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Genealogy Blog

29 October 2013

Sherlock Holmes And The Mysterious Case Of His 'Killer' Ancestor: Newly Uncovered Records Show Benedict Cumberbatch's Great-Great Uncle Was Tried For Murder At 14

‘The Romsey Stabbing Case’ sounds like it could be a Sherlock Holmes mystery. And in a way, it is. For the story comes from the past of the actor who plays the detective, Benedict Cumberbatch. Newly uncovered records have revealed that the actor’s great-great maternal uncle Henry was tried for murder when he was only 14.

Henry Ventham, a farm hand, was accused of stabbing to death his friend, Frederick Betteridge. The story appeared in the Hampshire Advertiser on Saturday, 18 November 1893, with the headline The Romsey Stabbing Case.

Source & Full Story

28 October 2013

Are You Related to Bill Gates?

Gates was born on October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington, to William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His ancestry includes English, German, and Scots-Irish.

His father was a prominent lawyer, and his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way. Gates's maternal grandfather was JW Maxwell, a national bank president. Gates has one elder sister, Kristi (Kristianne), and one younger sister, Libby. He was the fourth of his name in his family, but was known as William Gates III or "Trey" because his father had the "II" suffix.

Bill Gates' Family Tree

21 October 2013

Search for WWI Soldier Private David Kerr's Family

A transatlantic search has been launched to find the family of a Scottish World War I soldier to reunite them with their ancestor's medal. Donald Bennett, who lives in Toronto, Canada, is attempting to find the descendants of Private David Kerr, believed to be from Cardenden in Fife.

Mr Bennett was given Pte Kerr's 1914-15 Star by his grandfather. Pte Kerr was killed at the Battle of Loos in France in September 1915. He served with the Scottish Rifles.

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Irish Roots: Why Can't You Find Your Ancestors?

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Which is to say that trying to explain why you can’t find your ancestor is akin to collecting water in a sieve. But here are a few possibilities anyway:

At the precise moment the National Library was microfilming the parish register page with your ancestor on it, a tiny wink of light crept through the blackout curtains and fell on just the last few letters of the surname, creating a small overexposure and making the name eternally illegible.

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Are You Related to Carrie Fisher?

Fisher was born on October 21, 1956 in Beverly Hills, California, the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Her father was Jewish, the son of immigrants from Russia, and her mother was Protestant, of Scots-Irish and English ancestry.

Her younger brother is producer and actor Todd Fisher, and her half-sisters are actresses Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher, whose mother is the singer and actress Connie Stevens.

Carrie Fisher's Family Tree

14 October 2013

Are You Related to Lillian Gish?

Gish was born on October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio, to 18-year-old Mary Robinson McConnell (1875-1948) (an Episcopalian) and James Leigh Gish (1872-1912) (who was of German Lutheran descent). She had a younger sister, Dorothy.

The first several generations of Gishes were Dunkard ministers. Her great-great-great-grandfather came to America on the ship Pennsylvania Merchant in 1733 and received a land grant from William Penn. Her great-great-grandfather was in the American Revolutionary War and is buried in a cemetery in Pennsylvania for such soldiers.

Lillian Gish's Family Tree

4 October 2013

Are You Related To Susan Sarandon?

Susan Abigail Tomalin was born on October 4, 1946 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City. She is the first of nine children born to Lenora Marie (née Criscione) and Phillip Leslie Tomalin.

Her father was of English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry, his English ancestors being from Hackney in London and his Welsh ancestors being from Bridgend. On her mother's side, she is of Italian descent, with ancestors from the regions of Tuscany and Sicily. Sarandon grew up in Edison, New Jersey, where she graduated from Edison High School in 1964.

Susan Sarandon's Family Tree

27 September 2013

Are You Related to Avril Lavigne?

Avril Ramona Lavigne was born on September 27, 1984 in Belleville, Ontario. Her father, Jean-Claude Joseph Lavigne, named her "Avril" after the French word for the month of April. Lavigne has an older brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle, both of whom teased her when she sang. "My brother used to knock on the wall because I used to sing myself to sleep and he thought it was really annoying."

Her father is of French descent and her mother has English, Scottish, and German ancestry.

Avril Lavigne's Family Tree

26 September 2013

Find Tools For Researching Your Irish Family History at New York’s The Genealogy Event

Did your family come from the mountains of Mourne or Killarney’s lakes so blue? Are you baffled by Irish spelling of names? Did your ancestors come through Ellis Island or another US port? What insights about your ancestors’ daily lives can you learn from the 1901 and 1911 census information?

Irish and Irish-American family historians and genealogists will be on hand to help answer your questions on November 2, at The Genealogy Event, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street (bet 6th and 7th Avenues, from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm).

Source & Full Story

23 September 2013

Drew Barrymore’s Actor Ancestors Pre-Date Film And Hollywood

Drew Barrymore is Hollywood royalty. She’s the reigning heir to a long line of famous, even iconic, Hollywood actors. But, just how far back does Drew’s dynasty go?

How many generations deep is the Drew Barrymore Hollywood legacy? As it turns out, Drew’s acting ancestors are older than Hollywood itself. The roots of her family tree include actors as far back as it can be traced, and not just on one side of the genealogy.

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Are You Related to Bruce Springsteen?

Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, New Jersey, and spent his childhood and high school years in Freehold Borough.

His father, Douglas Frederick Springsteen, was of Dutch and Irish ancestry (his surname in Dutch means jumping stone) and worked as a bus driver, among other vocations, although he was mostly unemployed. His mother, Adele Ann (née Zerilli), was a legal secretary and was of Italian ancestry.

Bruce Springsteen's Family Tree

15 September 2013

Are You Related to Fay Wray?

Most noted for playing the female lead in King Kong, Wray was born on September 15, 1907 on a ranch near Cardston in the province of Alberta, Canada, to two Mormons, Elvina Marguerite Jones, who was from Salt Lake City, and Joseph Heber Wray, who was from Kingston upon Hull, England.

She was one of six children. Her family returned to the United States a few years after she was born; they moved to Salt Lake City in 1912 and moved in 1914 to Lark, Utah. In 1919, the Wrays returned to Salt Lake City again and then relocated to Hollywood, California, where Fay attended Hollywood High School.

Fay Wray's Family Tree

6 September 2013

Are You Related to Roger Waters?

George Roger Waters was born on September 6, 1943, the younger of two boys, to Mary (née Whyte; 1913-2009) and Eric Fletcher Waters (1913-1944), in Great Bookham, Surrey, England.

His father, the son of a coal miner and Labour Party activist, was a schoolteacher, a devout Christian and a Communist Party member. In the early years of the Second World War, his father was a conscientious objector who drove an ambulance during the Blitz. He later changed his stance on pacifism and joined the British Army, and as an officer of the 8th Royal Fusiliers died at Anzio in Italy, declared missing or presumed dead on 18 February 1944, when Roger was five months old.

Roger Waters' Family Tree

5 September 2013

Famous Faces of Syrian Ancestry

When there's a war going on overseas, such as the ongoing and potentially escalating civil conflict in Syria that threatens to draw in international forces, it's easy to feel disconnected from a place you've never been and a people you've never really known.

But the United States is a melting pot. Syria as a country may be foreign and far away, but there are some famous Americans of Syrian ancestry who would be familiar to anyone in this country.

Source & Full Story

2 September 2013

Irish Roots: The Irish DNA Atlas – Mapping Our Genealogy

The way genetic genealogy is sold causes large misgivings. Take one simple fact. Going back 12 generations, between three and four centuries, each of us has several thousand ancestors, even allowing for all those cousin marriages we don’t like to think about.

Genealogical DNA testing can tell us about precisely two of them. Perhaps one shared the surname you bear, or is part of a clearly identifiable historic group. Big deal. Remember: two out of thousands.

Source & Full Story

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