Tag Archives: FamilyForest.com

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

Free Gift for A Thoughtful Answer

Thinking well can payoff. For a limited time during the holidays, just email us a reasonable answer to any one of these ten questions, and you can download a Family Forest® Ancestral History eBook of your choice at absolutely no charge.

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

Warrior Genes

Here’s a Veterans’ Day question. What do the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War I and the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II have in common?

One answer appears to be warrior genes.

According to the recorded history mapped out and networked in the Family Forest®, and summarized in this computer-generated Family Forest® relationship chart, both Sergeant Alvin York and Audie Murphy are descended from Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy.

According to his Wikipedia profile, Sir Henry Percy “early acquired a great reputation as a warrior.”

Who would have been more surprised? Would it have been Sir Henry Percy to learn that two of his descendants each also acquired a great reputation as a warrior? Or would it have been Sergeant York and Audie Murphy to discover they both shared the same famous warrior ancestor?

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Filed under Ancestral History, Audie Murphy, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Family Genes, Genealogy, Sergeant Alvin York, Sir Henry Percy, Veterans Day, World War II

An Important Message and Lesson

I just read a short preface in a book that was written more than a century ago. If you have any interest in discovering more of your ancestors, it is valuable for you to read it.

It illuminates how some of our ancestors were thinking long before we were born, and more importanly, it reveals a secret that genealogy big business does not want you to know.

In 1894 Guy Scoby Rix began a valuable 20-year genealogy research project that includes parts of the ancestry of probably more than one million living people. From Concord, NH in 1905, he wrote the preface to his work. It reveals his character, his intentions, and his commitment to accuracy.

Over the centuries there have been thousands of people like Mr. Rix who have published similar works on different families. Isn’t it much smarter to find out what knowledge is contained in those works, before spending tedious efforts sifting through raw unfiltered data?

The next time someone suggests that the first place for you to begin searching for your ancestors is in the raw data that hundreds or thousands of oftentimes very qualified people have been combing through for decades if not centuries, ask them, why?

Isn’t it best to find out first what the experts have already discovered? Why use any of your valuable research time to search for what’s already been found?

Naturally, I strongly recommend that the best starting point for ancestral history is our high quality tour guide service (the primary Family Forest® or some of it’s  hundreds of secondary publications.

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

Meg Whitman Narrowly Beats Rival in A Related Contest

After the Family Forest® Project revealed to me that California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman is related to former Alaska Governor and possible 2012 Presidential candidate Sarah Palin (they are 8th cousins once removed through common ancestors Rev. Joseph and Elizabeth (Bulkeley) Emerson, who are also ancestors of Hollywood super star Matt Damon), just for fun I began comparing their kinship reports to see how closely the two of them are related to other politicians, celebrities, and historical figures.

The Family Forest® shows that in the overall results of a number of relationship comparisons I looked at, Meg Whitman narrowly wins over Sarah Palin.

By a very narrow margin, Palin does win against Whitman in their relationship to AC/360 host Anderson Cooper. Palin is an 8th cousin once removed of Cooper while Whitman is a 9th cousin of Cooper.

There is a similar win for Palin in the two politicians’ relationships to President Obama. Palin is a 10th cousin of the President, while Whitman is an 11th cousin of the President, and Palin also wins against Whitman in their relationship to New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., 9C vs. 9C3R.

In their relationships to five other business moguls, Palin wins two of the five, one is a tie, while Whitman wins the other two.

Palin is a 9C3R of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates while Whitman is a 10C2R, and Palin is a 16C3R of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos while Whitman is a 17C4R.

AOL founder Steve Case is the tie at 9C2R.

Whitman is a bit closer to Warren Buffett at 9C1R, while Palin is a 9C2R to the Sage of Omaha. Whitman is quite a bit closer to Walt Disney at 7C2R, while Palin is a 9C2R to the founder of the Disney kingdom.

There are a number of Hollywood ties, including TCM co-host Alec Baldwin (8C1R cousin once removed), “Seabiscuit” racing announcer William H. Macy (9C1R),  Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges (10C1R), rising star Amy Adams (10C1R), and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (18C).

Palin beat Whitman in their relationships to Hollywood icon Katharine Hepburn (7C2R vs. 8C1R), “Hereafter” star Matt Damon (7C1R vs. 9C) and “Hereafter” director Clint Eastwood (10C vs. 10C1R), distant cousin Brad Pitt (16C1R vs. 17C), and very very distant cousin Keanu Reeves (47C5R vs. 47C6R).

Whitman wins most dramatically over Palin in many other relationships in the Hollywood arena. These are “I Love Lucy” star Lucille Ball (7C vs. 9C1R), Hollywood icon Humphrey Bogart (8C1R vs. 9C2R), Oscar-winner Jodie Foster (9C vs. 9C1R), President John Adams portrayer Paul Giamatti (9C vs. 10C), “True Grit” villain Josh Brolin (9C1R vs. 11C1R), “Who Do You Thinks You Are?” subjects Brooke Shields (910C1R vs. 10C1R) and Sarah Jessica Parker (9C3R vs. 18C3R), “24” star Keifer Sutherland (10C vs. 19C1R), Oscar-winner Meryl Streep (10C vs. 10C1R), “Big C” star Laura Linney (11C3R vs. 14C1R), singer/actress Hilary Duff (11C2R vs. 14C), and distant cousins and “How Do You Know” co-stars Reese Witherspoon (19C3R vs. 20C3R cousin) and Jack Nicholson  (17C3R vs. 18C4R), and Oscar-winner Tom Hanks (19C vs. 20C).

Whitman scores 1-1 with Palin against two CBS news anchors, Walter Cronkite (11C1R vs. 9C1R) and Katie Couric (11C2R vs. 14C).

The two politicians’ relationships also tied against Prince William and Prince Harry at 9th cousin once removed.

Whitman beat Palin again against Mark Twain (6C3R vs. 10C4R) and Julia Child (7C1R vs. 8C2R).

All of these results were computer-generated on October 19, 2010 from the vast network of generation-by-generation family ties assembled in the Family Forest®.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Presidential candidate, Cousins, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Family Trees, Genealogy, Hollywood, Meg Whitman, News, Sarah Palin, Walter Cronkite, Who Do You Think You Are

Before there was a U.S.S. Spangler

We recently learned of the U.S.S. Spangler reunion which will be starting on Monday October 25, 2010 in San Antonio, TX.

Prompted by a great visit from Kristine’s cousin Jeannie, both nieces of the Purple Heart recipient the ship was named for, we began reading through a large stack of Uncle Donald’s letters and clippings that were still in the possession of his only living sibling and my outstanding father-in-law, nonagenarian Robert Kent Spangler.

Amid the sorrow of losing so much promise so early, what fun it was! New discoveries led to other new discoveries.

For instance, we found a letter written on the Fourth of July 1943 to Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Myrtle Elizabeth (Blue) Spangler (Donald’s mother, Mrs. Spangler christened the U.S.S. Spangler).

It was from Miss Velma V. Vogelman of Baltimore, MD who knew Donald from his Naval Academy days. She had just learned of his death through LIFE magazine, and she was writing on the anniversary of a significant day.

“On July 4, 1940 he came to Baltimore and spent the day with me and my parents. This day I shall always remember as one of the happiest in my life. He spoke often of his home and parents and how he would have enjoyed spending that particular day with you in Albion, Ind.”

We had never heard of a mention of Uncle Donald in LIFE. So we used Google Books and quickly found it in print in the July 5, 1943 issue on page 21.

We’re looking forward to following up on other discoveries from the letters and clippings. What other interesting insights to history are waiting to be found?

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Cousins, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Fourth of July, Genealogy, history, Independence Day, Reunion, Uncategorized, USS Spangler, Veterans Day, Women's History Month, World War II