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 ……?

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.

TomJohnBuzzphoto

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!

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.

Enjoy!

Highclere Castle to the Oscars

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

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.

Katie Couric’s Storytelling Genes

ABC and Katie Couric, and Mark Twain share …The Family Forest® Project is, along with numerous other edutainment objectives, Networking Family History with Hollywood™,

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.

Genealogy and the 84th Academy Awards

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?

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).

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.

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.)

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™.

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®.

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.

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™.

 

 

John Adams Revisited

Why wasn’t anyone thunderstruck with any of the amazing connections we revealed John Adams about this program two years ago?

Last night Kristine’s family and I were again absorbed in rewatching “John Adams”, until I was sidetracked with a totally mystifying question.

Why wasn’t anyone thunderstruck with any of the amazing connections we revealed John Adams about this program two years ago?

Were the claims too diametrically opposed to accepted common knowledge?

Was it because the Family Forest® National Treasure Edition was not yet available (as it is now) to verify these connections?

Was the point missed that these connections related personally to everyone who reads them?

Any thoughts to demystify this mystery will be greatly appreciated.

67th Annual Golden Globe Awards

67th Annual Golden Globe Awards
It’s happening Sunday January 17, 2010. A number of the nominees are already extensively networked in the Family Forest® to each other, to historical characters portrayed in the movies, and most importantly, to viewers in the audience.

It’s happening Sunday January 17, 2010. A number of the nominees are already extensively networked in the Family Forest® to each other, to historical characters portrayed in the movies, and most importantly, to viewers in the audience. 

More of the free visually engaging Ancestors-at-a-glance™ fan charts have just been posted, and some of the stars and characters include Sigourney Weaver, Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood and Georgia O’Keeffe. 

The Family Forest® is a digital Hollywood resource that picks up where IMDb leaves off in two areas. One is connecting fans through family ties to Hollywood personalities and movie characters, and the other is having content and family ties for many of IMDb’s character profiles which are now empty or very skeletal. 

The edutaining Family Forest® Project is Networking Family History with Hollywood™ and connecting audiences through actual family ties better than any other digital resource, either online or offline, as the new Family Forest® National Treasure Edition proves. 

Enjoy the show! 

P.S. The Family Forest® Project needs a celebrity spokesperson. Details available here.