Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson was left shocked and stunned after learning his great-grandfather had been accused of murdering his aunt while tracing his family tree on U.S. genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are?
The Modern Family star recently taped his voyage of ancestral discovery for producer Lisa Kudrow's TV series, and reveals he had no idea there was a dark secret in his family's past.
He tells People.com, "We followed my great-grandfather's line, and I had no information about him at all. He passed away before my dad was even born. "The exploration started with a crazy reveal, and we found some really dark stuff in the very distant past."
Ferguson never met his great-grandfather, but he was surprised to learn of his alleged crime because he was so close to his grandmother - the accused killer's daughter. He continues, "I knew he was the man who raised my grandmother, who I loved so much and I know what kind of woman she turned out to be. I can't imagine anyone who was bad who could raise such a wonderful person."
"I thought it couldn't get any crazier than that moment, and it just kept getting more interesting as we went along. It (tracing your family tree) really does affect you in a very profound way. It's like a ball of yarn. It just keeps unravelling and you want to get to the end."
The actor's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? airs in America on Wednesday night (30Jul14).