Category Archives: Uncategorized

Twilight and the White House

Thanks to Tamura Jones for pointing out in his article The Dracula Connection about the Ancestry.com story that the Family Forest National Treasure does what Ancestry.com cannot.

Vlad the Impaler, the person some people believe the character of Count Dracula is based on, is in the Family Forest® (PIN 562175), and unlike the misleading chart Ancestry.com used to illustrate their story (it’s actually missing many generations), Vlad’s Family Forest® charts can be explored generation-by-generation.

Anyone with the National Treasure can click on him, and request a 20-generation descendant chart. What leaps out to me on this chart is that one of Vlad the Impaler’s descendants was born in the White House!

If you click on Vlad the Impaler’s father Vlad the Devil (PIN 562178) and request a 20-generation descendant chart, you can see ancestral pathways that leads to the British Royal Family, the White House, actress Sarah Miles, and one of the people Madonna will be directing in her new movie, without skipping generations as Ancestry.com does.

And you can click here to see Ancestors-at-at-glance™ charts of some of the people in the Ancestry.com story.

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One of my favorite ancestral mothers

Maybe it’s because she was the first of my ancestors I saw portrayed in a movie (The Lion in Winter), and maybe it’s because she was portrayed by one of Hollywood’s most beloved icons (Katharine Hepburn), but at or very near the top of the list of my favorite ancestral mothers is Eleanor of Aquitaine. 

She was married to a king of France and a king of England, and was the mother of at least ten children, including two of history’s most remembered kings, Richard the Lionhearted, and King John who signed the Magna Charta. 

Eleanor is a very key gateway ancestor. Her ancestral pathways lead back thousands of years to and through exciting ancient worlds, some of which are already being re-created in 3-D virtual environments.

She is probably an ancestral mother of everyone who reads this. You can see Eleanor’s Ancestors-at-a-glance™ here

Moms have been making it all possible since before recorded history, and that’s why we are proud to emphasize them so strongly in the National Treasure. Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

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Disappointment turns to delight

Customer experiences like this make my day.  Since similar delightful experiences are already preserved and waiting for millions of others, including quite likely you and your family, I’d like to share this quick story with you. 

I was teaching a new Family Forest® National Treasure customer how easy it is to pull up a 35-generation descendant chart for his ancestor and mine, Edward I, Longshanks, King of England (the English king from Braveheart). 

This is an enormous chart that you can’t get on the Internet. It fills in over 154,000 boxes with the names of Longshanks’ descendants and the people they married, and it spans from the 1200s to in a number of cases, present day. 

The customer displayed this chart on his computer (which by the way is only one of countless millions of charts the National Treasure can generate), and he was disappointed. The chart did not reach down to him, yet. The closest connection he could find in the National Treasure was a pair of his great-great-grandparents. 

So I quickly generated a Family Forest® kinship report from the National Treasure for his great-great-grandmother, Mrs. Sophie (Hale) Camp (PIN 103549 for those of you who would like to try this at home), and emailed him this 604-page PDF report of exactly how his ancestor is related to 43,431 different people and who their common ancestor is. 

These relatives of our new customer include four signers of the Declaration of Independence, ten U.S. Presidents, several famous Civil War generals, Ransom Eli Olds (Oldsmobile), Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Marjorie Merriweather Post (the key person responsible for bringing frozen food to our supermarkets), short-story writer O. Henry, Bill Gates, Hollywood actors Humphrey Bogart, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Peter Fonda, Kurt Russell, Christopher Reeve, Matt Damon, Matthew Perry, and Tim Robbins, as well as many other readily recognizable people from human history. 

Suddenly he was delighted with what the Family Forest® National Treasure can display about his own family’s ancestral heritage. Similar delight can be expected by the millions of others who have their own great-great-grandparents, or closer, already lineage-linked into the National Treasure. 

And by the way, this name is not cutesy marketing puffery. It is called the National Treasure Edition because it can link more Americans personally, through generation-by-generation family ties, to more people, places, and events in human history than any other resource. 

Also, this kinship report is another example of why we say that the Family Forest® is Networking Family History with Hollywood.™

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National Treasure Hunt Begins in Texas

The new Family Forest® National Treasure Edition comes with a new beginning. It’s visual. Instead of opening to a boring list of names, it opens to a colorful chart.

It is an hourglass chart, with ancestors to the left and descendants to the right, and the person it centers on is Henrietta Marie Morse Chamberlain, Mrs. King Ranch. Her husband founded the world famous King Ranch of Texas, then passed away rather early, leaving her in charge for 40 years. 

When you right-click on any person in a chart you will be presented with a list of options that will let you move forward or backward in time from that person, look for additional facts about that person, ancestors, descendants, check sources, dates, etc. 

From that opening chart it is possible to zigzag through thousands of years of generation-by-generation family ties to reach Monticello, The White House, Bunker Hill, Hollywood, the Mayflower, the Alamo, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the moon landing, ancient Rome, The Bible, etc., etc., etc. In short, many of the key people, places, and events in human history. 

At the top of the screen in the National Treasure on the right are two pull-down menus. These will give you a wealth of information. 

The Help menu will show how to use Progeny’s software, create charts and reports and print. A video tutorial is available online from Progeny Genealogy. 

The National Treasure Info pull-down menu will explain how to navigate and search for nuggets of discovery. Please follow your curiosity in the Family Forest® for the delight and enrichment of you and your family.

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Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Ancestral History, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, history, Mayflower Pilgrims, National Treasure, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

Big Picture Story from the Big Island

A new story just appeared, and we’re pleased that it doesn’t misleadingly try to squeeze our exciting leading-edge digital project into the genealogy pigeon-hole.

 

We do like stories that highlight some of the surprising family ties we’ve networked between famous people such as Brad Pitt and President Obama, and the Family Forest® does perform some amazing genealogy feats for everyday people that no other genealogy resource can, but the real picture of our digital project is so much bigger.

 

The Family Forest® Project is about so many more exciting possibilities than just plain vanilla genealogy, and the new story points to some of them.

 

Please continue to stay tuned here for enriching previews of the future of your own past.

 

Wordle: FamilyForest.com story

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Happy Birthday Darwin and Lincoln

Watching PBS last night with my family, I learned that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were both born on the same day two hundred years ago today.

 

Kristine had been urging me to stop growing the Family Forest® long enough to write a new blog about Lincoln before his birthday passes. I had been considering comparing him to Benjamin “Don Benito” Wilson, another early American wilderness boy born about the same time who went on to greatness.

 

I had also been considering talking about the recent inaugural celebration concert at the Lincoln Memorial and the Family Forest® cousins I had noticed there in addition to the Obama and Biden families, like Pete Seeger, Tao Rodriquez-Seeger, George Lucas, James Taylor, Ashley Judd, and Tom Hanks. While channel surfing over the weekend, I stopped at Forrest Gump just in time to be reminded that Tom had already spoken in front of the Lincoln Memorial at least once before.

 

During the last few days Kristine had wanted me to watch a video about Darwin that relates to the Family Forest® Project. After watching the fascinating video over a cup of Kona coffee this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder what Darwin (and Lincoln) would think if he could visually explore the Family Forest® today.

 

Surely he would have found the world’s largest maps of human genetic migration thought provoking and helpful in his work, and I’d like to think he would have been amazed to discover what this single digital resource can do to ignite the curiosity and imagination of children.

 

Surely he would have been in awe to learn that it is has become possible to start with President Obama’s children, or Tom Hank’s children, and travel through their own generation-by-generation family ties to reach him and his family, plus

President Lincoln’s family, and to relate them personally to so many thousands of the most famous people, places, and events in human history.

 

While I don’t expect anyone will be remembering the 200th anniversary of my birth, I do like to think that 200 years from now I will still be giving people smiles from the Family Forest®.

 

P.S. Here’s an inspiring Lincoln/Obama story. 

 

 

lincoln

 

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A “Lost” cousin found in the Family Forest®

Imagine my delight when I discovered one of my cousins, a star in ABC’s Hawaiian-based hit series “Lost,” in the Family Forest®. That cousin is Jack, known in real life as Matthew Fox.

 

It was easy. All I had to do was to visually follow one of my own ancestral pathways in the Family Forest® by point-and-clicking back to an early Maryland immigrant ancestor, and then follow the other pathways that lead from him to some of his other descendants. And voila, there was Matthew Fox.

 

A television show is always more engaging when I see one of my known cousins in it, and I can bug my wife Kristine by saying “Hey, I share ancestors with that guy.” Even though in the larger scheme of things we are all related, it’s different to be able to actually see how we connect to another person through generation-by-generation family ties.

 

Although Matthew and I are relatively distant cousins, our connection is much closer than a Kevin Bacon (another distant cousin of mine) style six-degrees-of separation connection. Just travel up one line to one of my ancestors and down another line to Jack, only two degrees of separation.

 

The Family Forest® is now the best digital central source for generation-by-generation family ties leading to and from Hawaii, including to and from (but not limited to) most of the prominent early missionary families (Father Bond, Rev. Amos Starr Cooke, Rev. David Belden Lyman, Rev. William Cornelius Shipman, etc.). This unique network of family ties extends thousands of years into the past, as the “All Paths lead to Rome” blog entry illustrates, and reaches to all continents.

 

So it’s quite logical that many people here on the Big Island can connect to Hollywood stars in the Family Forest® through family ties by beginning with one of their own ancestors. Some examples can be found at our Pearl Harbor story and a recent

AP 2008 election story.

 

But using the Family Forest® to find Hollywood connections is only the tip of the iceberg. The Family Forest® is a fun and enriching digital edutainment resource to give people personal connections, through actual family ties, to many of the key people, places, and events throughout recorded human history.

 

Speaking from my own experiences, these personal connections can greatly enhance our understanding and appreciation for how all of us got here, and what lies ahead. My efforts to convey some of the excitement I discover while growing the Family Forest® can be found in the short stories at Your Future, Your Past.

 

Best wishes to my cousin Matthew and the rest of the cast for another exciting “Lost” season.

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66th Golden Globes

As I look through the list of nominees for the 66th Golden Globes with the aid of the Family Forest®, the festivities on Sunday night appear like they will be like an extended family reunion.

 

The Kevin Bacon style six-degrees-of-separation connections in the Family Forest® starting with the five Best Picture finalists will probably surprise almost everyone.

 

Each of the people I name below, plus Kevin Bacon, are already lineage-linked into the Family Forest®. This was a far more difficult task than it might appear at first glance, since before the end of the last century, the requirement for entry into the Family Forest® is that one must be related by birth, marriage, or adoption to someone who is already included.

 

Start with Frost/Nixon. Sir David Frost’s wife and Richard Nixon both connect into the Royal Channel, which means that David Frost was actually interviewing a distant cousin by marriage.

 

Then there is Ron Howard-directed The Reader co-star Ralph Fiennes, who also connects into the Royal Channel, which means that he has family ties to both of the two Frost/Nixon main characters. He also shares ancestors with the historical figure he is up for Best Supporting Actor for portraying in The Duchess, Sir William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (who by the way is an ancestor of a wife of Norman Mailer), as well as being a distant cousin of many of the other characters in the picture.

 

For his performance in Bernard and Doris Ralph Fiennes is also up for Best Actor in a Mini-series or Motion Picture made for Television. His co-star in Bernard and Doris, Susan Sarandon, is up for Best Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture made for Television for her portrayal of Doris Duke, who is also in the Family Forest®. 

 

Another Best Picture nominee is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt, who is up for Best Actor for his performance in this picture. His girlfriend Angelina Jolie is up for Best Actress for her performance in the Clint Eastwood picture The Changeling. Each of these three stars can be connected through six-degrees-of-separation family ties connections to almost everyone already mentioned above.

 

Other 66th Golden Globes nominees in the Family Forest® are Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer (click here for some of her cousins), Sean Penn for Milk, Tom Cruise for

Tropic Thunder Shirley MacLaine for Coco Chanel, Laura Dern for Recount, and Alec Baldwin  for 30 Rock.

 

The Family Forest® is a unique digital Hollywood resource that picks up where IMdB leaves off in two areas. One is connecting fans through family ties to Hollywood personalities and movie characters, and the other is bringing content and family ties to many of IMdB’s character profiles which are now empty or very skeletal. Our earlier blog about John Adams and star Paul Giamatti, another 66th Golden Globes nominee, helps explain why.

 

Enjoy the show!

 

P.S. The Family Forest® Project is looking for a celebrity spokesperson. Details available here.

 

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Bill Gates’ Misstatement

Bill Gates probably didn’t mean it exactly the way it sounded, but he did say on The Charlie Rose Show that “Everything is web-based.”

 

Everything is not web-based yet, and here’s one example that relates to cousin Bill personally, and quite possibly professionally.

 

Bill can give his children an enriching digital edutainment gift of potentially limitless value for just $50, and he cannot acquire anything similar to it now from Microsoft, or Google, at any price. This gift cannot be explored online – yet.

 

But offline, with just a few mouse-clicks in the Family Forest® Bill and Melinda Gates’ children can summon maps of their own ancestral pathways that lead directly from them and travel generation-by-generation to countless ancestral homes from many centuries ago, including some very prominent ones within the Gates family’s summer vacation destination, France.

 

Even with the basically unlimited resources of Microsoft, or Google, it seems that it will still be years before anyone can deliver the full functionality of even yesterday’s Family Forest® online (and that edition is basically only a concept sketch of the National Treasure Edition we are preparing to release next).

 

Two leading edge digital delivery companies have been trying to bring tiny slivers of Family Forest® output online.

 

Google has been working at it for over four months now, and they are not quite there yet (in fairness to Google, one is believed to be the world’s longest ebook). After having the same digital content for six months, in June 2008 ebrary estimated that it might be able to successfully make our rich content fully functional online within their system in the second half of 2009. And we’re only talking about slivers of stage-two digital content from where we were in 2005.

 

Some digital property, such as the Family Forest®, is beyond the capabilities of today’s Internet, but will be an integral part of the exciting future Internet that Bill talks about with Charlie Rose.

 

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All Paths Lead To Rome

Google recently announced an exciting new acquisition that is extremely interesting to us. It is a preview of their future offerings that will dovetail very nicely with one of the future capabilities of the multi-faceted Family Forest® Project. 

 

We envision people experiencing online virtual visits with their early ancestors in 3-D VR re-creations of their ancestral homes. As they have been many saying for many millennia, “All paths lead to Rome,” and the Family Forest® proves it. 

 

From studying the world’s largest maps of human genetic migration (which are generated by the Family Forest®), it appears certain that everyone alive in America today has Roman ancestors. 

 

Among many other best-of claims, the Family Forest® is the best digital central source for generation-by-generation ancestral pathways leading from today to Ancient Rome. 

 

When the Internet evolves enough to deliver the full functionality of the Family Forest® online, our proprietary network of strategic digital links will be performing the service of a high-speed transportation system (much like express elevators) connecting living people to many of their ancestors and their ancestral homes in centuries past. 

 

For an example, just look at the wide-ranging large list of some of the better-known people who are descendants of just one French castle. Or better yet, as soon as Google Books can successfully deliver it online, explore what we believe is the world’s largest ebook, which documents a very large number of the known descendants of Briquebec Castle. 

 

The founder of Briquebec Castle has ancestral pathways in the New World Edition which lead from him back to Ancient Rome. Many millions of living people may be as close as a few generations away from connecting to their own ancestral pathways which lead to Briquebec Castle. And of course, there will be tens of thousands of additional connecting points in the National Treasure Edition to this and other castles. 

 

How accurate are these generation-by-generation ancestral pathways that lead from present day (or the recent past) to Ancient Rome and beyond? The answer can be found here. Stay tuned to Your Future, Your Past for previews of other exciting future possibilities from our digital property. 

 

P.S. Malia and Sasha Obama are Briquebec Castle descendants, as are Governor Sarah Palin’s children.

 

 

 

 

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