Monthly Archives: January 2009

Free Money from Your Ancestors

Knowing your genealogy can actually be worth substantial money to you, and life-changing knowledge can be beyond priceless, truly of incalculable value.


For instance, having the knowledge I just discovered could have given a life-changing advantage of monumental value to one of your ancestors, to you, and to your descendants.


In fact, if one of your ancestors had discovered this key knowledge when they really needed it, you and your descendants would have been born into an entirely different and almost certainly much better socio-economic environment.


And you or one of your descendants may be standing at that very crossroads right now.


The amazing Google Book Search was the source of one key piece of knowledge that led me to the pleasing discovery that the Family Forest® contains an additional treasure trove of priceless knowledge that I was unaware of. 


This particular gem of knowledge was found in a book that has been in the Harvard College Library for over a century. This book is number 299 of a 300 edition printing of a 1905 genealogy book about the Kingsbury family. A sticker in the front of the book says:


“From the Bright Legacy. Descendants of Henry Bright, jr., who died at Watertown, Mass., in 1686, are entitled to hold scholarship in Harvard College, established in 1880 under the will of Jonathan Brown Bright of Waltham, Mass., with one half the income of this Legacy. Such descendants failing, other persons are eligible to the scholarships. The will requires that this announcement shall be made in every book added to the Library under its provisions.”


So a couple of quick mouse-clicks in the Family Forest® New World Edition

revealed that Henry Bright, Jr. had descendants with the surnames of Abbott, Adams, Ahrens, Alexander, Atkins, Baker, Baldwin, Barnes, Bentley, Bicknell, Bigelow, Bond, Booth, Bowman, Bright, Bryant, Brown, Burkholder, Carder, Carter, Chamberlin, Cheesman, Clark, Coffin, Cooledge, Coolidge, Crane, Cunningham, Cummings, Dalton, Dean, Deane, Dvojacki, Dewey, Dexter, Folsom, Fowle, Frary, Fuller, Gates, Gibson, Gilman, Goddard, Goodloe, Gould, Greenleaf, Greenwood, Grosvenor, Hanna, Harpole, Hastings, Higgins, Homans, Howell, Jackson, Kiblinger, Langan, Learned, Leavitt, Lipphart, Little, Livermore, Martin, Merriam, Miles, Miller, Mills, Morgan, Munroe, Niebell, Owsley, Paddock, Page, Passarella, Pearce, Perkins, Pleasants, Pratt, Pulsifer, Quincy, Ray, Raymond, Rentschler, Rice, Rodger, Rowland, Sargent, Shattuck, Shreve, Smallwood, Smith, Skillen, Stearns, Stetson, Stocker, Stone, Storer, Stratton, Strecker, Sweeney, Tatnall, Taylor, Temple, Tileston, Tufts, Walker, Waller, Washburn, Webber, Webster, Welch, Wheeler, White, Whiting, Wier, Wigglesworth, Woods, Woodward, and others.


One of these is the surname of a friend who was struggling last fall to find funds to give his daughter a good college education. A couple of them are names of members of my church congregation, one is one of Kristine’s ancestors, four are some of my ancestral surnames, and some are names and/or ancestral surnames of people we see regularly in the news.


How many people who are entitled to basically free money from their ancestors are completely unaware of it? How many people with unusual surnames such as Ahrens, Dvojacki, or Passarella, or common surnames such as Baker, Clark, or Smith, would know that they had ancestors with the surname of Bright, and that this knowledge can entitle members of their family to a life-changing advantage?


Which of course leads me back to the Family Forest®. If key knowledge can be priceless, what is a digital edutainment resource that leads you to that knowledge worth?





Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, education, Excellence, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, history, life

President Lincoln and President Obama share ancestors

Leading up to the Presidential Inauguration on Tuesday, there has been plenty of talk about similarities and connections between President Lincoln and President Obama, but there’s a closer more personal connection they share that’s been overlooked, DNA.


According to the ancestral history that had already been mapped out in the

Family Forest® New World Edition , there’s a movie you can order today from NetFlix or Amazon to watch captivating portrayals of ancestors of Presidents Lincoln and Obama by Hollywood icons.


President Obama has presidential genes in abundance, and we wish him all the best at this exciting pivotal point in human history.


Enjoy the historic moment on Tuesday!


P.S. The Family Forest® Project is hoping for validation from President Obama (and/or one or more of the only other four qualified people who can give it) before we find a distribution partnership alliance for our new edutainment release. Details available here.



Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Ancestral History, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Presidential Inauguration

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.


Filed under Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, television, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, FamilyForest, film, Genealogy, Golden Globes, Hollywood, Uncategorized

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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Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Ancestral History, Ancestral Travel, education, Excellence, Family, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Family Genes, Family Trees, FamilyForest, Genealogy, Google, history, internet, life, Maps, teaching, Travel, Uncategorized