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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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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, history

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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Filed under Ancestral History, education, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Presidents Day, U.S. Presidents

The 83rd Academy Awards

The Family Forest® Project is, among other objectives, Networking Family History with Hollywood™, and it can connect far more people personally, through their own family ties, to Hollywood content than any other digital resource.

For instance, take one of the five Oscar nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Jeff Bridges. After running a Family Forest® kinship report I found some connections to the 83rd Academy Awards within Jeff’s almost 300,000 relatives.

They include two of his co-stars from “True Grit” Matt Damon (19C1R) and Josh Brolin (21C2R), King George VI (17C2R) from “The King’s Speech” who was portrayed by another one of the five Oscar nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Colin Firth, and one of the five Oscar nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Amy Adams (24C2R) for her role in “The Fighter.”

Jeff has many more family ties to previous Oscar winners. They include in order of distance Jane Fonda (6C1R), Bing Crosby (7C2R), Melvyn Douglas (7C2R), Jodie Foster (9C1R), Henry Fonda (9C2R), Katharine Hepburn (9C2R), Michael Douglas (10C), John Huston (10C), Robert Redford (10C), Humphrey Bogart (10C1R), Angelica Huston (10C1R), Jason Robards (10C1R), Joanne Woodward (10C1R), Tim Robbins (11C), Lee Marvin (12C3R), Olivia De Havilland (14C6R), Joan Fontaine (14C6R), Clint Eastwood (18C), Meryl Streep (18C1R), Bette Davis (19C1R), Robert Duvall (19C1R), Liza Minnelli (19C3R), Reese Witherspoon (20C1R), Tom Hanks (20C2R), Jack Nicholson (20C5R), Jane Wyman (21C1R), Audrey Hepburn (21C2R), Marlon Brando (26C4R), Elia Kazan (spouse of a 8C3R), Clark Gable (spouse of a 9C1R), Walter Huston (spouse of a 9C1R), Kim Basinger (spouse of a 10C), Catherine Zeta-Jones (spouse of a 10C), Paul Newman (spouse of a 10C1R), Susan Sarandon (spouse of an 11C), Cliff Robertson (spouse of a 13C5R), Carol Reed (spouse of a 13C4R), Anthony Quinn (spouse of a 15C3R), Nicholas Cage (spouse of a 16C1R), Elizabeth Taylor (spouse of a 16C3R), Grace Kelly (spouse of an 18C), David Niven (spouse of an 18C), Vincente Minnelli (spouse of an 18C4R), Angelina Jolie (spouse of a 19C2R), Spencer Tracy (spouse of a 19C3R), and Goldie Hawn (spouse of a 20C).

Just like Jeff Bridges, anyone who connects to the Royal Channel in the Family Forest® also has family ties to each of these Oscar winners, plus many other Hollywood stars.

Discover your family ties to Hollywood in the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition.

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Filed under 83rd Academy Awards, Ancestors, Colin Firth, Cousins, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Hollywood, Jeff Bridges, Oscar nominee, The King's Speech, True Grit

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