberts – now named Julia – but she passed away in 1964, “more than a decade” before Rhoda gave birth to Julia’s great-grandfather.
“Julia, Willis Roberts can’t be your great-great-grandfather,” Gates Jr. “He was dead.”
“But wait a minute. Am I not a Roberts?” the actress asked.
Gates Jr. said there are no records in Douglas County listing John’s father. Julia and one of her father’s first cousins sent DNA samples, and Ancestry matched them to another grandchild, thanks to their public database.
“We finally found a bunch of matches that tied Julia and her cousin to one man,” Gates Jr. explained. Julia then read the name aloud: “Henry McDonald Mitchell Jr.”
“You read the name of your biological great-great-grandfather,” Gates Jr. said.
“So we’re Mitchells?” asked Julia.
“You’re Julia Mitchell,” Gates Jr. confirmed, causing Julia to burst into laughter. “You’re not a Roberts biologically.”
Looking at the 1880 census, Gates Jr. theorized why Rhoda didn’t reveal who John’s father was: Mitchell Jr. is listed as living with his wife, a woman named Sarah, and their six children. Mitchell Jr. lived a few miles from Rhoda, and his mother lived just four houses down from him.
Julia said, “Sarah is probably going to say, ‘You’re going to see your mom, that’s so cute!’ said,” Julia mocked.
“On the one hand, I’m out of my mind, and it’s fascinating. On the other hand, when I’m calmer, there’s a part of me that can still wrap my arms around the idea that, you know, my family is my family,” added the actress.
Julia then laughed, “And I prefer the name Roberts! Yes, that was a very unexpected turn.”
Watch Julia Roberts learn she’s not actually a Roberts