Tag Archives: FamilyForest.com

Johnny Depp’s Famous Relatives

Two suspicious articles just appeared about Johnny Depp and Queen Elizabeth II being very distantly related.

One article calls them “cousins, 20 times removed.” This seems very unlikey, because to become any degree of cousins 20 times removed of anyone living at the same time requires the closest ancestral connection between the two to be at least thousands of years ago.

They are also called 20th cousins by “relying upon an unreported but widely known marriage in the 1600s” in another article. It is impossible to become 20th cousins of anyone within that relatively short time span.

The Family Forest® has not yet found a reliable connection between the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star and the current British monarcy, but a Family Forest® kinship report last night for Johnny Depp did find some of his much closer famous relatives.

They are Major Reno of the Battle of the Little Big Horn fame (3C4R), current US Senators Mark Udall and Tom Udall (both 6C1R), Grammy award winning singer Taylor Swift (7C1R), actress and famous World War II pin-up girl Bettly Grable (9C1R), ‘Superman’ actor Christopher Reeve (10C), and TV newsman Anderson Cooper (10C).

These relationships are summaries representing the fully-sourced generation-by-generation family ties between Johnny Depp and each of these people in the Family Forest®.

The Family Forest Project® is Networking Family History with Hollywood™.

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Filed under A People-Centered Approach To History®, Ancestors, Ancestral History, Ancestry, Cousins, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Genealogy, Hollywood, Johnny Depp, Queen Elizabeth II, Royalty

$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

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

Assessing Potential Ancestors

According to Bishop Stapeldon of Exeter who was sent to inspect her, “The lady … has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is clean shaped; her forhead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than her forhead. Her eyes are blackish-brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that it is somewhat broad at the tip and flattened, yet it is no snub-nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full, and especially the lower lip. Her teeth which have fallen and grown again are white enough, but the rest are not so white. The lower teeth project a little beyond the upper; yet this is but little seen. Her ears and chin are comely enough. Her neck, shoulders, and all her body and lower limbs are reasonably well shapen; all her limbs are well set and unmaimed; and none is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is of brown skin all over, and much like her father; and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us.”

The Bishop also added she was neither too tall nor too short for her age, and that she was of fair carriage, and well taught in all that becometh her rank.

Philippa of Hainault was eight years old at the time of her assessment. She lived to become Queen of England and the ancestor of certainly hundreds of millions of people living today, including last year’s Oscar winner and this year’s Oscar nominee, Jeff Bridges, the focal point of the next blog.

The central framework of Philippa’s lines of descent to present day can be found in this eBook.

Anyone with a Family Forest® National Treasure Edition can easily pull up various size ancestor charts for Philippa, including a 10-generation chart with 838 boxes filled in, and a 60-generation chart with 764,590 boxes filled in.

This is one illustration of why we believe at least two billion living people have more of their early ancestry already assembled in the Family Forest® than they can see anywhere else.

P. S. The Bishop’s assessment can be found on page 81 of Debrett’s Kings and Queens of Britain by David Williamson.

See a short video about her descendants

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Filed under Ancestors, Ancestry, Debrett's Kings and Queens of Britain, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Genes, Family History, Genealogy, Jeff Bridges, King Edward III of England, National Treasure, Oscar nominee, Philippa, Queen of England

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