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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Filed under Ancestral History, Ancestry, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Family History, Genealogy, Tim McGraw, Uncategorized, Who Do You Think You Are

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

Assessing Potential Ancestors

According to Bishop Stapeldon of Exeter who was sent to inspect her, “The lady … has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is clean shaped; her forhead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than her forhead. Her eyes are blackish-brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that it is somewhat broad at the tip and flattened, yet it is no snub-nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full, and especially the lower lip. Her teeth which have fallen and grown again are white enough, but the rest are not so white. The lower teeth project a little beyond the upper; yet this is but little seen. Her ears and chin are comely enough. Her neck, shoulders, and all her body and lower limbs are reasonably well shapen; all her limbs are well set and unmaimed; and none is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is of brown skin all over, and much like her father; and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us.”

The Bishop also added she was neither too tall nor too short for her age, and that she was of fair carriage, and well taught in all that becometh her rank.

Philippa of Hainault was eight years old at the time of her assessment. She lived to become Queen of England and the ancestor of certainly hundreds of millions of people living today, including last year’s Oscar winner and this year’s Oscar nominee, Jeff Bridges, the focal point of the next blog.

The central framework of Philippa’s lines of descent to present day can be found in this eBook.

Anyone with a Family Forest® National Treasure Edition can easily pull up various size ancestor charts for Philippa, including a 10-generation chart with 838 boxes filled in, and a 60-generation chart with 764,590 boxes filled in.

This is one illustration of why we believe at least two billion living people have more of their early ancestry already assembled in the Family Forest® than they can see anywhere else.

P. S. The Bishop’s assessment can be found on page 81 of Debrett’s Kings and Queens of Britain by David Williamson.

See a short video about her descendants

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestry, Debrett's Kings and Queens of Britain, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Genes, Family History, Genealogy, Jeff Bridges, King Edward III of England, National Treasure, Oscar nominee, Philippa, Queen of England

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

A Christmas Story to The White House

In real life, the actor who played little Ralphie, the central character of A Christmas Story  has family ties to The White House, according to the vast network of ancestral pathways mapped out in the Family Forest®.

Through their Crabtree ancestors, Peter Billingsley and President Obama are ninth cousins.

Also through this same line, President Obama is also a cousin of Glenn Billingsley. Glenn’s wife Barbara is best known as June Cleaver, Oprah’s childhood television heroine and Wally and Beaver’s mother on Leave It To Beaver.

Thus the First Family has family ties to not only one of the most popular Christmas movies of the last two decades, but also to one of the most popular TV families of the twentieth century.

Among other objectives, the Family Forest® Project is Networking Family History with Hollywood™. Find your family’s connection to Hollywood in the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition.

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Filed under A Christmas Story, Ancestors, Family, Family Forest National Treasure, Genealogy, Hollywood, IMDb, Oprah, Peter Billingsley, White House