Tag Archives: Family History

The Power of Goal Setting Proven by a US Senator

Long before Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” at least one person was actually demonstrating the power of goal setting.

Often when Ancestry.com announces some discovery they have just made, I look in the Family Forest® and find that we already have most or more of that same information already networked. This time we were lacking Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

So while searching for any ancestral history that links to Ann Coulter, I found an 1893 book titled Creoles of St. Louis.

The book starts with a young girl, Marie Therese Bourgeois, who was “Left an orphan at a tender age, was placed under the care of the Ursuline Nuns at New Orleans, La., where she married, in 1749, Rene Auguste Chouteau, a native of Bearn, France. He came to New Orleans in early youth and engaged in business, and at the time of his death was possessed of considerable means.”

Before I found out who the author was talking about, I ran into the following passage on page 118 about one of that young orphan girl’s descendants.

Upon his leaving home he left the following document with his mother: “St. Genevieve, Mo., Jan. 16, 1832. On this day I left home, under charge of Mr. William Shannon, an old friend of my father, to go to Kaskaskia to study law in the office of Judge Pope. My education is very limited, but with hard study I may overcome it; I am determined to try and my intention is to return to my native State to practice law if I can qualify myself, and while doing so to become U. S. Senator from my native State, and to work for this until I am sixty years of age. I will pray to God to give me the resolution to persevere in this intention. I have communicated this to my mother and given her this paper to keep, so help me God.” In January, 1873, he was elected U.S. Senator from Missouri, and in the April following he was sixty years of age.

That determined young man who actualized his goal was US Senator Louis Vital Bogy.

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Filed under Ancestral History, education, Family, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Goal Setting, history, US Senator

Explaining the Unbelievable

On his 84th birthday I ran a Family Forest® kinship report for my Dad. How do I explain that amazing report? It shows results that a lifetime of learning has taught all of us to believe is impossible.

The software searched through the entire system of digital links I’ve spent tens of thousands of hours assembling. It was looking for every person in the Family Forest® who, according to recorded history, is related to my father through either birth or marriage.

It took 5,823 pages to display the results. The report shows that my father has family ties to over a quarter million different relatives over thousands of years, and they include most of the key people who were at most of the pivotal places and events in human history, as well as many of the Hollywood celebrities who have portrayed much of that history on film.

For instance, there are 27 signers of the Declaration of Independence on this report. That’s only one person short of half of the heroic men who signed. How can this be?

Well the simple explanation is that anyone who is connected into the Royal Channel in the Family Forest® is instantly networked through family ties to every other person who has already been connected into the Royal Channel.

Although my Dad is unique and very special to me, sociologically and genealogically speaking, he is an average everyday guy. With over a million boxes to fill in on their pedigree charts for just their first 20 generations, over time all average everyday people are descended from a number of the same ancestors famous people are descended from.

This is a message I have to deliver. It sounds simple, even though it runs contrary to common knowledge and it still seems unbelievable.

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

Jack Nicholson’s Cousins and the Emmy Awards

Jack Nicholson has some known cousins who have been nominated for an Emmy at the 62nd Emmy Awards, according to his Family Forest® relationship report.

These Emmy nominees include Glenn Close, Ted Danson, John Lithgow, Sissy Spacek, Alec Baldwin, and Georgia O’Keeffe (although she’s not up for an Emmy, the movie Georgia O’Keeffe is).

Certainly you will find Jack’s Family Forest® relationship report quite fascinating. After tens of thousands of hours of connecting the dots of recorded history, I can ask the computer for a list of all of the people that Jack has been linked to and Voila! (after a couple of hours of calulation and formating), a 5,715-page report appears with the names of over a quarter of a million different people from the last few thousands years of human history who are related to Jack.

Finding President Obama, myself, and over 1,200 knights that Jack is descended from or related to seems amazing enough, but you may be more interested in his family ties to the Hollywood community, both past and present.

Within this one computer-generated report, which spokes out with Jack at the hub, are thousands of well-known people who have profile pages at IMDb.com, and a surprising number of them have worked with him during his career on many popular films.

I found the main star from his upcoming film How Do You Know, one of the main stars from Something’s Gotta Give, two stars from The Departed, two stars from Mars Attacks!, China Kantner from The Evening Star, his co-star from Ironweed, a co-star from The Witches of Eastwick, the producer of The Shining, the author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and both of the co-stars from Easy Rider.

The Family Forest® Project is, among other objectives, Networking Family History with Hollywood (TM).

Are you or any of your ancestors, or some of your favorite Hollywood stars, already networked to Jack Nicholson in the Family Forest? You can find out now.

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Filed under 62nd Emmy Awards, Cousins, Emmy Awards, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Hollywood, Jack Nicholson, Ted Danson

Virkus Clarification and Correction

Those of you who are unfamiliar with Virkus’ The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy (later The Compendium of American Genealogy) should know what it is and what it isn’t, what’s wrong with it, and if there are any redeeming qualities.

In short, you should know the truth about it, and far more importantly, what’s been done to it recently since it was published more than a half century ago. 

This massive work in seven volumes, published over a decade and a half between the 1920’s and the 1940’s, maps out verbally an enormously large swath of generation-by-generation American family history over basically a three century period. 

Despite the potential ancestral history value that promises, and the fact that it is the one genealogy resource that can be found in most libraries, conventional wisdom these days says that it should be avoided like the plague. 

It has been known for a long time that it contains many errors, but I’ve never seen anyone quantify that statement. Is it 30% errors? 40%? 50%? The much lower answer may surprise you. 

But what if the correct answer was that it contains 50% errors? That would mean that one out of every two statements or dates is wrong. 

The glass-half-empty thinkers will say this massive genealogy resource is useless. The glass-half-full thinkers will say “Wow! Wouldn’t it be great if we knew which half of this massive genealogy resource is correct?” 

Highly respected genealogist Donald Lines Jacobus said about it “because of the high proportion of known errors, conscientious genealogists do not use statements in this work without verification.” 

“It is often a useful reference work for those who know how to use it properly” he went on to say. 

Suppose a conscientious person with Mensa-level intelligence spent 15 years digitally indexing, in lineage-linked format, the Virkus collection along with hundreds of other books and periodicals, filtering out annoying and confusing duplication, error checking each entry against everything else that had been previously entered, and connecting them to each other wherever appropriate? 

There’s no need to imagine the enormous upgrade in quality and usability that has already happened to Virkus’ massive work (as well as to hundreds of other books and periodicals, including many from NEHGS and NYGBR). Just explore for yourself in the National Treasure.

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Compendium of American Genealogy, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, National Treasure

The Heart of Bruce

No, this is not going to be a story about my own heart, but it is about a very memorable story, at least for me, concerning the heart of one of my ancestors. 

Almost every day I enter many facts into the Family Forest®. There are over 900,000 source citations in the National Treasure, so it’s safe to assume that I can’t remember many of them. But a few of them evoke a powerful visual image that stays with me. This is about one of them. 

Do you remember Robert I, also known as Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland [PIN 7910] from Braveheart? When he died, two of his companions in arms, Sir James Douglas, Lord of Galloway [PIN 29237] (known in Scotland as “the good Sir James Douglas” and in England as “the Black Douglas”) and William St. Clair, Lord of Rosslyn [PIN 29273] (remember Rosslyn Chapel from “The Da Vinci Code”?), set out on a mission to take the heart of Bruce to Jerusalem. 

This was a vivid image to me, reminiscent of Brad Pitt taking his brother’s heart home in Legends of the Fall, and Brooke Shields feeling the need to touch the container of her ancestor’s heart in Who Do You Think you Are? 

I wondered who these two great warriors were who would undertake such an unusual mission for their friend and king. So I clicked on “the Black Douglas” and asked for an 8-generation descendant view (the default setting) in the National Treasure. 

His descendant who caught my attention was Lord William Sinclair [PIN 29306] who died in 1570. I knew the surname Sinclair is a derivation of St. Clair, so I was curious to find out if this descendant of “the Black Douglas” was also a descendant of the companion of “the Black Douglas,” William St. Clair, Lord of Rosslyn.  

So I reversed direction by asking for a 10-generation ancestor view (the default setting). Sure enough, Lord William Sinclair is a descendant of both of them. More surprisingly, he is also a descendant in five different lines of Robert the Bruce.

So two centuries earlier two of his ancestors set out on a mission to take the heart of another one of his ancestors to Jerusalem. Who was this guy with the colorful ancestral heritage? 

I asked for a 20-generation descendant view (to reach down to present day) and I was really surprised this time. In one of the 941 boxes this chart filled in was my name! According to recorded history, it is one of my own ancestors who has this colorful ancestral heritage. He is also an ancestor of Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson, Winston Churchill, Montgomery Clift, The Thornbirds star Rachel Ward, Admiral Dennis Cutler Blair, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Madonna’s son Rocco Ritchie. 

P.S. I hope I will be forgiven for not recognizing some of my own ancestors, as my own 40-generation ancestor view chart in the National Treasure fills in 3,074,306 boxes with the names of some of my ancestors.

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Filed under Ancestral History, Braveheart, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, history, King Robert I of Scotland

Civil War Hero to Receive Overdue Medal

Associated Press reported yesterday on an American heroism story that was 147 years in the making. It actually relates personally, literally, to many Americans. 

Alonzo Hereford Cushing has finally been approved to receive the Medal of Honor, 147 years after he fell in battle at Gettysburg. It’s been known for a long time that his actions were worthy of praise. 

Alonzo was the subject of a poem entitled “The Last Man At His Guns” that appeared in an 1895 book by Henry Stevenson Washburn called “The Vacant Chair and Other Poems.” 

I ran a Family Forest® kinship for Alonzo to see who he is known to be related to. There were over 37,000 people, including a very wide range of Americans, mostly everyday people, and some famous. 

They include President Abraham Lincoln (7C), Major-General John Sedgwick who was also at Gettysburg (6C), President U.S. Grant (6C2R), potential California governor Meg Whitman (6C3R), New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. (5C6R), Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster (6C5R), baseball star Chase Utley (6C5R), Hollywood icon Raquel Welch (9C3R), astronaut Alan Shepard (6C4R), Admiral Dennis Blair (9C3R), Admiral George Dewey (7C2R), Vice President Aaron Burr (5C4R), both Presidents Bush (6C4R and 6C5R), President Grover Cleveland (6C), Vice President Charles Dawes (9C), President Millard Filmore (7C2R), President Gerald Ford (7C1R), President Herbert Hoover (6C3R), Orville and Wilbur Wright (6C2R), Admiral Richard Worsham Meade (6C), Samuel Holden Parsons who was a Major General in the American Revolution (Half 2C3R), other Revolutionary Generals Elisha Porter (3C5R) and Moses Porter (4C4R), and Civil War Generals Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (5C1R), Charles Edward Phelps (6C3R), Walter Cass Newberry (7C2R), Charles Jackson Paine (5C), Edward Porter Alexander (Half 5C), and William Tecumseh Sherman (6C1R). 

Kinship reports like these illustrate the fact that the Family Forest® can connect more families personally, through actual family ties, to more of the people, places, and events in American and Old World history than any other resource.

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Filed under Alonzo Hereford Cushing, Ancestors, Ancestral History, Civil War, Family Forest National Treasure, Genealogy, history, National Treasure

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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Filed under Ancestral History, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, history, Hollywood, Mother's Day, National Treasure, Royalty, Uncategorized