Category Archives: television

John Adams on HBO portrayed by relative

Kristine and I have been very absorbed in an excellent HBO edutainment mini-series presentation of “John Adams” by the very captivating historian, author, and Medal of Freedom recipient, David McCullough.

 

Mr. McCullough clearly employs one of the two concepts behind MPC’s trademark A People-Centered Approach to History®, history as seen through the lives of the people who created it. The other concept behind the trademark is that individuals within the Family Forest® can instantly become a central hub, the starting point to spoke out and visually explore family ties generation by generation, very often for many centuries.

 

Family ties are already so extensively networked in the Family Forest® that Paul Giamatti, the Hollywood actor who so engagingly portrays John Adams, is actually lineage-linked to many of the key characters in the mini-series, including John Adams himself.

 

The list also includes Adams’ wife Abigail (Smith) Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and many of the other signers of the Declaration of Independence, David McCullough, and the co-executive producer of “John Adams,” Tom Hanks.

 

But far more important than connecting celebrities and famous people to each other through family ties, the Family Forest® is the best digital central source for personally connecting many millions of everyday people to key historical figures and events.

 

While they may not yet be able to start in the Family Forest® with themselves or their children, as can Tom Hanks, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Crown Prince Pavlos of GreeceMartin Scorsese, Britney Spears, Barbra Streisand, Lucille Ball, Barack Obama, President Bush, Prince William and Prince Harry, etc., most of those countess millions of everyday people have one or more ancestors within the last few centuries who are already linked-in.

 

It’s one thing to abstractly say “We’re all related.” It’s quite another to visually explore the maps of generation-by-generation family ties in the Family Forest® which connect us personally (according to recorded history) to the historical characters and events we see on HBO and at the movies, in Vanity Fair and other people-centered magazines, and in our children’s text books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl is an ancestral history movie just premiering this weekend. It focuses on Lady Mary Boleyn, the elder sister of Queen Anne Boleyn, and the aunt of Queen Elizabeth I.

 

The trailer looked compelling, and I followed up by checking the Family Forest® to see what we have already on Lady Mary Boleyn.

 

She had at least two children, and they are recorded in history as having the surname of Lady Mary’s husband, William Carey, Esq. Some historians disagree about their paternity, and claim their actual father is King Henry VIII. If so, their descendants are the only known descendants of Henry VIII.

A 20-generation descendant view of Lady Mary Boleyn in the Family Forest®shows many of her descendants with common surnames, and they include a sizable number of people who are also descendants of Princess Pocahontas.

Lady Mary also has a number of famous descendants, including John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Prince William and Prince Harry, Hollywood actor Cary Elwes, Sarah Ferguson, Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin, Anne Spencer (Morrow) Lindbergh, Governor Howard Dean, Rep. Mac Thornberry and Internet founder Tim Berners-Lee.

 

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FamilyForest.com on NPR

Since I frequently enjoy listening to NPR, I was very surprised to discover today that

Alex Cohen had been talking on NPR  about the highly praised

Family Forest® Project back in October.

 

The story discusses the celebrity family ties of President Bush, and refers to

Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, John Kerry, Brooke Shields, Clint Eastwood,

Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, and Walt Disney.

 

Maybe what surprised me the most was finding out that the chief family historian

at the genealogy goliath Ancestry.com, Megan Smolenya said she was surprised

to find out that someone had actually found some of these family ties. This shouldn’t

still be a secret in the genealogy community, as we have been posting many of these

and other fascinating ancestral history findings from the Family Forest® for a number

of years at our website and at our blog. 

 

My crystal ball says that before the 2008 Presidential Election most researchers

and international journalists will discover how much fun and how helpful it is to look in

the Family Forest® New World Edition to see the visual illustrations behind

these types of political stories, as well as countless celebrity stories and

general history stories.

 

 

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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

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The King Maker

After a very productive morning of growing the Family Forest®, Kristine and I were aimlessly channel-surfing on our lunch break, until we were captured by a Travel Channel program about some famous castles in England and Scotland. Ever since I discovered that I have ancestors who lived in castles I’ve been captivated by the spellbinding magic of the type of stories and dramatic videography this program was so rich with.

 

Most of the key people in the stories surrounding many of the famous castles (like Warwick and Edinburgh) which were featured in this particular program, are already in the Family Forest® New World Edition and waiting for visual exploration of their multi-century generation-by-generation family ties.

 

The person who I was most curious to check on first was Earl Richard Neville, known to history as “The King Maker.” So I typed king maker into the search window of the Family Forest® and he instantly appeared, along with highlights of his life, including the quote that he was “probably the most potent noble in the whole range of English history.”

 

My curiosity continues with a number of questions. Where did he come from? What is known about his ancestors? Who is he related to? Who are some of his known descendants today?

 

So I started one of the explorations by bringing up a downstream view of a map of his known Family Forest® descendants, for just the first 20 generations. A number of instantly recognizable people quickly appeared, including of course the British Royal Family, as well as several of their spouses.

 

One of his Hollywood actor descendants who caught my eye was Rupert Everett who first came to my attention in “Boston Legal,” and later for his portrayal of King Charles II in “Stage Beauty.” Rupert has also portrayed other real historical figures, such as in “Shakespeare in Love” and in “The Madness of King George,” and he would be an excellent candidate for the actor to portray Earl Richard Neville (one of his own ancestors) whenever a movie is made about The King Maker.

 

At some point I expect Hollywood casting directors to discover what an excellent tool Hollywood the Family Forest® is for quickly discovering which actors and actresses are actually connected through family ties to real characters in historical films or programs that are being planned. I also expect that Hollywood PR directors will soon begin discovering the untapped potential of ancestral marketing.

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Ted Danson in Damages

Kristine and I watched Damages and I turned to the Family Forest® to see if there were family ties connecting the two stars, Ted Danson and Glenn Close.

 

As often happens when I go exploring in the Family Forest®, I got sidetracked from the original mission. First I visited the Captain’s Log archives and rediscovered the interesting ancestral story relating to Cheers.

 

I also found that I had not yet done a story I had intended to do about Ted in his role as Lemuel Gulliver in the 1996 movie Gulliver’s Travels.  I wonder if Ted knows that according to recorded history, he is a distant cousin of “Gulliver’s Travels” author Jonathan Swift?

 

Then I went looking for ancestors Ted Danson and Glenn Close may share. One potential common ancestor who caught my eye, probably because of my two recent

Bourne Ultimatum posts was Ted’s ancestor Thomas Bourne who came to Plymouth, MA in 1636 and was “the eldest of the Marshfield settlers.”

 

Glenn Close did not appear as one of Thomas Bourne’s descendants, but a number of other famous historical figures and Hollywood celebrities did show up as cousins of Ted.

 

Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a hero in the War of 1812, is a 5th cousin four times removed. J.P. Morgan is a distant cousin, as are all of the Grosvenors of National Geographic fame.

 

Hollywood celebrity Bourne cousins of Ted Danson include Humphrey Bogart, Christopher Reeve, Richard Gere, and Hugh Heffner.

 

Could Thomas Bourne ever have imagined that four centuries into the future he would have descendants whose names would be recognized internationally?

 

 

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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

 

 

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Paris Hilton’s Prison Genes?

Can genetics be a factor in the likelihood of doing jail time?

I ran an abbreviated (only ten generations) Family Forest® kinship report of Paris Hilton and noticed several people in the report who also found themselves in a similar situation to the one Paris is in today.

One of the more famous ones of today is actress and celebrity Sari “Zsa Zsa” Gabor , who also received much media attention in 1989 when she went to jail for her altercation with a Beverly Hills police officer.

Another relative from today is radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy, who had an illustrious FBI and public service career before going to prison for his role in Watergate.

From earlier times, Colonel Samuel Waples fought at the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown and spent time in prison in the American Revolution. He later received land from President Jefferson for his gallantry.

And there is another officer, a recognized hero, who shows up on the Family Forest® kinship report of Paris Hilton. General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee graduated from Princeton, served in the American Revolution under General George Washington, and was the Governor of Virginia from 1792 to 1795. He entered the Westmoreland County (VA) jail on April 24, 1809.

In the Family Forest®, it is possible to visually explore the incredible digital web of family ties connecting Paris Hilton to each of these inmates, plus hundreds of thousands of other people, including a number of the most well-known figures from recorded human history.

  

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“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.

 

 

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