I have spent many hours compiling my personal family tree. As of today (July 31, happy birthday Harry Potter!) I have 2,543 people archived. This includes immediate lines, cousins and way distant cousins. Through searching, I discovered a website that showcases famous celebrity trees and allows you to search for common ancestors amongst their archived data.
Disclaimer: always double check the data.
I myself have not discovered any famous relatives in my direct lines, but I discovered a fairly famous person in my husband’s line. This is how I discovered the website http://www.famouskin.com by searching for his name in a search engine.
My husband’s ancestor was Ralph Wheelock. Yes as in Wheelock College in Massachusetts. It was one of his descendants who founded the school (Lucy Wheelock). His son Eleazer founded Dartmouth University. Ralph himself was credited with being the first public school teacher in America, and very clearly education was a family passion. Ralph was an English Puritan minister who had a monumental impact on American education. That’s pretty incredible!
In addition to identifying notable figures of the past, Famous Kin also lists other descendants of the notable ancestor along with their lineage so you’re able to trace the line through the tree. That’s how I discovered my husband is also very distantly related to writer and poet Emily Dickinson.
Emily Dickinson was a reclusive poet who lived with her parents until she died at the age of 55. She is known for writing over 1800 poems, although the majority of them were published following her death. Her name is one that is known world wide, despite many not knowing why they know her name. I was excited to find a connection between her and my husband, but when I reported my findings to my husband he looked at me as if to say, “So?” I suppose it’s the genealogist in me.
A clue to discovering that you may have a famous relative is if you receive a lot of hints or information about them when searching through records. Being able to conduct a google search with notable results is also promising, and then specific websites geared towards specific family name genealogy or a large public database like Famous Kin are also incredibly useful.
Have you ever found a famous relative in your tree? Comment below and let me know who!