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updated: 1/25/2014 2:05 PM

History may tie N.Y. official to Cumberbatch

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  • Louise Brealey, left, as Molly Hooper and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, in a scene from Season 3, "The Empty Hearse" episode of Masterpiece's "Sherlock," which aired on Jan. 19, 2014, on PBS.

      Louise Brealey, left, as Molly Hooper and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, in a scene from Season 3, "The Empty Hearse" episode of Masterpiece's "Sherlock," which aired on Jan. 19, 2014, on PBS.
    Associated Press/provided by PBS

 
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- They share a last name, and perhaps a historical tie to a tragic past.

Stacey Cumberbatch is New York City's new commissioner of administrative services. Benedict Cumberbatch is the British actor known for playing Sherlock Holmes in a popular BBC series, and for his turn as a plantation owner in the Oscar-nominated film, "12 Years a Slave."

Stacey Cumberbatch tells The New York Times that her ancestors were slaves in Barbados, and probably took their distinctive last name from their white owner.

That owner may have been Benedict Cumberbatch's fifth great-grandfather. The actor has talked in interviews about his paternal ancestor's ownership of a plantation in Barbados in the 18th Century.

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