Category Archives: Ancestry

Texas Heroes and Google Books

I’d like to share a fascinating ancestral history gem I discovered at Google Books this week. 

It involves early Texas heroes, and the essence of it has now been digitally lineage-linked in the Family Forest® to a more recent national hero from Texas. Literally millions of people, including probably you (I know I am one of them), relate to this story through their own family ties. 

Audie Murphy was a national hero from Texas, the most decorated American soldier in World War II. His biography, No Name on the Bullet, mentions that his family tree included such men as one of his great-grandfathers, John Berry, but gives no identifying details about John Berry or what he did. So I turned to Google Books in search of answers.

I found more than I was hoping for. It was hidden in a book from 1900 by A. W. Sowell titled Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas. 

Within a six-page section about John Berry’s wife (titled Mrs. Hannah Berry) are details about who he was, what he did, and in particular the noteworthy service he performed for Davy Crockett shortly before the Alamo. But it was a statement about his wife, also an ancestor of Audie Murphy, which caught my attention. 

While she was still alive, Grandma Berry is said to have had “seventy-four grandchildren that she knows of, and one hundred and twenty-four great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.” 

We now know what the author A. W. Sowell could not know; a half century later, Grandma Berry would become an ancestor of at least one Hollywood actor, the most decorated American soldier in World War II. 

How many thousands (tens of thousands?) of living descendants might Grandma Berry have now, a full century after she finished her historically eventful and productive life in Texas at the age of 91? How many of her descendants do not yet know of their own family ties to her, the Alamo, and Audie Murphy?

The National Treasure Hunt begins in Texas. See for yourself.

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Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Ancestors, Ancestral History, Ancestry, Audie Murphy, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Family Trees, Genealogy, Google, history, Hollywood, National Treasure, Texas, World War II

Chelsea Clinton Family Forest Kinship

Being curious about Chelsea’s big wedding event this weekend, we wondered how many of her Family Forest relatives might be attending. So we ran a Family Forest kinship report to see who she is known to be related to so far, and we posted the celebrity-studded report at our website.

No surprise that the results include one US President and one US Senator, but the report also contains another US Senator, a US Secretary of the Treasury, a Canadian Prime Minister, and one member of the British Royal Family.

In addition there are one famous author, one famous economist, the Dionne quintuplets, two Grammy-winning singing stars and two other equally well-known performers, and a number of other Hollywood celebrities including two famous directors, one of the most famous Hollywood actresses today, three Oscar-winning actors, and a couple of other equally well-known actors.

We’re waiting to see how many of them attend the event at Astor Courts.

Best wishes to Chelsea on her special day.

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Ancestry, Astor Courts, Chelsea Clinton, Family Forest, Genealogy, Hollywood, Uncategorized, wedding, White House

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

After enjoying watching Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant in this movie, we tried one of the really cool features of our new Roots Magic program. We asked if it could create a Relationship Chart in the Family Forest® between the two co-stars. 

Almost instantly a chart appeared showing generation-by-generation exactly how Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant are distant cousins. They share ancestors in the Family Forest®. Who would have guessed? (Well, maybe those who read our last Sarah Jessica Parker blog.

And there are other surprising family ties from “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” as well. Although Mary Steenburgen’s ancestry is not in the Family Forest® yet, the ancestry of her husband Ted Danson (subject of my favorite ancestral coincidences [or not?] story is. So through marriage, Mary is related to both Hugh and Sarah Jessica.  

But the bigger and better story than how these three stars are related is about how so many individual fans are related to one or more of them through their own family ties. 

We’re looking forward to sharing these fun connections with more Family Forest® customers personally.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Hollywood, Mary Steenburgen, National Treasure, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ted Danson, Who Do You Think You Are

Independence Day 2010

The Fourth of July always triggers many fun memories from childhood and later years that I cherish.

Yet I can’t help but wonder how much better those memories might have been, and how much more I would have paid attention in school, if it hadn’t taken more than 40 years to discover that I am personally connected through generation-by-generation family ties to the original Fourth of July and the struggle for American independence.

My wish is that our future leaders experience this enriching discovery while they are still in school, that this knowledge is given to them early enough in their life to make a meaningful impact in their lives and the lives of their families.

That is why the American Revolution has continued to be one of the top five focus areas of Family Forest® growth during the last 15 years.

It is also why we say that the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition can connect more people through family ties to more of the people, places, and events in American history than any other digital resource, either online or offline.

Happy Fourth of July!

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Filed under American Revolution, Ancestors, Ancestry, Family Forest National Treasure, Fourth of July, Genealogy, Independence Day

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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Filed under Ancestral History, Ancestry, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Genealogy, Twilight, Uncategorized, White House