Maria Hinojosa

Exclusive: Maria Hinojosa Learns of Noted Spanish Ancestor on ‘Finding Your Roots’ for PBS

Exclusives, Reality TV

Award-winning NPR journalist Maria Hinojosa was given some amazing family history news by PBS host of Finding Your Roots, Henry Louis Gates. She discovers that her 11 Great-Grandfather Diego founded the city of Monterrey, in Northeastern Mexico.

Henry Louis Gates researched Maria’s lineage, and he produced a paper trail that reached far back in time.

In TV Shows Ace exclusive clip, he says: “We moved north from Tampico to the city of Jimenez and then ultimately across the Atlantic [ocean] to Malaga, Spain.  [This was] where Maria’s 11th great grandfather, a man named Diego de Montemayor, was born around the year 1530.”

He notes that the year is 10 years shy of 500 years ago. He says: “That’s half a millennium!”

This is huge for Maria, who says: “My heart is going pitter, patter.”

Maria  Hinojosa family tree reaches back to Spain

Gates says he is going to tell Maria a little bit about her relative, Diego. He asks her to please turn the page of his team’s exhaustive research.  Gates asks Hinojosa: “This document is dated 1596, would you please read the translated section?”

Maria reads the passage. She says: “In the name of God Almighty, be it known unto all who may see this public document foundation letter how I, Diego de Montemayor, …oh my god, what!…treasurer of the royal treasury of this new kingdom of Leon.”

She continues: “Lieutenant governor and general captain for its construction, by the king our Lord and for the aforesaid, it is by the present that in name of the Royal Majesty of King Don Felipe, our Lord I make the foundation of this metropolitan city what and it will be titled the City of Our Lady of Monterrey…”

At this point, Ms. Hinojosa is fighting back tears.

She says: “Wait so, what…I don’t even know why I’m getting emotional. It’s like I have no relationship to Monterrey but now I’m suddenly realizing that you’re telling me that my 11th great-grandfather was the
the founder… the establisher? Well, he was some kind of a bada**, how did that happen?”

About the series

Finding Your Roots explores the mysteries, surprises, and revelations hidden in the family trees of popular and notable people.

Season Seven offers viewers ten new episodes that continue to air throughout Spring 2021, exploring the ancestry of notable guests including Clint Black, Lewis Black, Gretchen Carlson, Rosanne Cash, Glenn Close, Andy Cohen, Jim Gaffigan, Kasi Lemmons, John Lithgow, Jane Lynch, Audra McDonald, Christopher Meloni, Tony Shalhoub, Nina Totenberg, John Waters, Pharrell Williams and more.

Please watch the exclusive clip that reveals the emotional moment that Ms. Hinojosa realizes her great-grandfather established one of Mexico’s most important and beautiful cities:

Finding Your Roots airs the seventh episode of Season 7 tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13 with the episode “The New World” featuring Maria Hinojosa and John Lithgow on PBS.

April Neale

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