Till she appeared on “Discovering Your Roots,” Jamie Chung had no concept that certainly one of her ancestors is a reasonably large deal in Korea.
Rising up in San Francisco, Chung mentioned her immigrant mother and father did not speak a lot about their households’ historical past in South Korea. Her mom, who grew up in poverty, was particularly tightlipped about her upbringing.
Naturally, Chung was curious to learn about her ancestors so she enlisted the assistance of “Discovering Your Roots” host Henry Louis Gates Jr. and made some eye-opening discoveries alongside the best way.
In a latest episode of the PBS present, which aired on Jan. 23, Chung learns that certainly one of her ancestors was tied to a “a lot celebrated second in Korean historical past,” as Gates places it. Her distant cousin did one thing fairly heroic within the 1400s.
The yr was 1455, and on the time, Korea’s king was a 15-year-old named Danjong of Joseon. His short-lived reign met a bloody finish. The younger king’s uncle overthrew him, banished him to a village known as Yeongwol and had him executed.
Danjong’s physique was ordered to be thrown into the native river. His uncle threatened to execute anybody who gave him a correct funeral.
Legend has it that Chung’s distant cousin, who was from Yeongwol, retrieved the younger king’s physique from the river to provide him an honorable funeral. As a substitute of being executed, Chung’s cousin fled his house and remained hidden for the remainder of his life.
“That is fascinating,” Chung says as Gates tells her the story.
“Did you could have any concept that any of your ancestors could be well-known for his or her actions?” Gates asks.
“For his or her kindness,” Chung replies, getting emotional. “No.”
Per Gates, Chung’s distant cousin is revered by Koreans as a “loyal topic to the rightful king” and his act of bravery continues to be celebrated yearly when Yeongwol residents reenact the funeral throughout a pageant. The city is also house to a statue that depicting Chung’s cousin holding the king’s physique.
“No approach!” Chung exclaims when she hears the information. “That is my cousin, 18th eliminated! Wow.”
Throughout the episode, Grant notes that Chung’s connection to the story cannot be independently verified. However the tales she learns from inspecting household data give her an concept of what her household believed about their origins.
The host additionally explains that these are the type of tales that Koreans would have handed down from era to era, and notes that they appeared to have gotten misplaced in her household’s transfer to America.
“I believe they left a bit of themselves in Korea, ? However understanding now that we’ve got such wealthy ancestry and wonderful ancestors, it’s wow. That is priceless,” she says.
The present additionally traced her ancestry again to her paternal 18th great-grandfather, named Chung Geum-Gang, born within the 1300s. Gates help he had a “excessive place within the Korean authorities,” equal to being a deputy prime minister. “He was a giant deal,” Gates says.
“It’s completely flipped my perspective of my household historical past,” Chung says of that revelation.
This text was initially printed on TODAY.com