Genealogy Blog

23 April 2015

Melissa Etheridge Uncovers Her Ancestry on Finale Episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

In this Sunday's finale episode Who Do You Think You Are? singer Melissa Etheridge, 53, uncovers stories of her ancestors and reflects on her own personal legacy.

"I had no idea what to expect. I knew a lot about my mother’s family but my father kept it really quiet. I’m glad they took my father’s side of the family that I knew nothing about. All of a sudden it’s like someone pulls back a back a curtain and you see into this rich pat and I think wait a minute, no I can’t define myself like that anymore look at this."

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Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian, and the revelations are being viewed as an important step.

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1990's by forced conversion to Islam. Also, some Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated.

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22 April 2015

The Story of Hillary Clinton's 'Real' Welsh Great-Grandmother Revealed by History Detective

Megan Smolenyak, a “history detective” made waves this month when she argued that genealogists have “attached” her Welsh grandmother to the wrong parents.

She argues that two girls named Hannah Jones were born in Scranton and people have “latched on to the wrong one” and that “everyone” has “quarter of her family tree wrong”.

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21 April 2015

Ohio Woman Searching for Biological Mother Discovers Co-Worker Is Her Mom

An adopted Ohio woman who was searching for her biological mom was left stunned after learning that the woman she was looking for was actually a co-worker at the same company.

La-Sonya Mitchell-Clark found out her mother's name was Francine Simmons after the state's Department of Health released birth records for those born between Jan. 1964 and Sept. 1996.

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19 April 2015

Ben Affleck Reportedly Asked PBS To Censor His Slave-Owning Ancestor

The PBS series "Finding Your Roots" is all about uncovering the ancestry of the show's celebrity guests. But according to a hacked Sony email, one guest requested to have his family tree censored.

Ben Affleck was featured in a "Finding Your Roots" episode from last October, "Roots of Freedom," which discusses his Freedom Rider mother, a Revolutionary War ancestor and his third great-grandfather. But according to a hacked Sony email posted by WikiLeaks on Thursday, Affleck reportedly asked PBS to edit out information about an ancestor who owned slaves.

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18 April 2015

Are You Related to Conan O'Brien?

O'Brien was born on April 18, 1963, in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father, Thomas Francis O'Brien, is a physician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard.

His mother, Ruth O'Brien (née Reardon), is an attorney and partner at the Boston firm Ropes & Gray. He is the third of six children. O'Brien's family is Irish Catholic; some of his Irish ancestors immigrated before the American Civil War. In a Late Night episode, O'Brien paid a visit to County Kerry, Ireland, where his ancestors originated.

Conan O'Brien's Family Tree

17 April 2015

Hillary Clinton Falsely Says Her Grandmother Was Born in Wales

Hillary Clinton’s British roots tripped her up on the campaign trail on Thursday after she inaccurately claimed that her grandmother was born in Wales.

While many Americans can trace some family history back to the UK, Mrs Clinton does have an unusually direct connection to Britain. Her grandfather Hugh Rodham was born in Northumberland in 1879 and brought to Pennsylvania as a child along with his six brothers and sisters.

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15 April 2015

Are You Related to Emma Watson?

Watson was born on April 15, 1990 in Paris, the daughter of English lawyers Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson. Watson lived in Paris until the age of five.

Her parents separated when she was young; following their divorce, Watson moved back to England to live with her mother in Oxfordshire while spending weekends at her father's house in London. Watson has stated that she speaks some French, though "not as well" as she used to.

Emma Watson's Family Tree

6 April 2015

Are You Related to Merle Haggard?

Haggard's parents, Flossie Mae Harp and James Francis Haggard, moved to California from their home in Checotah, Oklahoma, during the Great Depression, after their barn burned in 1934. They settled with their children, Lowell and Lillian, in an apartment in Bakersfield, while James Francis Haggard started working for the Santa Fe Railroad.

A woman who owned a boxcar, which was placed in Oildale, a nearby town north of Bakersfield, asked Haggard's father about the possibility of converting it into a house. He remodeled the boxcar, and soon after moved in, also purchasing the lot, where Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937.

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1 April 2015

David Cameron Reveals He Is Related to Kim Kardashian

David Cameron has said he is related to Kim Kardashian-West, the reality TV star. The Prime Minister said he was thirteenth cousin of the celebrity, who is married to rapper Kanye West.

Asked by Heat magazine whether he watched the television show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, featuring Kim and her family, Mr Cameron volunteered: "No, but I'm related to them. Did you know I'm 13th cousins with them?"

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28 March 2015

Are You Related to Lady Gaga?

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born on March 28, 1986 at the Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York City, to a Catholic family.

She is the elder daughter of Cynthia Louise "Cindy" (Bissett; born c. 1955), and internet entrepreneur Joseph Anthony "Joe" Germanotta, Jr. Gaga is of 75 percent Italian ancestry, and also has French Canadian ancestry. Her sister Natali (born c. 1992) is a fashion student.

Lady Gaga's Family Tree

26 March 2015

Are You Related to Diana Ross?

Diana Ross was born on March 26, 1944 at Hutzel Women's Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. The second-eldest child of Ernestine (née Moten; January 27, 1916 – October 9, 1984), a schoolteacher, and Fred Ross, Sr. (July 4, 1920 – November 21, 2007), a former United States Army soldier, Ross would later say that she didn't see much of her father until he had returned from service following World War II.

Much has been made of whether her first name ends in an "a" or an "e". According to Ross, her mother actually named her "Diane" but a clerical error resulted in her name being recorded as "Diana" on her birth certificate.

Diana Ross' Family Tree

24 March 2015

Angie Harmon 'Finds a Relative Who Was Bought and Sold' as a Slave

Angie Harmon discovered her fifth great-grandfather Michael was an indentured servant in the latest teaser of TLC's Who Do You Think You Are.

The 42-year-old actress - who always believed she was of Greek, Irish and Native American descent - made a surprising discovery when she traced all the way up her family tree. The Rizzoli & Isles star searched through old family records to find more information regarding her ancestor who emigrated from Germany as a slave.

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19 March 2015

Are You Related to Glenn Close?

Close was born on March 19, 1947, in Greenwich, Connecticut, the daughter of socialite Bettine Moore Close and William Taliaferro Close, a doctor who operated a clinic in the Belgian Congo and served as a personal physician to Congo/Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko.

Her father was a descendant of the Taliaferros of Virginia; her paternal grandfather, Edward Bennett Close, a stockbroker and director of the American Hospital Association, was first married to Post Cereals' Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Glenn Close's Family Tree

12 March 2015

Millions of People Are Descended From Genghis Khan and 10 Other Asian Dynastic Leaders, Researchers Find

Geneticists from the University of Leicester have discovered that millions of modern Asian men are descended from 11 powerful dynastic leaders who lived up to 4,000 years ago – including Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan.

The study, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in the journal European Journal of Human Genetics, examined the male-specific Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son, in more than 5,000 Asian men belonging to 127 populations.

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