Free Gift for A Thoughtful Answer

Thinking well can payoff. For a limited time during the holidays, just email us a reasonable answer to any one of these ten questions, and you can download a Family Forest® Ancestral History eBook of your choice at absolutely no charge.

Thinking well can payoff. For a limited time during the holidays, just email us a reasonable answer to any one of these ten questions, and you can download a Family Forest® Ancestral History eBook of your choice at absolutely no charge.

Warrior Genes

Here’s a Veterans’ Day question? What do the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War I and the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II have in common?

Here’s a Veterans’ Day question. What do the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War I and the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II have in common?

One answer appears to be warrior genes.

According to the recorded history mapped out and networked in the Family Forest®, and summarized in this computer-generated Family Forest® relationship chart, both Sergeant Alvin York and Audie Murphy are descended from Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy.

According to his Wikipedia profile, Sir Henry Percy “early acquired a great reputation as a warrior.”

Who would have been more surprised? Would it have been Sir Henry Percy to learn that two of his descendants each also acquired a great reputation as a warrior? Or would it have been Sergeant York and Audie Murphy to discover they both shared the same famous warrior ancestor?

An Important Message and Lesson

Isn’t it best to find out first what the experts have already discovered? Why use any of your valuable research time to search for what’s already been found?

I just read a short preface in a book that was written more than a century ago. If you have any interest in discovering more of your ancestors, it is valuable for you to read it.

It illuminates how some of our ancestors were thinking long before we were born, and more importanly, it reveals a secret that genealogy big business does not want you to know.

In 1894 Guy Scoby Rix began a valuable 20-year genealogy research project that includes parts of the ancestry of probably more than one million living people. From Concord, NH in 1905, he wrote the preface to his work. It reveals his character, his intentions, and his commitment to accuracy.

Over the centuries there have been thousands of people like Mr. Rix who have published similar works on different families. Isn’t it much smarter to find out what knowledge is contained in those works, before spending tedious efforts sifting through raw unfiltered data?

The next time someone suggests that the first place for you to begin searching for your ancestors is in the raw data that hundreds or thousands of oftentimes very qualified people have been combing through for decades if not centuries, ask them, why?

Isn’t it best to find out first what the experts have already discovered? Why use any of your valuable research time to search for what’s already been found?

Naturally, I strongly recommend that the best starting point for ancestral history is our high quality tour guide service (the primary Family Forest® or some of it’s  hundreds of secondary publications.

Meg Whitman Narrowly Beats Rival in A Related Contest

After the Family Forest® Project revealed to me that California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman is related to former Alaska Governor and possible 2012 Presidential candidate Sarah Palin…
Palin is a 9C3R of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates while Whitman is a 10C2R, and Palin is a 16C3R of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos while Whitman is a 17C4R.
Whitman is a bit closer to Warren Buffett at 9C1R, while Palin is a 9C2R to the Sage of Omaha. Whitman is quite a bit closer to Walt Disney at 7C2R, while Palin is a 9C2R to the founder of the Disney kingdom.

After the Family Forest® Project revealed to me that California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman is related to former Alaska Governor and possible 2012 Presidential candidate Sarah Palin (they are 8th cousins once removed through common ancestors Rev. Joseph and Elizabeth (Bulkeley) Emerson, who are also ancestors of Hollywood super star Matt Damon), just for fun I began comparing their kinship reports to see how closely the two of them are related to other politicians, celebrities, and historical figures.

The Family Forest® shows that in the overall results of a number of relationship comparisons I looked at, Meg Whitman narrowly wins over Sarah Palin.

By a very narrow margin, Palin does win against Whitman in their relationship to AC/360 host Anderson Cooper. Palin is an 8th cousin once removed of Cooper while Whitman is a 9th cousin of Cooper.

There is a similar win for Palin in the two politicians’ relationships to President Obama. Palin is a 10th cousin of the President, while Whitman is an 11th cousin of the President, and Palin also wins against Whitman in their relationship to New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., 9C vs. 9C3R.

In their relationships to five other business moguls, Palin wins two of the five, one is a tie, while Whitman wins the other two.

Palin is a 9C3R of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates while Whitman is a 10C2R, and Palin is a 16C3R of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos while Whitman is a 17C4R.

AOL founder Steve Case is the tie at 9C2R.

Whitman is a bit closer to Warren Buffett at 9C1R, while Palin is a 9C2R to the Sage of Omaha. Whitman is quite a bit closer to Walt Disney at 7C2R, while Palin is a 9C2R to the founder of the Disney kingdom.

There are a number of Hollywood ties, including TCM co-host Alec Baldwin (8C1R cousin once removed), “Seabiscuit” racing announcer William H. Macy (9C1R),  Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges (10C1R), rising star Amy Adams (10C1R), and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (18C).

Palin beat Whitman in their relationships to Hollywood icon Katharine Hepburn (7C2R vs. 8C1R), “Hereafter” star Matt Damon (7C1R vs. 9C) and “Hereafter” director Clint Eastwood (10C vs. 10C1R), distant cousin Brad Pitt (16C1R vs. 17C), and very very distant cousin Keanu Reeves (47C5R vs. 47C6R).

Whitman wins most dramatically over Palin in many other relationships in the Hollywood arena. These are “I Love Lucy” star Lucille Ball (7C vs. 9C1R), Hollywood icon Humphrey Bogart (8C1R vs. 9C2R), Oscar-winner Jodie Foster (9C vs. 9C1R), President John Adams portrayer Paul Giamatti (9C vs. 10C), “True Grit” villain Josh Brolin (9C1R vs. 11C1R), “Who Do You Thinks You Are?” subjects Brooke Shields (910C1R vs. 10C1R) and Sarah Jessica Parker (9C3R vs. 18C3R), “24” star Keifer Sutherland (10C vs. 19C1R), Oscar-winner Meryl Streep (10C vs. 10C1R), “Big C” star Laura Linney (11C3R vs. 14C1R), singer/actress Hilary Duff (11C2R vs. 14C), and distant cousins and “How Do You Know” co-stars Reese Witherspoon (19C3R vs. 20C3R cousin) and Jack Nicholson  (17C3R vs. 18C4R), and Oscar-winner Tom Hanks (19C vs. 20C).

Whitman scores 1-1 with Palin against two CBS news anchors, Walter Cronkite (11C1R vs. 9C1R) and Katie Couric (11C2R vs. 14C).

The two politicians’ relationships also tied against Prince William and Prince Harry at 9th cousin once removed.

Whitman beat Palin again against Mark Twain (6C3R vs. 10C4R) and Julia Child (7C1R vs. 8C2R).

All of these results were computer-generated on October 19, 2010 from the vast network of generation-by-generation family ties assembled in the Family Forest®.

Before there was a U.S.S. Spangler

Amid the sorrow of losing so much promise so early, what fun it was! New discoveries led to other new discoveries.
For instance, we found a letter written on the Fourth of July 1943 to Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Myrtle Elizabeth (Blue) Spangler (Donald’s mother, Mrs. Spangler christened the U.S.S. Spangler).

We recently learned of the U.S.S. Spangler reunion which will be starting on Monday October 25, 2010 in San Antonio, TX.

Prompted by a great visit from Kristine’s cousin Jeannie, both nieces of the Purple Heart recipient the ship was named for, we began reading through a large stack of Uncle Donald’s letters and clippings that were still in the possession of his only living sibling and my outstanding father-in-law, nonagenarian Robert Kent Spangler.

Amid the sorrow of losing so much promise so early, what fun it was! New discoveries led to other new discoveries.

For instance, we found a letter written on the Fourth of July 1943 to Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Myrtle Elizabeth (Blue) Spangler (Donald’s mother, Mrs. Spangler christened the U.S.S. Spangler).

It was from Miss Velma V. Vogelman of Baltimore, MD who knew Donald from his Naval Academy days. She had just learned of his death through LIFE magazine, and she was writing on the anniversary of a significant day.

“On July 4, 1940 he came to Baltimore and spent the day with me and my parents. This day I shall always remember as one of the happiest in my life. He spoke often of his home and parents and how he would have enjoyed spending that particular day with you in Albion, Ind.”

We had never heard of a mention of Uncle Donald in LIFE. So we used Google Books and quickly found it in print in the July 5, 1943 issue on page 21.

We’re looking forward to following up on other discoveries from the letters and clippings. What other interesting insights to history are waiting to be found?

The Power of Goal Setting Proven by a US Senator

“I will pray to God to give me the resolution to persevere in this intention. I have communicated this to my mother and given her this paper to keep, so help me God.”

Long before Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” at least one person was actually demonstrating the power of goal setting.

Often when Ancestry.com announces some discovery they have just made, I look in the Family Forest® and find that we already have most or more of that same information already networked. This time we were lacking Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

So while searching for any ancestral history that links to Ann Coulter, I found an 1893 book titled Creoles of St. Louis.

The book starts with a young girl, Marie Therese Bourgeois, who was “Left an orphan at a tender age, was placed under the care of the Ursuline Nuns at New Orleans, La., where she married, in 1749, Rene Auguste Chouteau, a native of Bearn, France. He came to New Orleans in early youth and engaged in business, and at the time of his death was possessed of considerable means.”

Before I found out who the author was talking about, I ran into the following passage on page 118 about one of that young orphan girl’s descendants.

Upon his leaving home he left the following document with his mother: “St. Genevieve, Mo., Jan. 16, 1832. On this day I left home, under charge of Mr. William Shannon, an old friend of my father, to go to Kaskaskia to study law in the office of Judge Pope. My education is very limited, but with hard study I may overcome it; I am determined to try and my intention is to return to my native State to practice law if I can qualify myself, and while doing so to become U. S. Senator from my native State, and to work for this until I am sixty years of age. I will pray to God to give me the resolution to persevere in this intention. I have communicated this to my mother and given her this paper to keep, so help me God.” In January, 1873, he was elected U.S. Senator from Missouri, and in the April following he was sixty years of age.

That determined young man who actualized his goal was US Senator Louis Vital Bogy.

Explaining the Unbelievable

With over a million boxes to fill in on their pedigree charts for just their first 20 generations, over time all average everyday people are descended from a number of the same ancestors famous people are descended from.

On his 84th birthday I ran a Family Forest® kinship report for my Dad. How do I explain that amazing report? It shows results that a lifetime of learning has taught all of us to believe is impossible.

The software searched through the entire system of digital links I’ve spent tens of thousands of hours assembling. It was looking for every person in the Family Forest® who, according to recorded history, is related to my father through either birth or marriage.

It took 5,823 pages to display the results. The report shows that my father has family ties to over a quarter million different relatives over thousands of years, and they include most of the key people who were at most of the pivotal places and events in human history, as well as many of the Hollywood celebrities who have portrayed much of that history on film.

For instance, there are 27 signers of the Declaration of Independence on this report. That’s only one person short of half of the heroic men who signed. How can this be?

Well the simple explanation is that anyone who is connected into the Royal Channel in the Family Forest® is instantly networked through family ties to every other person who has already been connected into the Royal Channel.

Although my Dad is unique and very special to me, sociologically and genealogically speaking, he is an average everyday guy. With over a million boxes to fill in on their pedigree charts for just their first 20 generations, over time all average everyday people are descended from a number of the same ancestors famous people are descended from.

This is a message I have to deliver. It sounds simple, even though it runs contrary to common knowledge and it still seems unbelievable.

Jack Nicholson’s Cousins and the Emmy Awards

Jack Nicholson has some known cousins who have been nominated for an Emmy at the 62nd Emmy Awards, according to his Family Forest® relationship report.

Jack Nicholson has some known cousins who have been nominated for an Emmy at the 62nd Emmy Awards, according to his Family Forest® relationship report.

These Emmy nominees include Glenn Close, Ted Danson, John Lithgow, Sissy Spacek, Alec Baldwin, and Georgia O’Keeffe (although she’s not up for an Emmy, the movie Georgia O’Keeffe is).

Certainly you will find Jack’s Family Forest® relationship report quite fascinating. After tens of thousands of hours of connecting the dots of recorded history, I can ask the computer for a list of all of the people that Jack has been linked to and Voila! (after a couple of hours of calulation and formating), a 5,715-page report appears with the names of over a quarter of a million different people from the last few thousands years of human history who are related to Jack.

Finding President Obama, myself, and over 1,200 knights that Jack is descended from or related to seems amazing enough, but you may be more interested in his family ties to the Hollywood community, both past and present.

Within this one computer-generated report, which spokes out with Jack at the hub, are thousands of well-known people who have profile pages at IMDb.com, and a surprising number of them have worked with him during his career on many popular films.

I found the main star from his upcoming film How Do You Know, one of the main stars from Something’s Gotta Give, two stars from The Departed, two stars from Mars Attacks!, China Kantner from The Evening Star, his co-star from Ironweed, a co-star from The Witches of Eastwick, the producer of The Shining, the author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and both of the co-stars from Easy Rider.

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

Are you or any of your ancestors, or some of your favorite Hollywood stars, already networked to Jack Nicholson in the Family Forest? You can find out now.

Twilight and the White House

Vlad the Impaler, the person some people believe the character of Count Dracula is based on, is in the Family Forest® (PIN 562175), and unlike the misleading chart Ancestry.com used to illustrate their story (it’s actually missing many generations), Vlad’s Family Forest® charts can be explored generation-by-generation.

Thanks to Tamura Jones for pointing out in his article The Dracula Connection about the Ancestry.com story that the Family Forest National Treasure does what Ancestry.com cannot.

Vlad the Impaler, the person some people believe the character of Count Dracula is based on, is in the Family Forest® (PIN 562175), and unlike the misleading chart Ancestry.com used to illustrate their story (it’s actually missing many generations), Vlad’s Family Forest® charts can be explored generation-by-generation.

Anyone with the National Treasure can click on him, and request a 20-generation descendant chart. What leaps out to me on this chart is that one of Vlad the Impaler’s descendants was born in the White House!

If you click on Vlad the Impaler’s father Vlad the Devil (PIN 562178) and request a 20-generation descendant chart, you can see ancestral pathways that leads to the British Royal Family, the White House, actress Sarah Miles, and one of the people Madonna will be directing in her new movie, without skipping generations as Ancestry.com does.

And you can click here to see Ancestors-at-at-glance™ charts of some of the people in the Ancestry.com story.

The Heart of Bruce

So two centuries earlier two of his ancestors set out on a mission to take the heart of another one of his ancestors to Jerusalem. Who was this guy with the colorful ancestral heritage?

No, this is not going to be a story about my own heart, but it is about a very memorable story, at least for me, concerning the heart of one of my ancestors. 

Almost every day I enter many facts into the Family Forest®. There are over 900,000 source citations in the National Treasure, so it’s safe to assume that I can’t remember many of them. But a few of them evoke a powerful visual image that stays with me. This is about one of them. 

Do you remember Robert I, also known as Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland [PIN 7910] from Braveheart? When he died, two of his companions in arms, Sir James Douglas, Lord of Galloway [PIN 29237] (known in Scotland as “the good Sir James Douglas” and in England as “the Black Douglas”) and William St. Clair, Lord of Rosslyn [PIN 29273] (remember Rosslyn Chapel from “The Da Vinci Code”?), set out on a mission to take the heart of Bruce to Jerusalem. 

This was a vivid image to me, reminiscent of Brad Pitt taking his brother’s heart home in Legends of the Fall, and Brooke Shields feeling the need to touch the container of her ancestor’s heart in Who Do You Think you Are? 

I wondered who these two great warriors were who would undertake such an unusual mission for their friend and king. So I clicked on “the Black Douglas” and asked for an 8-generation descendant view (the default setting) in the National Treasure. 

His descendant who caught my attention was Lord William Sinclair [PIN 29306] who died in 1570. I knew the surname Sinclair is a derivation of St. Clair, so I was curious to find out if this descendant of “the Black Douglas” was also a descendant of the companion of “the Black Douglas,” William St. Clair, Lord of Rosslyn.  

So I reversed direction by asking for a 10-generation ancestor view (the default setting). Sure enough, Lord William Sinclair is a descendant of both of them. More surprisingly, he is also a descendant in five different lines of Robert the Bruce.

So two centuries earlier two of his ancestors set out on a mission to take the heart of another one of his ancestors to Jerusalem. Who was this guy with the colorful ancestral heritage? 

I asked for a 20-generation descendant view (to reach down to present day) and I was really surprised this time. In one of the 941 boxes this chart filled in was my name! According to recorded history, it is one of my own ancestors who has this colorful ancestral heritage. He is also an ancestor of Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson, Winston Churchill, Montgomery Clift, The Thornbirds star Rachel Ward, Admiral Dennis Cutler Blair, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Madonna’s son Rocco Ritchie. 

P.S. I hope I will be forgiven for not recognizing some of my own ancestors, as my own 40-generation ancestor view chart in the National Treasure fills in 3,074,306 boxes with the names of some of my ancestors.