Category Archives: film

The War, Veterans Day, and Uncle Donald

Ken Burns is a master at utilizing A People-Centered Approach to History® to stimulate people to do good, which is the goal we are also striving to attain with the Family Forest® Project.

After watching his excellent program on PBS called The War , Kristine was motivated to do further research about her Uncle Donald.

Lieutenant Donald Hays Spangler

 

Like many other young men and women in The War, Lieutenant Donald Hays Spangler was one of those who went off to serve his country, and never returned.

 

Kristine’s Uncle Donald, one of her father’s two brothers, was appointed midshipman at the US Naval Academy on July 8, 1938. After but a very brief naval career, he was killed in action on the USS Atlanta off Savo Island at Iron Bottom Sound, Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands on November 13, 1942.

 

His memory was perpetuated when the USS Spangler (DE-696) was named for him, and Kristine’s paternal grandmother, Myrtle Elizabeth (Blue) Spangler, was the person who christened the ship when it was launched.

 

Lieutenant Donald Hays Spangler’s memory now lives on in several other places on the Internet, as the niece he never knew has discovered, and is hereby passing on to her nieces, nephews, and cousins in this Veterans Day tribute.

 

Veterans Day

5 Comments

Filed under Family, FamilyForest, film, Genealogy, history, television, Veterans Day

Debunking 3 Big Myths about Your Genealogy

New and exciting discovery opportunities will open up for most people, probably including you, when these three emotionally-attached strongholds of common knowledge are exposed for the falsehoods they are.

 

Myth #1: Genealogy is all about your last name.

 

In any other field, anything that represents less than 1% of the whole is considered to be next to nothing. Yet in genealogy, where your last name represents less than 1% of your ancestry most people seem to think genealogy is all about their own surname.

 

The truth is, no matter whether your surname is very unusual or quite common, less than 1% of your own ancestors had your last name, and more than 99% of your own ancestors had different last names.

 

So if almost all of your own ancestors had different last names, this means almost all of your own cousins have different last names, and you may share some of the same ancestors with famous Hollywood actors and actresses, like maybe Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. (see Myth #3 below)

 

Myth #2: All of your ancestors came from ……

 

Many people have grown up believing that all of their ancestors came from Ireland, or Italy, or Norway, or Greece, etc. This is simply not true, even if all four of your grandparents came from the same place.

 

The Big Picture of Genealogy shows that over the centuries your grandparents’ ancestors came from many places. No one has ever had ancestors from only one place, everyone has ancestors from many places, and no matter how geographically identified your surname is, this absolutely includes you.

 

Myth #3: You are not related to anyone famous.

 

You are absolutely related to some famous people, and some of your ancestors were very remarkable people. Some of them were there at key turning points in history, and some of your cousins can be seen on TV. 

 

Discover some of them and become inspired!

 

 P.S. Of course I recommend the Family Forest® New World Edition as the best place to beginning your journey of discovery.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Family Genes, FamilyForest, film, Genealogy, history

Family Ties to the Bourne Ultimatum, Part II

After exploring the descendants of Bourne Ultimatum star Matt Damon’s Stebbins ancestors, I browsed again through the Family Forest® for some of Matt’s other 1600’s ancestors. This time I explored the descendants of his Leonard ancestors.

 

One noticeable difference to Matt’s Stebbins cousins was obvious. Matt’s only Stebbins cousin in the entertainment business (if we’re not counting politicians) I found in the Family Forest® is Clint Eastwood.

 

But Matt’s Family Forest® Leonard cousins must be genetically predisposed toward the entertainment business. They even include the Hollywood icon who has won more Oscars than any other actor or actress, Katharine Hepburn.

 

They also include Katharine Houghton, Lucille Ball, the Baldwin Brothers (Alec, William, Daniel, and Stephen), Anthony Perkins, Raquel Welch, Tahnee Welch, Johnny Carson, Harry Chapin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Gregory Peck.

 

Matt’s non-entertainment Family Forest® Leonard cousins are proportionally much less than his Stebbins cousins. They include Time-Life founder Henry Luce, First Lady Nancy Reagan, Marshall Field IV and V, and George Plimpton.

 

How many times might you have enjoyed a Hollywood motion picture, and not known that you actually share ancestors with the star? Certainly some.

1 Comment

Filed under Family, FamilyForest, film, Genealogy, life, Uncategorized

Family Ties to the The Bourne Ultimatum

 

How many cousins of The Bourne Ultimatum star Matt Damon will watch him when the movie premiers tomorrow, and have no idea they share ancestors with him? Probably plenty!

 

I browsed through the Family Forest® for cousins who share early 1600’s Stebbins ancestors (only one of a number of his early American immigrant families I could have used) with Matt.

 

Many common and not so common surnames appeared, such as Adams and Brown and Johnson and Jones and Smith, to Gerbode and Gildersleeve and Kleberg and Sheehan and Wurts.

 

A number of Matt’s famous and/or prominent Stebbins cousins from the past and present also appeared. They include Emily Dickinson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, all of the descendants of the founder of the King Ranch in Texas, President Rutherford B. Hayes, Vice-President Dick Cheney, presidential candidates Howard Dean and Mitt Romney, two-time baseball All-Star Ray Boone and his All-Star descendants, billionaire Warren Buffett, all of the descendants of Hawaiian missionaries Rev. Amos Starr Cooke and Rev. Samuel Chenery Damon, the owners of Kahua Ranch, and Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood.

 

How many times might you have enjoyed a Hollywood motion picture, and not known that you actually share ancestors with the celebrity star? Certainly some.

 

  

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, FamilyForest, film, Genealogy, history

Lillian Gish to Glenn Close

Inspired by a well-done tribute to early Hollywood legend Lillian Gish on YouTube, I explored a fun web of Kevin Bacon style six-degrees-of-separation connections.  

A Family Forest® kinship report for Lillian Gish reveals mostly everyday people, including probably many who have been enjoying her movies for years without having any idea that they share ancestors with their famous cousin.

 

But among the list of Lillian’s relatives are a number of leaders most people will quickly recognize on the chart. 

 

One of Lillian’s relatives is Glenn Close, and she can be seen starting this week in Damages.

 

Another interesting facet is the relevance of the Common Ancestor column on the chart. Millions of people should be able to quickly recognize one or more of them as their own ancestor.

 

This means that they are not only a cousin of Lillian Gish, but that they are also a cousin of the person Lillian shares that ancestor with.

 

So if you spot one of your own ancestors on the chart you will be connected by family ties to at least two of your famous cousins.

 

I predict that when you discover that you are actually a cousin of Lillian Gish, or Glenn Close, or Richard Gere, or Clint Eastwood, etc., you will also discover that you are magnetically drawn to their movies and/or TV series.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Family Genes, FamilyForest, film, Genealogy, history, Hollywood Silent Films

Britney Spears and a Pivotal Moment at Jamestown

I just came across an interesting entry in a lineage book of the National Society Daughters of Colonial Wars (NSDCW). It said that Richard Pace “PREVENTED THE ENTIRE COLONY OF JAMESTOWN FROM BEING ELIMINATED BY WARNING AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE OF THE INDIAN MASSACRE OF 22 MAR 1622.”

 

According to the ancestral history already digitally mapped out in the Family Forest®, Richard Pace is one of the 11th great-grandfathers of Britney Spears (Britney is another distant cousin of mine, through our Briquebec Castle ancestor).

 

According to recorded history, Richard Pace was warned of the impending massacre by the Indian who was assigned to kill Richard.

 

Richard used this knowledge to save the lives of people who became the ancestors of countless millions of people living today. Among the immediate beneficiaries of this warning was at least one of my own ancestors.

 

Also according to the ancestral history already digitally mapped out in the Family Forest®, Peter Montague, arrived in Jamestown in 1621. I am descended from Peter’s son, also named Peter, who was born in the 1630’s.

 

If Richard Pace had not survived his planned assassination and gone on to warn the Jamestown Colony, if Peter Montague had not survived the Indian massacre, if one of my 8th great-grandfathers had never been born, would I have never been born? Or would I have been born as someone else?

 

History pivots on small events. If one Indian had not disobeyed his Chief, there would be no Family Forest® today, and maybe no Britney Spears (her 10th great-grandfather George Pace was born well before the massacre, and may or may not have been at Jamestown at the time).

 

Bruce Harrison

Ancestral History Tour Guide and Cartographer

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under education, Family, Family Genes, film, Genealogy, history, internet, life, teaching, television, Travel, Uncategorized

“The Tudors” on Showtime

The Tudors

When Kristine and I recently saw an episode of “The Tudors” on Showtime, we turned to the Family Forest® as a program.

 

In this application we used the Family Forest® not so much as a program in the software sense; it is similar to a digital version of a program one buys at a baseball game or receives at a Broadway Show. We use it to learn more about the characters, who they were and how they fit into the actual unfolding of history, so we receive more enjoyment from the performance.

 

Most of the key characters from “The Tudors” are already very extensively lineage-linked in the Family Forest®. This means they are connected to generation-by-generation lines of descent leading into the future, and/or generation-by-generation lines of ancestral pathways leading for a number of centuries into the past. Some of them are connected through family ties to hundreds of thousands of individual relatives from their future and their past.

 

We focused on a downstream view (from the past moving toward the future) of the father of the famous Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas Boleyn Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond see what resulted from his life over the following centuries. A few mouse-clicks in the Family Forest® produce surprising counterintuitive results.

 

Although he was a relatively minor player in the court of King Henry VIII (other than being his father-in-law), his descendants spread far and wide over the centuries. Some became heir to the British throne, some settled in places like Fairmont, WV and Elkader, IA and Paris, AR, and some appear on TV.

 

Prince William and Prince Harry are descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn via their mother, Princess Diana, and via their paternal grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. Their new step-mother, the Duchess of Cornwall, and their aunt, Sarah Ferguson, are also both descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn.

 

A number of Pocahontas’ descendants are also descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn, as are the children of Charles Lindberg, Governor Howard Dean, and President Teddy Roosevelt.

 

The founder of the great oil enterprise that eventually became Exxon, John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. is descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn, and so are Hollywood performers such as Rachel Ward of “The Thorn Birds” and Cary Elwes.

 

Whenever you are watching an episode of “The Tudors” on Showtime, I hope you will remember this post about just one of the many characters, and consider the very likely possibility that one or more of your own ancestors are being portrayed on the show.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under education, Family, film, history, internet, life, teaching, television, Travel, Uncategorized