Category Archives: life

The King Maker

After a very productive morning of growing the Family Forest®, Kristine and I were aimlessly channel-surfing on our lunch break, until we were captured by a Travel Channel program about some famous castles in England and Scotland. Ever since I discovered that I have ancestors who lived in castles I’ve been captivated by the spellbinding magic of the type of stories and dramatic videography this program was so rich with.

 

Most of the key people in the stories surrounding many of the famous castles (like Warwick and Edinburgh) which were featured in this particular program, are already in the Family Forest® New World Edition and waiting for visual exploration of their multi-century generation-by-generation family ties.

 

The person who I was most curious to check on first was Earl Richard Neville, known to history as “The King Maker.” So I typed king maker into the search window of the Family Forest® and he instantly appeared, along with highlights of his life, including the quote that he was “probably the most potent noble in the whole range of English history.”

 

My curiosity continues with a number of questions. Where did he come from? What is known about his ancestors? Who is he related to? Who are some of his known descendants today?

 

So I started one of the explorations by bringing up a downstream view of a map of his known Family Forest® descendants, for just the first 20 generations. A number of instantly recognizable people quickly appeared, including of course the British Royal Family, as well as several of their spouses.

 

One of his Hollywood actor descendants who caught my eye was Rupert Everett who first came to my attention in “Boston Legal,” and later for his portrayal of King Charles II in “Stage Beauty.” Rupert has also portrayed other real historical figures, such as in “Shakespeare in Love” and in “The Madness of King George,” and he would be an excellent candidate for the actor to portray Earl Richard Neville (one of his own ancestors) whenever a movie is made about The King Maker.

 

At some point I expect Hollywood casting directors to discover what an excellent tool Hollywood the Family Forest® is for quickly discovering which actors and actresses are actually connected through family ties to real characters in historical films or programs that are being planned. I also expect that Hollywood PR directors will soon begin discovering the untapped potential of ancestral marketing.

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Family Ties to the Bourne Ultimatum, Part II

After exploring the descendants of Bourne Ultimatum star Matt Damon’s Stebbins ancestors, I browsed again through the Family Forest® for some of Matt’s other 1600’s ancestors. This time I explored the descendants of his Leonard ancestors.

 

One noticeable difference to Matt’s Stebbins cousins was obvious. Matt’s only Stebbins cousin in the entertainment business (if we’re not counting politicians) I found in the Family Forest® is Clint Eastwood.

 

But Matt’s Family Forest® Leonard cousins must be genetically predisposed toward the entertainment business. They even include the Hollywood icon who has won more Oscars than any other actor or actress, Katharine Hepburn.

 

They also include Katharine Houghton, Lucille Ball, the Baldwin Brothers (Alec, William, Daniel, and Stephen), Anthony Perkins, Raquel Welch, Tahnee Welch, Johnny Carson, Harry Chapin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Gregory Peck.

 

Matt’s non-entertainment Family Forest® Leonard cousins are proportionally much less than his Stebbins cousins. They include Time-Life founder Henry Luce, First Lady Nancy Reagan, Marshall Field IV and V, and George Plimpton.

 

How many times might you have enjoyed a Hollywood motion picture, and not known that you actually share ancestors with the star? Certainly some.

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A Legendary Castle

 An opportunity like this may only come along once in a lifetime.

 

A truly legendary castle, Bran Castle, famous in history as Dracula’s Castle, is being offered for sale.

 

The patterns illustrated in world’s largest maps of human migration show that this sale and the future promotion of the castle is a perfect opportunity for ancestral marketing; marketing targeted to those with family ties.

 

Because it was built slightly more recently than Briquebec Castle there are probably not quite as many living people who can call Dracula’s Castle an ancestral home, but a reasonable estimate is that there are at least tens and probably hundreds of millions of descendants of Bran Castle scattered around the planet.

 

 Maybe Dracula’s Castle is one of your ancestral homes …

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A Red Letter Day

Whenever I experience a remarkable day in the Family Forest® similar to the one I just had, I call it a red letter day.

 

A Family Forest® red letter day is defined as a day when changes of extraordinary and enormous impact happen. These are changes that are vast and far reaching, changes that personally relate to at least tens if not hundreds of millions of living people, and changes that by themselves would justify a new release of the Family Forest®.

 

There is an ancestress in the Family Forest® New World Edition named Eleanor who was born in about 1405. By reasonable estimates more than 100,000,000 living people can call Eleanor grandmother, preceded by a number of “greats.”

 

Eleanor is lineage-linked to both parents, but her father is not lineage-linked to his parents. Eleanor’s mother however is extremely lineage-linked. A 40-generation Family Forest® ancestor chart for her fills in over 1.5 million boxes with the names of ancestors who Eleanor would call grandmother or grandfather, preceded by a number of “greats.”

 

But Eleanor’s father was entered twice in the Family Forest® New World Edition, once as a child of his parents, and once as the husband of Eleanor’s mother. Having just found the recorded history which identifies the two entries as the same person, a simple merge of the previously two individuals produced an enormous gain in the number of identified ancestors of Eleanor’s 100,000,000 or more living descendants.

 

Eleanor’s father’s 40-generation Family Forest® ancestor chart fills in over 560,000 additional boxes with the names of ancestors who Eleanor (and of course all of her descendants) would call grandmother or grandfather, preceded by a number of “greats.”

 

This is one more dramatic example of how less can be more, much more.

 

For me red letter days are always exciting, and still awesome, although they now happen quite frequently.

 

In the early years of the Family Forest® Project, while building the foundation and framework, they almost never happened. But during the last few years the connections have been happening at a surprising and accelerating rate, and there have been between one and two hundred true red letter days during the more than seven hundred days since the Family Forest® New World Edition was finalized.

  

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What is an Ancestral History Cartographer?

 Cartographer: one who produces maps.

When ancient mariners returned from their voyages of discovery, they turned their records and logs over to monastic type individuals (map makers, cartographers) who would turn that data into maps which other mariners would use on subsequent journeys to the same regions.

When those mariners returned, they turned their new records and logs over to same monastic type individuals who would then use the new data to make corrections and improvements to those maps, and then produce new maps that other mariners would use on subsequent journeys to the same regions.

That’s similar to what I have been doing digitally with a vast wealth of professionally recorded history for over a decade.

Over the centuries many have journeyed to ancestral regions and brought back their findings. I am comparing and distilling those findings, digitally connecting the dots of recorded history according to where the experts say they should be connected, and producing new maps of generation-by-generation ancestral pathways that zigzag through thousands of years of recorded history through the lives of actual people.

Most of these maps have never been seen before, and visually following one’s curiosity through the world’s largest maps of human genetic migration can be truly fascinating and enriching.

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What is an Ancestral History Tour Guide?

 

By dictionary definition, I am a genealogist. In reality, I am not what one usually expects a genealogist to be. 

 

By analogy, think of true genealogists as master chefs. Highly trained professional experts who start from scratch and create precision works.

 

Think of an ancestral history tour guide as similar to a person who reviews fine dining restaurants for guides such as Fodors, Frommers, or newspapers such as the New York Times, and directs readers to the best of the best to save them time, money, and aggravation.

That’s what I am doing, and have been doing for tens of thousands of hours already, with many hundreds of warehouses of professionally recorded history. I explore through the fine print of a vast wealth of ancestral history details that the experts have discovered and recorded over the centuries, and I leave a well-marked digital trail to the exact locations of just the best of the best.

 

This allows you and other Family Forest® explorers to quickly zoom into the most relevant ancestral history knowledge, the best of the best, without wading through hundreds or thousands of repetitions of information and misinformation (as is often necessary on the Internet).

 

This is the way I wanted to find my ancestry presented when I became curious; distilled to the best of the best of what the experts had already discovered.

 

Actually, isn’t this the way you hope to explore any topic which interests you?

 

Wouldn’t you rather start any research quest by first finding out what a reasonably intelligent person has discovered after filtering though all of the repetitions and misinformation while searching for the best of the best?

 

 

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So What, Who Cares?

Everyone would, if they only knew. And we would like to give them this special experience via the
Family Forest® Project
.

 

A couple of recent comments suggest that the distant past is irrelevant and there is no good reason for knowing who one’s early ancestors were.

 

These opinions can only be held by someone who has not yet seen any of their own ancestors portrayed in a Hollywood movie or someone who has never stood transfixed in a museum gazing at an ancestor captured on canvas at a pivotal moment in history.

 

Paraphrasing Thomas Aquinas, to him who has not yet experienced it, no explanation is possible. To him who has experienced it, no explanation is necessary.

Try to find these “Ah Ha!” experiences for yourself, and for your family. You and your family will be delighted you did.

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Genealogy’s Big Picture

 

Think about it. For centuries genealogy has been a subject that has been explored, figuratively speaking, through a microscope; small bits or segments of information are viewed in great detail.

 

This is a worthwhile and enriching perspective that will always be beneficial in genealogy, but this perspective is severely hobbled by the limitations of paper-based knowledge, and it lacks the ability to deliver the most exciting “Ah Ha!” experiences ancestral history is waiting to reveal.

 

With this approach, it is very easy to not even notice that there is a very much larger picture to see. And the picture of the ancestral heritage of each of us grows very big very quickly as we proceed into the past, as you can see on the two charts at our site.

 

The computer allows us new possibilities to explore a much more exciting perspective, the really Big Picture that literally relates to each of us personally, in various ways as we follow our curiosity.

 

The Big Picture of genealogy is a multi-continent multi-millennium view that computers allow us to explore visually, after centuries of paper-based ancestral history knowledge has been digitally indexed and lineage-linked as the Family Forest® Project has done.

 

When this vast wealth of professionally recorded ancestral history is filtered into

stage-three digital content, the world’s largest maps of human genetic migration

can be summoned with a few mouse-clicks.

 

These countless charts/maps provide fascinating and surprising views , of our ancestral heritage which are waiting to be explored for personal enrichment. Genealogy’s Big Picture is both fun and captivating.

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Britney Spears and a Pivotal Moment at Jamestown

I just came across an interesting entry in a lineage book of the National Society Daughters of Colonial Wars (NSDCW). It said that Richard Pace “PREVENTED THE ENTIRE COLONY OF JAMESTOWN FROM BEING ELIMINATED BY WARNING AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE OF THE INDIAN MASSACRE OF 22 MAR 1622.”

 

According to the ancestral history already digitally mapped out in the Family Forest®, Richard Pace is one of the 11th great-grandfathers of Britney Spears (Britney is another distant cousin of mine, through our Briquebec Castle ancestor).

 

According to recorded history, Richard Pace was warned of the impending massacre by the Indian who was assigned to kill Richard.

 

Richard used this knowledge to save the lives of people who became the ancestors of countless millions of people living today. Among the immediate beneficiaries of this warning was at least one of my own ancestors.

 

Also according to the ancestral history already digitally mapped out in the Family Forest®, Peter Montague, arrived in Jamestown in 1621. I am descended from Peter’s son, also named Peter, who was born in the 1630’s.

 

If Richard Pace had not survived his planned assassination and gone on to warn the Jamestown Colony, if Peter Montague had not survived the Indian massacre, if one of my 8th great-grandfathers had never been born, would I have never been born? Or would I have been born as someone else?

 

History pivots on small events. If one Indian had not disobeyed his Chief, there would be no Family Forest® today, and maybe no Britney Spears (her 10th great-grandfather George Pace was born well before the massacre, and may or may not have been at Jamestown at the time).

 

Bruce Harrison

Ancestral History Tour Guide and Cartographer

 

 

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One Million in Four Centuries

There is a rule of thumb I use when estimating the number of descendants a person in the distant past may have today. It is based on a claim from The Mayflower Society which I have seen over the years.

It has been estimated that there are between 30 and 35 million living descendants from the 26 Mayflower families that left descendants. This would mean that on average, someone who lived four centuries ago could have between 1.15 and 1.34 million descendants today.

My rule of thumb for estimating is that one couple can have one million living descendants four centuries later. The patterns of human genetic migrations I see in the Family Forest® indicate that this number could be correct, and if not, one more century would certainly make it so.

If a couple who lived at the time of the Mayflower Pilgrims can have one million living descendants today, how many living descendants might there be today from a couple who lived four centuries before the Mayflower Pilgrims? Or eight centuries before the Mayflower Pilgrims?

What about four centuries into the future? Could it be possible that you will be an ancestor of one million people living in the 25th century?

Does anyone know of any reason why this one-million-in-four-centuries rule of thumb may be incorrect?

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