Tag Archives: Entertainment

History Pivots on Small Events

As I am searching daily through the vast collection of fascinating nooks and crannies of recorded history waiting to be explored (and leaving a well-marked digital trail to the discoveries found there), I often pause to reflect on this thought-proving truth.

What if this or that seemingly insignificant deed, action, accident, mistake, introduction, meeting, serendipitous discovery or observation, suggestion, encouragement, timely smile, act of kindness, etc. had never happened? What if ……?

Recently I was reminded of this truth in my own life, when this photograph arrived in my email.


There is famous Hollywood actor John Travolta. How many hours over the years have we enjoyed watching and re-watching his movies? How many people around the globe instantly recognize him?

Then there is famous NASA space pioneer and American hero Buzz Aldrin, an inspiration to so many people over the decades, and now an active advocate for America’s future greatness.

Then there is my dear old friend Tom Nocera, the youngest member of the launch crew for Apollo 11, celebrating the 46th anniversary of the historic event with our cousin Buzz and John Travolta.

While he was there, he informed Buzz Aldrin that Buzz is a single-digit cousin of the first American woman in space, Sally Ride. Tom presented him with a Family Forest® relationship chart laying out the exact connection.

Just a couple of weeks earlier Tom gave Mrs. David Crosby a Family Forest® relationship chart. It showed David’s generation-by-generation family ties to one of David’s favorite authors, Mark Twain.

Even though it was a very small event over four decades ago, it’s still a vivid memory. My fiancee and I were on a pier on Clearwater Beach on a picture postcard perfect Florida evening, taking pictures with her Dad’s camera.

I accidently dropped the lens cap, and watched helplessly as it rolled seemingly in slow motion to the edge of the pier, then fell silently for about six feet before it went kerplunk! (lens caps were metal in those days) into Clearwater Bay.

Tom Nocera, the owner of the camera store where we bought a replacement lens cap the next day, became a great and lifelong friend.

If that one tiny event had not happened, if I had not accidentally dropped that lens cap 44 years ago, this photograph would not have arrived in my email box. But impossible to imagine, the whole timeline in between would have been altered in incalculable ways, including probably, me meeting Kristine.

Almost equally as important to Kristine and me today, Tom would not have become the leading champion of our Family Forest® Project, and one of its most enthusiastic supporters.

Thank you Tom for being there in Clearwater that day, for your encouragement and assistance to keep us Networking Family History with Hollywood™, and for introducing the Family Forest® to so many of the millions of people who are destined to be delighted and enriched by it!


Filed under Buzz Aldrin, Cousins, Family Forest, Family Forest® Project, history, Hollywood, NASA

New Portal Into Genealogical Entertainment

Many thanks to our friend Tom Nocera who has just created a fun resource that we would like to share with you.

It is a visual window into a decade and a half of short stories about surprising genealogical connections from the Family Forest® into probably some of your favorite Hollywood movies.

Just click on www.hotonfire.com and then click on whichever movies catch your attention.

Please follow some of the links within the stories, as they are often illuminating enhancements.



Filed under 83rd Academy Awards, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Genealogy, Hollywood, National Treasure

Highclere Castle to the Oscars

What do the 85th Academy Awards, PBS’ Downton Abbey, Knights Templar, and Super Bowl XLVII have in common?

They are all connected to each other (and consequently to millions of fans), through generation-by-generation family ties in the Family Forest®.

Sounds impossible?

That’s exactly what I would have thought, before I spent tens of thousands of hours questing through the nooks and crannies of recorded history, filtering and distilling the knowledge that was assembled by experts, and digitally-indexing the results into an amazingly interconnected network of ancestral pathways that can now be explored visually.

The attached chart is a small example of the answers the Family Forest® can generate. Here’s what you will find.

The first column is 21 people. The second column shows their connection to the Oscars, and the third column shows their role.

The next four columns show the computer-generated relationships of the 21 people in the first column to other people.

The fifth column is Seth MacFarlane, host of the 85th Academy Awards.

The next column is to the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, the present Lord of Highclere Castle, which is the setting for PBS’ enormously popular series Downton Abbey. Highclere Castle is also the setting for a current New York Times best-seller.

The 8th Earl of Carnarvon has extensive early Colonial American ancestry, which makes him a single-digit cousin to many millions of Downton Abbey fans. Almost half of the people in the column are his single-digit cousins.

The following column is to the founder of Briquebec Castle. This one is the most fascinating to me because, according to the recorded history mapped out in the Family Forest®, it is one of my own ancestral homes.

And not only does Briquebec Castle have Knights Templar history (remember the Da Vinci Code?), but it is possible to book a stay at the castle tonight, and it is the focal point of what may be the world’s largest eBook. In addition to Briquebec being an ancestral home to at least 20 of the 21 people in column one, it is also an ancestral home of the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, owner of Highclere Castle, and the Harbaugh brothers.

The last column is to the two brothers who will be making history by dueling in Super Bowl XLVII next Sunday, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, and San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

I hope you enjoy all of the great entertainment, and that you will think about the incredible system of links that allows us to bring you these connections.


Filed under 85th Academy Awards, 8th Earl of Carnarvon, Ancestral History, Ancestry, Baraon Anslech Turstain of Briquebec, Downton Abbey, Family Forest National Treasure, Genealogy, Highclere Castle, PBS Masterpiece Theatre, Seth MacFarlane, Super Bowl

Katie Couric’s Storytelling Genes

Why is Katie Couric still so popular after all these years?

Could it be because of her storytelling genes?

According to the ancestral history already mapped out in the Family Forest, Katie shares ancestors with America’s most famous storyteller. She is a 6C4R (sixth cousin four times removed) of Mark Twain.

Katie Couric and Mark Twain share Moorman ancestors. Some of their famous cousins through their Moorman connection are Tallulah Bankhead, Laura Linney, Lance Armstrong, and Hilary Duff.

The Family Forest® Project is, along with numerous other edutainment objectives, Networking Family History with Hollywood™, and connecting audiences through actual family ties better than any other digital resource, either online or offline.

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Filed under ABC, Ancestors, Family Forest® Project, Family History, FamilyForest.com, Genealogy, Hollywood, Katie Couric, Mark Twain, National Treasure, television

Genealogy and the 84th Academy Awards

Will genetics be a factor in bringing home an Oscar this year?

It appears that it may have been at the Golden Globes this year. Michelle Williams won for Best Actress for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe.  Could her award-winning performance have been because they share ancestors?

When I ran a Family Forest kinship report [# 10] for Michelle, I discovered that according to the large web of ancestral history already mapped out in the Family Forest, Michelle and Marilyn are cousins.

According to recorded history, they are ninth cousins once removed through their Peabody/Paybody ancestors, and they both have a number of other entertainment cousins who are also descended from the early Peabody/Paybody family of Massachusetts.

Those cousins include Glenn Close (one of Michelle’s competitors at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards this year), Kyra Sedgwick, Halle Berry, Racquel Welch, Grace Slick, Mark Wahlberg, David Hyde Pierce, Orson Welles, Robert Lansing, and if you consider the political arena to be entertaining, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.

Kristine and I will be tuning into ABC on Sunday Febraury 26th to watch the 84th Academy Awards and see if Michelle wins the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of her cousin, Marilyn Monroe, or if one of her other cousins wins (Michelle is also a distant cousin of Meryl Streep).

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Filed under 84th Academy Awards, Ancestors, Ancestral History, Ancestry, Cousins, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Family History, Genealogy, Golden Globes, Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, Oscar nominee

Natalie Wood’s Pallbearers

The thirtieth anniversary of the death of Hollywood icon Natalie Wood has generated plently of media attention. One story I saw mentioned her pallbearers.

So I checked in the Family Forest® and discovered that in addition to Natalie Wood, the Family Forest® National Treasure has six of the seven of her Pallbearers, according to the list at IMDb.

This should certainly sound like a ho-hum “So what?” claim, until one becomes aware of the primary guideline that has been steering the growth of the Family Forest® since before the end of the last century.

No one gets into the Family Forest® unless they are linked by birth or marriage, or occassionally adoption, to someone who is already in the Family Forest®.

Can you imagine a single interconnected web of family ties that is so extensive that it includes Natalie Wood, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, and Elia Kazan? (As well as all U.S. Presidents, Vice Presidents, and their wives, Pearl Harbor survivors, Titanic passengers, Alamo heros, Boston Tea Party “Indians,” all of the people and celebrities discussed in Family Forest® blogs, plus many others.)

That’s the Family Forest®, and among other edutainment objectives, the Family Forest® Project is Networking Family History with Hollywood™.

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Filed under Ancestry, Boston Tea Party, Family Forest, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, FamilyForest.com, Hollywood, IMDb, National Treasure, Pearl Harbor

Google Plus Family Forest®

For a wealth of free history lessons for you or your children, here’s the simple search formula. Google “Family Forest” + __________  = engaging stories from A People-Centered Approach To History®.

Of course we believe that these stories are much more fun and enriching if you have full access to the Family Forest® National Treasure to follow the curiosity these stories are sure to generate, but these stories are great history starters on their own.

For instance, if you are looking for stories about a history event, like the 4th of July, try Googling “Family Forest” (in quotes) + signer. Or substitute in place of signer a word or phrase such as american revolution, or declaration, or independence, or tea party, or ticonderoga, or inventor.

Other history event suggestions are “Family Forest” (in quotes) + alamo, civil war, gettysburg, world war, world war II, pearl harbor, or flight.

As you can see in the previous examples, you can search for specific places. Try Googling “Family Forest” (in quotes) + a place such as hawaii, hi, texas, tx (or any of the other state names or their two-digit postal abbreviation), america, england, ireland, rome (or many other country names), jamestown, plymouth, big bear, boston, or many other key American and European cities.

You can search for specific historical figures. Try Googling “Family Forest” (in quotes) + constantine, charlemagne, milesius, solomon, longshanks, robert I, wright brothers, rockefeller, george washington, adams, jefferson, abraham lincoln, general grant, kaiulani, macarthur, patton, etc.

You can search for general themes. try Googling “Family Forest” (in quotes) + ancestors, ancestral, ancestry, ancestral history, maps, explore, genealogy, charts, cousins, progeny, heros, veterans, baseball, texas ranger, bible, senator, governor, mayflower, first lady, white house, celebrity, history, congress, obama, kerry, bush, sarah palin, royal, royalty, king, queen, prince william, kate middleton, bill gates, etc.

You can search for Hollywood and entertainment related history. Try Googling “Family Forest” (in quotes) + a word or name such as television, tv, radio, movie, gunsmoke, hollywood, oscar, golden globes, academy awards, saturday night live, tcm, brooke shields, sarah jessica parker, wdytya, ted danson, meryl streep, braveheart, star trek, john adams, tom hanks, tudors, ken burns, marilyn monroe, paris hilton, britney spears, kevin bacon, susan sarandon, julia child, madonna, buffett, etc.

There are also corporate starters to history. Try Googling “Family Forest” (in quotes) + google, yahoo, disney, microsoft, tnt, amazon.com, hbo, cbs, nbc, or imdb.

Every parent who wants to inspire their children to be smarter and do better in school should give them full access to the Family Forest® National Treasure.

The Family Forest® is also inspirational and enriching for the whole family. Here’s a link to some short videos to show some of the possibilities.

Hint: If you do not want to spend time searching use this page http://familyforest.com/archives.html as a starting point, then follow the links in these stories.

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Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Alec Baldwin, American Revolution, Ancestors, Ancestral History, Ancestry, Audie Murphy, Baseball, Boston Tea Party, CBS, Civil War, Cousins, ebooks, education, Excellence, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Family History, Fourth of July, Genealogy, Golden Globes, Google, Gunsmoke, Hawaii, HBO, history, Hollywood, IMDb, Independence Day, Jack Nicholson, James Arness, John Adams, Julia Child, Kate Middleton, King Robert I of Scotland, Maps, National Treasure, Pearl Harbor, Princess Kaiulani, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah Palin, SNL, Susan Sarandon, television, Texas, The Tudors, White House, Who Do You Think You Are, World War II