Gunsmoke and James Arness

It’s sad when a television star who was so prominent in ones childhood passes. With the passing of James Arness, it was doubly sad for me.
Do you ever have a particular thought that whenever it pops to mind, an associated thought, sometimes seemingly unrelated, pops to mind with it? I have one that’s always triggered by Gunsmoke. It is memories of my Grandma Harrison. She appears to have been conscious of and knowledgeable about her family heritage. I wonder, from a Family Forest® perspective, would she have been surprised to learn that I now have her networked through generation-by-generation family ties to the Hollywood star who she welcomed into her living room as Marshall Matt Dillon for twenty years?

 It’s sad when a television star who was so prominent in ones childhood passes. With the passing of James Arness, it was doubly sad for me. 

Do you ever have a particular thought that whenever it pops to mind, an associated thought, sometimes seemingly unrelated, pops to mind with it? I have one that’s always triggered by Gunsmoke. It is memories of my Grandma Harrison. 

I remember fondly when I was a kid, for many reasons, it was always a treat to get to spend the weekend at Grandma’s. In addition to having more root beer, M&Ms, and Hershey kisses than I would ever get at home, one of my favorite reasons was getting to stay up late and watch Gunsmoke with Grandma. 

So for me, the sadness of James Arness’s death was accompanied by the sadness of missing Grandma, and wondering about the answers to questions I never asked her.  

What did she know about her family heritage? Her unfeminine middle name of Bryant appears to be a surname. Where did it come from? At least one of her children has a middle name that is known to be one of our family surnames. What about a couple of her other children? Where did their surname-sounding middle names come from?  

She appears to have been conscious of and knowledgeable about her family heritage. I wonder, from a Family Forest® perspective, would she have been surprised to learn that I now have her networked through generation-by-generation family ties to the Hollywood star who she welcomed into her living room as Marshall Matt Dillon for twenty years? I wish I could tell her. 

I’ll bet she would be surprised to learn that I have also networked James Arness and his brother Peter Graves to plenty of famous cousins they share though 1600’s ancestors, including Bill Gates, Benjamin “The Signer” Franklin, George Gilder, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Kurt Russell (also appeared in Gunsmoke), Sigourney Weaver, Tuesday Weld, George Plimpton, President John Quincy Adams, Ransom Eli Olds, Jennifer Aniston, both Presidents Bush, Christopher Reeve, Kyra Sedgwick, Edie Sedgwick, Montgomery Clift, Louisa May Alcott, Governor Howard Dean, Emily Dickinson, Hugh Hefner, Dennis Hopper (also appeared in Gunsmoke), Warren Buffett, Howard Hawks, Viggo Mortensen, Tom Mix, Governor Mitt Romney, Tennessee Williams, First Lady Bess Truman, Frederic Remington, President Rutherford B. Hayes, President Grover Cleveland, O. Henry, William “The Signer” Williams, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Pete Seeger, George Kennedy (also appeared in Gunsmoke), Governor Mike Huckabee, Erle Stanley Gardner, Princess Diana, Oliver Platt, Brooke Shields, Meg Whitman, Chase Utley, Governor Sarah Palin, Fred Gwynne, Vice-President Charles Curtis, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Chief Justice William Renhquist, Dick Clark, Dorothy and Lillian Gish, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Frederick Law Olmstead, John Foster Dulles, Spring Byington, Clint Eastwood, Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, Ted Waitt, Richard Gere, Arne Duncan, Vincent Price, President Gerald Ford, Lee Remick, Archibald Cox, JonBenet Ramsey, and Marilyn Monroe.  

The Family Forest® Project is, among other objectives, Networking Family History with Hollywood™.

 

 

Johnny Depp’s Famous Relatives

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.

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™.

Lionel Richie on WDYTYA

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.

One of my top two favorite episodes so far this season on ABC’s Who Do you Think You Are?

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™.

Tim McGraw on WDYTYA

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,…

This is another worthwhile and well-done episode 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.

Assessing Potential Ancestors

Philippa 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.

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

Kate Middleton’s Other Famous Relatives

The Family Forest® Project is, among a number of other objectives, Networking Family History with Hollywood™. If we explore the descendants of Kate’s Fairfax ancestors who were mentioned in the AP article, we find some interesting entertainment and celebrity cousins of Kate.

An Associated Press news story Tuesday reported on some of Kate Middleton’s famous relatives. All of the connections they announced, plus many more networked connections, could have been explored visually a year ago in the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition.

The Family Forest® Project is, among a number of other objectives, Networking Family History with Hollywood™. If we explore the descendants of Kate’s Fairfax ancestors who were mentioned in the AP article, we find some interesting entertainment and celebrity cousins of Kate.

She has several cousins associated with comedy, such as talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Alec Baldwin who portrayed his 14C2R last week on The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and Cheers star Ted Danson.

Other Fairfax cousins are AOL founder Steve Case, incoming Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, and 2010 World Series ­­­participants President George Herbert Walker Bush and President George Walker Bush.

If we widen the net just a little further by backing up one more generation to Sir William Gascoigne, also mentioned in the AP article, we find more of Kate’s entertainment and celebrity cousins. They include Anthony Perkins, Cary Elwes, Christopher Reeve, Grace Slick, Hilary Duff, Montgomery Clift, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Ferguson, Mitt Romney, and U.S. Presidents Taft and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Family Forest® Ancestors-at-a-glance(TM) charts for most of the above mentioned cousins of future queen Kate Middleton can be found here. And for more thought-provoking edutainment, you can visually explore Kate’s and Prince William’s generation-by-generation ancestral pathways leading to many of human history’s most famous ancestors in the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition.

Everyday folks (See FAQ #4), like me, make up most of Kate’s hundreds of thousands of relatives she is already networked to in the Family Forest®. Maybe you or one of your ancestors are one of them?

Just Kate’s known Gascoigne cousins (all royally descended) have surnames including Abbott, Aborn, Adams, Alexander, Allen, Allyn, Ambler, Ames, Anderson, Armistead, Armstrong, Arnold, Asbury, Atkinson, Atteberry, Auchincloss, Austin, Avery, Babbitt, Babcock, Bacon, Bailey, Baker, Baldwin, Ball, Bankhead, Baptist, Barbour, Barker, Barksdale, Barney, Barrett, Bartlett, Barton, Bassett, Beasley, Beauchamp, Bedinger, Beebe, Bellingham, Benning, Benson, Bethell, Bigelow, Billingsley, Bingham, Black, Bladen, Block, Blodgett, Bohannan, Bolton, Bonfils, Booker, Bosworth, Bowen, Bradley, Brattle, Breed, Brewster, Briggs, Brill, Brockway, Brown, Browne, Browning, Bruce, Bryan, Buck, Buckner, Bulkley, Bullock, Burlingame, Burr, Burrows, Burrus, Burwell, Bush, Butler, Button, Byars, Brydges, Byrd, Brydon, Byrne, Cabell, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callaway, Carpenter, Carrier, Carrington, Carter, Cavendish, Chamberlayne, Champlin, Chapman, Chesebro, Chesebrough, Chesley, Christophers, Churchill, Clark, Clarkson, Cobb, Cobbs, Cochran, Cocke, Coit, Colburn, Coleman, Coles, Colfax, Comstock, Cone, Converse, Cooch, Cooke, Cookson, Costello, Cotton, Cox, Crabtree, Crackenthorpe, Crisman, Crocker, Crosby, Cushman, Daingerfield, Dale, Dallas, Daniel, Davidson, Davies, Davis, Day, Dean, Dearborn, Denison, Denniston, Dewey, Dickinson, Dietz, Dillard, Dimmock, Dixon, Dodge, Dougherty, Dowsling, Drake, Duff, Dulany, Durfee, Early, Edmondson, Edrington, Egerton, Eldredge, Ellis, Elwes, Empie, Erickson, Fain, Fairfax, Farwell, Fenwick, Ferguson, Fernsley, Fish, Fisher, Fiske, Fitzhugh, Foote, Foraker, Forbes, Forrest, Foster, Fowler, Franklin, Freeman, Frost, Fry, Fuller, Furlow, Gallup, Gammons, Gardner, Garnsey, Garth, Gates, Gatewood, Geer, Giddings, Gillespie, Glassell, Glenn, Goddard, Goff, Goggin, Good, Gordon, Gore, Gorsuch, Grafton, Grant, Green, Greene, Greenhow, Griffith, Griffin, Guernsey, Guest, Guile, Gwathmey, Hale, Hall, Hallam, Hamilton, Hancock, Harlow, Harris, Harrison, Hazard, Helm, Henderson, Henley, Henry, Herbert, Hereford, Herman, Herrick, Hill, Hinckley, Hoag, Hodges, Holcombe, Holliday, Holmes, Hood, Hopkins, Hopton, Hosford, Hotchkiss, Hough, Howard, Hubard, Hull, Hummer, Hunt, Hunter, Huntington, Hurlbut, Hutchison, Hyde, Ingraham, Ince, Ingram, Irving, Isham, James, Jenkins, Jewett, Johnson, Joiner, Joliffe, Jones, Keim, Kellogg, Kelton, Kenney, Kennon, Keppel, Keyser, Kidd, Kimball, King, Kingman, Kingsbury, Kingsley, Kurtz, Lascelles, Ladd, Langworthy, Larrabee, Latham, Lea, Leake, Leonard, Lewandowski, Lewis, Lightfoot, Lightner, Lincoln, Logan, Lott, Lovell, Lowndes, Lucas, Lukens, Lumbert, Lumley, Mackworth, Madison, Main, Mallory, Manley, Mann, Manners, Manwaring, Marbury, Marshall, Martin, Mason, Maury, Maxson, McCampbell, McDonnell, McGuire, McIlhenney, McMullin, McPherson, Mead, Meade, Meadows, Meriwether, Merritt, Miller, Mills, Milner, Miner, Minor, Mitchell, Moncure, Montague, Moore, Moran, Morris, Morton, Muir, Mullikin, Mumford, Munroe, Murray, Nelson, Nicklin, Nourse, Noyes, Nye, Ogle, Olivier, Osborne, Otis, Oviatt, Owen, Packer, Packett, Page, Paine, Palmer, Parks, Parlin, Patrick, Patten, Patterson, Patteson, Patton, Payne, Peabody, Pearce, Peck, Peckham, Pendleton, Perine, Perkins, Perry, Peterson, Peyton, Phelps, Phillips, Pierce, Pillow, Place, Poindexter, Pomeroy, Porter, Prentice, Preston, Price, Putnam, Quarles, Randall, Randolph, Rathbone, Raymond, Reade, Reed, Reilly, Reynolds, Rhodes, Rice, Richards, Richardson, Richmond, Ridgway, Ripley, Rives, Robertson, Robins, Robinson, Robson, Robson, Rogers, Roman, Romney, Root, Roper, Ross, Rowley, Royster, Russell, Ryan, Sale, Saltonstall, Sampson, Sandys, Satterlee, Scarborough, Schlesinger, Schroeder, Scott, Scruggs, Scudder, Sedgwick, Selden, Shackmaple, Shattuck, Sheldon, Shepard, Shrewsbury, Simpson, Sinclair, Singleton, Slaughter, Sloan, Smith, Snicker, Sorley, Spencer, Spilman, Spotswood, Stanton, Starling, Stearns, Stebbins, Steele, Stevenson, Stokes, Stone, Stringer, Strode, Sullivan, Sumner, Swan, Swartwout, Sykes, Tabb, Taintor, Talboys, Taliaferro, Tallmadge, Tasker, Tayloe, Taylor, Tennison, Terry, Thiot, Thomas, Thompson, Thomson,  Thornton, Throckmorton, Thurber, Tiernan, Tiffany, Tilley, Todd, Topping, Tracy, Trumbull, Truscott, Tucker, Tunstall, Turner, Tyndell, Underwood, Van Zandt, Venable, Villiers, Von Dohlen, Walker, Wallop, Walton, Walworth, Ward, Warfield, Warner, Washburn, Washington, Waterhouse, Wattles, Watson, Weaver, Webster, Weeks, Wertenbaker, West, Wheeler, Wheaton, Whipple, White, Whitner, Whitney, Wickham, Wigglesworth, Wightman, Wiley, Williams, Willis, Willoughby, Wilson, Windsor, Wingfield, Wood, Woodbridge, Woodford, Woods, Woodville, Woolfolk, Wordsworth, Worthington, Wyndham, Yeomans, York, and Young.

Texas Heroes and Google Books

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 of her descendants do not yet know of their own family ties to her, the Alamo, and Audie Murphy?

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.

Chelsea Clinton Family Forest Kinship

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

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.

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

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.

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.

Independence Day 2010

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.

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!