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Tamera Mowry-Housley reacts to 'insane' ancestry revelation

TODAY 3/30/2023 Chrissy Callahan

Tamera Mowry-Housley is shocked to learn that she has a religious radical in her family tree in the latest episode of "Finding Your Roots."

In an exclusive clip shared with, the actor discovers that her 13th great-grandfather, William Brewster, was an English religious leader who went on to become one of the passengers on the Mayflower in 1620.

The show's host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., explains Brewster was part of an effort to reform the Church of England in the early 1600s, forming a new religion entirely.

Brewster used his home as a church for an underground religious group called the Separatists, who were critical of the Church of England and chose to break away entirely (hence the name).

"He was a religious radical," Gates says. "What's it like to find out that you had a religious radical in your family tree?"

Mowry-Housley's jaw drops and she looks from side to side in amazement.

"I feel seen!" she says and laughs. "That's insane."

But that's not all. Court records from 1607 show that English county officials caught up with the services taking place at Brewster's home and "came after him" and the other Separtists.

“Your 13th great-grandfather was a wanted man,” Gates says.

“In the name of religion,” Mowry-Housley replies.

Brewster and the Separatists moved to Amsterdam in 1608 to escape religious persecution and later, to New England, where they formed the Plymouth Colony.

The episode, which airs on Tuesday, April 4 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS, also features actor Billy Crudup. Recent episodes have featured other high profiles stars like David Duchovny, Richard Kind, Joe Manganiello and Viola Davis.

Mowry-Housley's distant ancestors may be in the spotlight on "Finding Your Roots," but usually, her closest relatives are.

Mowry-Housley rose to fame with her twin sister, Tia Mowry, on the sitcom "Sister, Sister." She recently showed love for Tia Mowry during an October 2022 appearance on TODAY, speaking about her sister's divorce from her husband of 14 years, Cory Hardrict.

“I support her,” Mowry-Housley, 44, said.

“I love her dearly. She is strong, but I know right now she just kind of wants to process it all, take it all in and be a little private about that. And as a sister, I’m just going to respect that,” she continued.

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