Category Archives: Ancestral History

Tim McGraw on WDYTYA

This is another worthwhile and well-done episode available online here from the team that creates the Who Do you Think You Are? program on NBC.

My favorite part is seeing how proudly people react to discovering and sharing with relatives that they have actual family ties to historical places, historical events, and real historical figures, and in this case, to two of Tim’s heroes.

It was interesting watching the story unfold leading up to being able to tell Tim that his hero George Washington knew Tim’s ancestors, and another one of Tim’s ancestors came to America with one of Elvis’ ancestors.

I wonder how Tim and his family will react when they discover that, according to recorded history, they actually share ancestors with George Washington, Elvis Presley, General Patton, Reese Witherspoon, and many other well-known people?

The Family Forest® is now capable of generating a huge number of relationship charts connecting Tim and his children through common ancestors to most of the key people, places, and events in human history, as well as to many of Tim’s entertainment collegues, and probably even more importantly, to Tim’s fans and potential fans.

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The Kindness of Strangers

A new Family Forest® customer wrote “Actually, I had no idea about that. Thank you so much! That’s fabulous! Most of my information is from census records and marriage records, which, as you know, are quite impersonal. I will definitely have to check out that book.” 

Elizabeth was writing about a story our ancestral history tour guide service discovered about one of her own ancestors. 

With two of his brothers and their father, young Samuel Boyd was in a skirmish in South Carolina in the American Revolution. He was left for dead after a musket ball passed through his temple and took out his right eye. An old colored woman found him and took care of him until he was able to get away. 

He did not have any children at the time, but after surviving a shot to the head, he went on to become an early pioneer settler in Kentucky and father of a large family of children who became the ancestors of many living people today. 

What if that kind old colored woman had not befriended Samuel at that critical time? Would his descendants have never been born? Or would they have been born as someone else? 

While we’ll never know the answer to that, we do know something else for certain. History pivots on small events, including the kindness of a stranger. 

The story about Samuel’s pivotal Revolutionary event and his ensuing full life begins on page 121 in the 1892 Autobiography and Sermons of Elder Elijah Martindale by Belle Stanford.

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Presidents’ Day

 Do you know this about President George Washington and other presidential trivia?

Do you know how this day in history Washington’s Birthday became known as Presidents’ Day?

 Do you know why President Bush, Senator Kerry and FamilyForest.com were featured in USA Today?

 Do you know why CBS News did a story on President Bush that mentioned his connection to Hugh Hefner? 

Do you know why Walt Disney, President Bush and President Obama are mentioned in this NPR story? 

Do you know which ancestors of President Barack Obama link him to U.S. Presidents?

Do you know how to search for US Presidents in the Family Forest® National Treasure?

Do you know President Lincoln and Charles Darwin share birthdays? 

Do you know President Lincoln and President Obama share ancestors?

 Do you know what an Ancestors-at-a-glance fan chart looks like for President William Taft? 

Happy Presidents’ Day!

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It is Well with My Soul

Last Sunday we were treated to a captivating organ recital at church by our organist and choir director, Dwight Beacham. Before he played “It is Well with My Soul” he told us the poignant story behind the hymn.

Horatio Gates Spafford was a prominent lawyer in Chicago, IL who had suffered devastating losses as a prelude to writing this popular hymn. Two years after his family had lost all of their possessions in a fire in 1871, he was planning to take his wife and four young daughters, aged two to eleven, aboard the steamer “Ville de Havre” to visit Europe.

He was unable to leave with them and expected to catch up with them soon. Before he could, he received news of the sinking of the “Ville de Havre” in which 287 people perished. The terse telegram message from his wife Anna said only “Saved alone.”

Horatio wrote “It is Well with My Soul” while at sea passing over the site of that tragedy on his way to reach his wife.

So I came home and quickly discovered that Horatio Gates Spafford was not yet in the Family Forest and that I needed to do some research to connect him in (no one gets into the Family Forest until they are connected by birth, marriage or occassionally adoption to someone who is already in).

Before I found Horatio I found his father, also named Horatio Gates Spafford. He was mentioned in a book of letters written by Thomas Jefferson, who held Horatio, Sr. in high regard.

Last night I ran a Family Forest kinship report for Horatio the hymnist. It was relatively short as far as these reports go, 60 pages versus the normally 6,000 plus pages for anyone who has been connected into the royal channel, and I was expecting to see only a couple of recognizible names.

Instead, I found the person associated with the term “And You Were There,” Walter Cronkite (6C3R), playwright Tennesse Williams (also 6C3R), and seven US Presidents. They were President Arthur (6C), both Presidents Bush (6C4R and 6C5R), President Ford (6C4R), President Cleveland (husband of a 6C2R), President Garfield (6C1R), and President Hoover (4C4R).

I wonder if any of those presidents knew of their family ties to those four little girls who lost their lives to bring this hymn to so many people?

I wonder how many everyday people know of their family ties to this hymn and the story behind it?

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Filed under Ancestral History, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, history, Horatio Gates Spafford, Spafford, Ville de Havre

Free Gift for A Thoughtful Answer

Thinking well can payoff. For a limited time during the holidays, just email us a reasonable answer to any one of these ten questions, and you can download a Family Forest® Ancestral History eBook of your choice at absolutely no charge.

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Kate Middleton’s Other Famous Relatives

An Associated Press news story Tuesday reported on some of Kate Middleton’s famous relatives. All of the connections they announced, plus many more networked connections, could have been explored visually a year ago in the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition.

The Family Forest® Project is, among a number of other objectives, Networking Family History with Hollywood™. If we explore the descendants of Kate’s Fairfax ancestors who were mentioned in the AP article, we find some interesting entertainment and celebrity cousins of Kate.

She has several cousins associated with comedy, such as talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Alec Baldwin who portrayed his 14C2R last week on The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and Cheers star Ted Danson.

Other Fairfax cousins are AOL founder Steve Case, incoming Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, and 2010 World Series ­­­participants President George Herbert Walker Bush and President George Walker Bush.

If we widen the net just a little further by backing up one more generation to Sir William Gascoigne, also mentioned in the AP article, we find more of Kate’s entertainment and celebrity cousins. They include Anthony Perkins, Cary Elwes, Christopher Reeve, Grace Slick, Hilary Duff, Montgomery Clift, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Ferguson, Mitt Romney, and U.S. Presidents Taft and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Family Forest® Ancestors-at-a-glance(TM) charts for most of the above mentioned cousins of future queen Kate Middleton can be found here. And for more thought-provoking edutainment, you can visually explore Kate’s and Prince William’s generation-by-generation ancestral pathways leading to many of human history’s most famous ancestors in the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition.

Everyday folks (See FAQ #4), like me, make up most of Kate’s hundreds of thousands of relatives she is already networked to in the Family Forest®. Maybe you or one of your ancestors are one of them?

Just Kate’s known Gascoigne cousins (all royally descended) have surnames including Abbott, Aborn, Adams, Alexander, Allen, Allyn, Ambler, Ames, Anderson, Armistead, Armstrong, Arnold, Asbury, Atkinson, Atteberry, Auchincloss, Austin, Avery, Babbitt, Babcock, Bacon, Bailey, Baker, Baldwin, Ball, Bankhead, Baptist, Barbour, Barker, Barksdale, Barney, Barrett, Bartlett, Barton, Bassett, Beasley, Beauchamp, Bedinger, Beebe, Bellingham, Benning, Benson, Bethell, Bigelow, Billingsley, Bingham, Black, Bladen, Block, Blodgett, Bohannan, Bolton, Bonfils, Booker, Bosworth, Bowen, Bradley, Brattle, Breed, Brewster, Briggs, Brill, Brockway, Brown, Browne, Browning, Bruce, Bryan, Buck, Buckner, Bulkley, Bullock, Burlingame, Burr, Burrows, Burrus, Burwell, Bush, Butler, Button, Byars, Brydges, Byrd, Brydon, Byrne, Cabell, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callaway, Carpenter, Carrier, Carrington, Carter, Cavendish, Chamberlayne, Champlin, Chapman, Chesebro, Chesebrough, Chesley, Christophers, Churchill, Clark, Clarkson, Cobb, Cobbs, Cochran, Cocke, Coit, Colburn, Coleman, Coles, Colfax, Comstock, Cone, Converse, Cooch, Cooke, Cookson, Costello, Cotton, Cox, Crabtree, Crackenthorpe, Crisman, Crocker, Crosby, Cushman, Daingerfield, Dale, Dallas, Daniel, Davidson, Davies, Davis, Day, Dean, Dearborn, Denison, Denniston, Dewey, Dickinson, Dietz, Dillard, Dimmock, Dixon, Dodge, Dougherty, Dowsling, Drake, Duff, Dulany, Durfee, Early, Edmondson, Edrington, Egerton, Eldredge, Ellis, Elwes, Empie, Erickson, Fain, Fairfax, Farwell, Fenwick, Ferguson, Fernsley, Fish, Fisher, Fiske, Fitzhugh, Foote, Foraker, Forbes, Forrest, Foster, Fowler, Franklin, Freeman, Frost, Fry, Fuller, Furlow, Gallup, Gammons, Gardner, Garnsey, Garth, Gates, Gatewood, Geer, Giddings, Gillespie, Glassell, Glenn, Goddard, Goff, Goggin, Good, Gordon, Gore, Gorsuch, Grafton, Grant, Green, Greene, Greenhow, Griffith, Griffin, Guernsey, Guest, Guile, Gwathmey, Hale, Hall, Hallam, Hamilton, Hancock, Harlow, Harris, Harrison, Hazard, Helm, Henderson, Henley, Henry, Herbert, Hereford, Herman, Herrick, Hill, Hinckley, Hoag, Hodges, Holcombe, Holliday, Holmes, Hood, Hopkins, Hopton, Hosford, Hotchkiss, Hough, Howard, Hubard, Hull, Hummer, Hunt, Hunter, Huntington, Hurlbut, Hutchison, Hyde, Ingraham, Ince, Ingram, Irving, Isham, James, Jenkins, Jewett, Johnson, Joiner, Joliffe, Jones, Keim, Kellogg, Kelton, Kenney, Kennon, Keppel, Keyser, Kidd, Kimball, King, Kingman, Kingsbury, Kingsley, Kurtz, Lascelles, Ladd, Langworthy, Larrabee, Latham, Lea, Leake, Leonard, Lewandowski, Lewis, Lightfoot, Lightner, Lincoln, Logan, Lott, Lovell, Lowndes, Lucas, Lukens, Lumbert, Lumley, Mackworth, Madison, Main, Mallory, Manley, Mann, Manners, Manwaring, Marbury, Marshall, Martin, Mason, Maury, Maxson, McCampbell, McDonnell, McGuire, McIlhenney, McMullin, McPherson, Mead, Meade, Meadows, Meriwether, Merritt, Miller, Mills, Milner, Miner, Minor, Mitchell, Moncure, Montague, Moore, Moran, Morris, Morton, Muir, Mullikin, Mumford, Munroe, Murray, Nelson, Nicklin, Nourse, Noyes, Nye, Ogle, Olivier, Osborne, Otis, Oviatt, Owen, Packer, Packett, Page, Paine, Palmer, Parks, Parlin, Patrick, Patten, Patterson, Patteson, Patton, Payne, Peabody, Pearce, Peck, Peckham, Pendleton, Perine, Perkins, Perry, Peterson, Peyton, Phelps, Phillips, Pierce, Pillow, Place, Poindexter, Pomeroy, Porter, Prentice, Preston, Price, Putnam, Quarles, Randall, Randolph, Rathbone, Raymond, Reade, Reed, Reilly, Reynolds, Rhodes, Rice, Richards, Richardson, Richmond, Ridgway, Ripley, Rives, Robertson, Robins, Robinson, Robson, Robson, Rogers, Roman, Romney, Root, Roper, Ross, Rowley, Royster, Russell, Ryan, Sale, Saltonstall, Sampson, Sandys, Satterlee, Scarborough, Schlesinger, Schroeder, Scott, Scruggs, Scudder, Sedgwick, Selden, Shackmaple, Shattuck, Sheldon, Shepard, Shrewsbury, Simpson, Sinclair, Singleton, Slaughter, Sloan, Smith, Snicker, Sorley, Spencer, Spilman, Spotswood, Stanton, Starling, Stearns, Stebbins, Steele, Stevenson, Stokes, Stone, Stringer, Strode, Sullivan, Sumner, Swan, Swartwout, Sykes, Tabb, Taintor, Talboys, Taliaferro, Tallmadge, Tasker, Tayloe, Taylor, Tennison, Terry, Thiot, Thomas, Thompson, Thomson,  Thornton, Throckmorton, Thurber, Tiernan, Tiffany, Tilley, Todd, Topping, Tracy, Trumbull, Truscott, Tucker, Tunstall, Turner, Tyndell, Underwood, Van Zandt, Venable, Villiers, Von Dohlen, Walker, Wallop, Walton, Walworth, Ward, Warfield, Warner, Washburn, Washington, Waterhouse, Wattles, Watson, Weaver, Webster, Weeks, Wertenbaker, West, Wheeler, Wheaton, Whipple, White, Whitner, Whitney, Wickham, Wigglesworth, Wightman, Wiley, Williams, Willis, Willoughby, Wilson, Windsor, Wingfield, Wood, Woodbridge, Woodford, Woods, Woodville, Woolfolk, Wordsworth, Worthington, Wyndham, Yeomans, York, and Young.

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Ancestry, Cousins, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Family History, Genealogy, Hollywood, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Royalty

Warrior Genes

Here’s a Veterans’ Day question. What do the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War I and the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II have in common?

One answer appears to be warrior genes.

According to the recorded history mapped out and networked in the Family Forest®, and summarized in this computer-generated Family Forest® relationship chart, both Sergeant Alvin York and Audie Murphy are descended from Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy.

According to his Wikipedia profile, Sir Henry Percy “early acquired a great reputation as a warrior.”

Who would have been more surprised? Would it have been Sir Henry Percy to learn that two of his descendants each also acquired a great reputation as a warrior? Or would it have been Sergeant York and Audie Murphy to discover they both shared the same famous warrior ancestor?

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Filed under Ancestral History, Audie Murphy, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Family Genes, Genealogy, Sergeant Alvin York, Sir Henry Percy, Veterans Day, World War II

An Important Message and Lesson

I just read a short preface in a book that was written more than a century ago. If you have any interest in discovering more of your ancestors, it is valuable for you to read it.

It illuminates how some of our ancestors were thinking long before we were born, and more importanly, it reveals a secret that genealogy big business does not want you to know.

In 1894 Guy Scoby Rix began a valuable 20-year genealogy research project that includes parts of the ancestry of probably more than one million living people. From Concord, NH in 1905, he wrote the preface to his work. It reveals his character, his intentions, and his commitment to accuracy.

Over the centuries there have been thousands of people like Mr. Rix who have published similar works on different families. Isn’t it much smarter to find out what knowledge is contained in those works, before spending tedious efforts sifting through raw unfiltered data?

The next time someone suggests that the first place for you to begin searching for your ancestors is in the raw data that hundreds or thousands of oftentimes very qualified people have been combing through for decades if not centuries, ask them, why?

Isn’t it best to find out first what the experts have already discovered? Why use any of your valuable research time to search for what’s already been found?

Naturally, I strongly recommend that the best starting point for ancestral history is our high quality tour guide service (the primary Family Forest® or some of it’s  hundreds of secondary publications.

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Before there was a U.S.S. Spangler

We recently learned of the U.S.S. Spangler reunion which will be starting on Monday October 25, 2010 in San Antonio, TX.

Prompted by a great visit from Kristine’s cousin Jeannie, both nieces of the Purple Heart recipient the ship was named for, we began reading through a large stack of Uncle Donald’s letters and clippings that were still in the possession of his only living sibling and my outstanding father-in-law, nonagenarian Robert Kent Spangler.

Amid the sorrow of losing so much promise so early, what fun it was! New discoveries led to other new discoveries.

For instance, we found a letter written on the Fourth of July 1943 to Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Myrtle Elizabeth (Blue) Spangler (Donald’s mother, Mrs. Spangler christened the U.S.S. Spangler).

It was from Miss Velma V. Vogelman of Baltimore, MD who knew Donald from his Naval Academy days. She had just learned of his death through LIFE magazine, and she was writing on the anniversary of a significant day.

“On July 4, 1940 he came to Baltimore and spent the day with me and my parents. This day I shall always remember as one of the happiest in my life. He spoke often of his home and parents and how he would have enjoyed spending that particular day with you in Albion, Ind.”

We had never heard of a mention of Uncle Donald in LIFE. So we used Google Books and quickly found it in print in the July 5, 1943 issue on page 21.

We’re looking forward to following up on other discoveries from the letters and clippings. What other interesting insights to history are waiting to be found?

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Cousins, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Fourth of July, Genealogy, history, Independence Day, Reunion, Uncategorized, USS Spangler, Veterans Day, Women's History Month, World War II

The Power of Goal Setting Proven by a US Senator

Long before Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” at least one person was actually demonstrating the power of goal setting.

Often when Ancestry.com announces some discovery they have just made, I look in the Family Forest® and find that we already have most or more of that same information already networked. This time we were lacking Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

So while searching for any ancestral history that links to Ann Coulter, I found an 1893 book titled Creoles of St. Louis.

The book starts with a young girl, Marie Therese Bourgeois, who was “Left an orphan at a tender age, was placed under the care of the Ursuline Nuns at New Orleans, La., where she married, in 1749, Rene Auguste Chouteau, a native of Bearn, France. He came to New Orleans in early youth and engaged in business, and at the time of his death was possessed of considerable means.”

Before I found out who the author was talking about, I ran into the following passage on page 118 about one of that young orphan girl’s descendants.

Upon his leaving home he left the following document with his mother: “St. Genevieve, Mo., Jan. 16, 1832. On this day I left home, under charge of Mr. William Shannon, an old friend of my father, to go to Kaskaskia to study law in the office of Judge Pope. My education is very limited, but with hard study I may overcome it; I am determined to try and my intention is to return to my native State to practice law if I can qualify myself, and while doing so to become U. S. Senator from my native State, and to work for this until I am sixty years of age. I will pray to God to give me the resolution to persevere in this intention. I have communicated this to my mother and given her this paper to keep, so help me God.” In January, 1873, he was elected U.S. Senator from Missouri, and in the April following he was sixty years of age.

That determined young man who actualized his goal was US Senator Louis Vital Bogy.

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