Tag Archives: American History

$100 Million Legacy Released a Century Later

There was an interesting story this week about one of the most unusual wills in American history. It appears that about a century ago, one of the richest men in America must have been very upset with his immediate family.

Hon. Wellington R. Burt, a large timber baron in Michigan, died in 1919 and left his fortune to his family. Nothing unusual about that. But one condition stipulated in the will brought this large legacy into the news in 2011.

Wellington Burt’s fortune was not to be distributed to his family heirs until 21 years after all of his grandchildren who were living in 1919 had died. That condition has just been met, and the $100 to $110 million legacy is about to be released.

You may be surprised to see who has family ties to this history book event. Within the 25,000 plus relatives in the Family Forest kinship report (see question number ten) of Hon. Wellington R. Burt are a number of instantly recognizable names.

Some of the other wealthy Americans are Wall Street icon Warren Buffett (7C3R), AOL founder Steve Case (6C3R), Mrs. King Ranch Henrietta Maria Morse Chamberlain (7C), firearms manufacturer Colonel Samuel Colt (7C), department store heir Marshall Field V (6C3R), Wall Street legend JP Morgan (7C1R), and eBay executive Meg Whitman (7C3R).

Some of the entertainers are Humphrey Bogart (8C1R), Spring Byington (6C2R), Agatha Christie (6C2R), Cindy Crawford (8C4R), Bruce and Laura Dern (8C2R & 8C3R), Jane and Peter Fonda (6C3R), Matthew Fox (6C5R), Dorothy and Lillian Gish (6C4R), Ernest Hemingway (8C2R), Dennis Hopper (6C5R), Tom Mix (6C2R), Anthony Perkins (6C3R), Robert Redford (6C5R), Christopher Reeve (5C4R), Tim Robbins (6C5R), Pat Robertson (7C4R), Tennessee Williams (6C2R), and Jonathan Winters (6C4R).

And some of the politicians are both Presidents Bush (7C2R & 7C3R), Rep. Ed Case (6C3R), Sir Winston Churchill (6C2R), President Grover Cleveland (6C1R), Vice President Charles Curtis (6C1R), Vice President Charles Gates Dawes (7C2R), President Gerald Ford (6C3R), President Richard Nixon (8C3R), Governor Sarah Palin (6C5R), President Franklin Pierce (5C1R), Vice President Nelson Rockefeller (6C3R), Governor Mitt Romney (5C4R), and President William Howard Taft (8C1R).

I am a 7C4R of Hon. Wellington R. Burt, and the Family Forest® is a People-Centered Approach To History®.

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Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Ancestors, Ancestral History, Descendants, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Family History, Genealogy, Hollywood, Legacy, Uncategorized, Wellington R. Burt

Lionel Richie on WDYTYA

One of my top two favorite episodes so far this season on ABC’s Who Do you Think You Are? series is available online here.

The part I like best is watching Lionel’s delight while giving his children the gift of knowledge about some of their own ancestral heritage.

I also like knowing that there is so much more to the story waiting for Lionel’s family.

I wonder how they will react when they discover that, according to recorded history, they are almost certainly descended from royalty and they actually share ancestors with recent WDYTYA subject Tim McGraw?

The program tells us that Lionel’s ancestor John Louis Brown was almost certainly either the son, or the grandson, of Dr. Morgan Brown. Dr. Brown is descended from Sir Anthony Browne, Viscount Montagu.

If you click on Viscount Montagu (PIN 27986 in the Family Forest National Treasure and ask for a ten generation ancestor view, you will see his generation-by-generation ancestral pathway leading to Edward I Longshanks, King of England (portrayed in Braveheart), through his grandson, Edward III.

You will also see another see another ancestral pathway leading to Longshanks through one of his granddaughters, Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent.

If you ask for a 20-generation descendant view of Viscount Montagu, you will see some lines of descent to some famous cousins of Lionel, including President FDR, Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau, Senator John Kerry and Senator John Edwards, Queen Elizabeth II, Sarah Ferguson, Cary Elwes, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, and “The Thornbirds” star Rachel Ward.

If Lionel’s ancestor John Louis Brown was the son of Dr. Morgan Brown, you can click on Dr. Brown’s wife Elizabeth Little  (PIN 282063 in the Family Forest National Treasure and ask for a twenty generation ancestor view. You will see her generation-by-generation ancestral pathway leading to Robert I, King of Scotland (also portrayed in Braveheart).

If you like Who Do you Think You Are?, you will enjoy visually exploring the National Treasure to see what we mean when we say that the Family Forest Project is Networking Family History with Hollywood™.

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestry, Braveheart, ebooks, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Family History, Genealogy, King Edward III of England, King Robert I of Scotland, Lionel Richie, Who Do You Think You Are

Tim McGraw on WDYTYA

This is another worthwhile and well-done episode available online here from the team that creates the Who Do you Think You Are? program on NBC.

My favorite part is seeing how proudly people react to discovering and sharing with relatives that they have actual family ties to historical places, historical events, and real historical figures, and in this case, to two of Tim’s heroes.

It was interesting watching the story unfold leading up to being able to tell Tim that his hero George Washington knew Tim’s ancestors, and another one of Tim’s ancestors came to America with one of Elvis’ ancestors.

I wonder how Tim and his family will react when they discover that, according to recorded history, they actually share ancestors with George Washington, Elvis Presley, General Patton, Reese Witherspoon, and many other well-known people?

The Family Forest® is now capable of generating a huge number of relationship charts connecting Tim and his children through common ancestors to most of the key people, places, and events in human history, as well as to many of Tim’s entertainment collegues, and probably even more importantly, to Tim’s fans and potential fans.

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Filed under Ancestral History, Ancestry, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, Family History, Genealogy, Tim McGraw, Uncategorized, Who Do You Think You Are

The Kindness of Strangers

A new Family Forest® customer wrote “Actually, I had no idea about that. Thank you so much! That’s fabulous! Most of my information is from census records and marriage records, which, as you know, are quite impersonal. I will definitely have to check out that book.” 

Elizabeth was writing about a story our ancestral history tour guide service discovered about one of her own ancestors. 

With two of his brothers and their father, young Samuel Boyd was in a skirmish in South Carolina in the American Revolution. He was left for dead after a musket ball passed through his temple and took out his right eye. An old colored woman found him and took care of him until he was able to get away. 

He did not have any children at the time, but after surviving a shot to the head, he went on to become an early pioneer settler in Kentucky and father of a large family of children who became the ancestors of many living people today. 

What if that kind old colored woman had not befriended Samuel at that critical time? Would his descendants have never been born? Or would they have been born as someone else? 

While we’ll never know the answer to that, we do know something else for certain. History pivots on small events, including the kindness of a stranger. 

The story about Samuel’s pivotal Revolutionary event and his ensuing full life begins on page 121 in the 1892 Autobiography and Sermons of Elder Elijah Martindale by Belle Stanford.

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

Presidents’ Day

 Do you know this about President George Washington and other presidential trivia?

Do you know how this day in history Washington’s Birthday became known as Presidents’ Day?

 Do you know why President Bush, Senator Kerry and FamilyForest.com were featured in USA Today?

 Do you know why CBS News did a story on President Bush that mentioned his connection to Hugh Hefner? 

Do you know why Walt Disney, President Bush and President Obama are mentioned in this NPR story? 

Do you know which ancestors of President Barack Obama link him to U.S. Presidents?

Do you know how to search for US Presidents in the Family Forest® National Treasure?

Do you know President Lincoln and Charles Darwin share birthdays? 

Do you know President Lincoln and President Obama share ancestors?

 Do you know what an Ancestors-at-a-glance fan chart looks like for President William Taft? 

Happy Presidents’ Day!

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Filed under Ancestral History, education, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Presidents Day, U.S. Presidents

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

Journey Back to Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941

Let us never forget what happened on this day 69 years ago at Pearl Harbor. Some of us can only remember it from the history books, the stories we have heard of heroes, and the movies we have seen. For some of our parents and grandparents, it is still a very vivid memory that changed their lives.

Now with the grand opening dedication of the new Pearl Harbor Visitors Center on the 69th Anniversary of the attack, this December 7th 2010 we have another way of honoring these men and women. We can visit there, take a journey back in time with the latest in digital technology, and reflect on what happened on that day in history. 

If you plan to attend here is a listing of the events: http://pacificislandparks.com/2010/11/30/remember-pearl-harbor-events/ 

Watch Pearl Harbor the movie and see how it relates to you. 

Volunteer at the New Visitors center at:http://the-military-guide.com/2010/11/29/construction-tour-of-the-new-uss-arizona-memorial-museums/

Discover a captivating book about individual World War II soldiers and their stories at Everytown USA

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Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Pearl Harbor, World War II