Category Archives: Famous-figures

Find Out How Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are Distantly Related

Photo of Taylor Swift by Cosmopolitan UK; photo of Travis Kelce by Erik Drost. Via Wikimedia Commons.

The Kansas City Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl again soon, as they have three times out of the last four years. Their appearances in 2021 and 2023 prompted two..

Continue reading

Coolidge Connections

With the recent return of the second season of White Lotus, a few friends have asked me if the actress Jennifer Coolidge is related to President Calvin Coolidge. While this was a kinship I had discovered years ago (back when she appeared in the American Pie movies..

Continue reading

The Ancestry of Jalen Hurts

Regardless of the outcome of Super Bowl LVII, history will be made Sunday when two Black quarterbacks lead their teams for the first time in NFL history. This will be the first Super Bowl appearance for Jalen Hurts, but not for Patrick Mahomes, who has been to the big..

Continue reading

Ancestry of Patrick Mahomes (Part II)

Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Two years ago, I wrote a post about some of the maternal ancestors of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, using research I had begun the previous year after his team’s Super Bowl victory. The post followed some..

Continue reading

The Public Universal Friend

On 11 October 1776, 23-year-old Jemima Wilkinson lay close to death in her bed in Cumberland, Providence, Rhode Island, suffering from a fever, possibly typhus. Much to her family’s relief, instead of dying, she awoke and rose from her bed, alive but forever changed...

Continue reading

James Dean: Of Winslows and Wishful Thinking

Few cinematic icons have endured in our collective consciousness as well as James Dean. Nearly seventy years after his death, his short and quixotic life has caused many to study not only his life and legacy, but also the possibilities of his ancestry. Indeed, with..

Continue reading

That Woman

Wallis Simpson in 1936, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The recent death of Queen Elizabeth brought many things to mind, including “That Woman”—the epithet chosen by Elizabeth’s mother for Bessie Wallis (Warfield) (Spencer) Simpson, whose marriage to King Edward VIII..

Continue reading

Tracing the Ancestry of Donald Duck

Donald Duck character stamps from Albania, 2000. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Have you ever wondered exactly how Scrooge McDuck is related to Donald Duck? Or where Huey, Dewey, and Louie fit into the equation? And what of Donald’s second cousin, the little-known Gus..

Continue reading

The True Story of Young Willie McBride

Have you ever wondered if a favorite song of yours had a basis in fact?

In the song “The Green Fields of France,” the narrator reflects upon the grave of Willie McBride, a young man who died as a soldier in World War I. In one verse, he asks Willie:

Or are you a..

Continue reading

California Dreamin’: Looking for Connections to Cass Elliot

Even the smallest bit of nostalgia can set me off down a new genealogical rabbit hole. The other day, when I heard Cass Elliot singing Make Your Own Kind of Music1 in a car commercial on television, I knew right away that I was in trouble. Wouldn’t it be incredible to..

Continue reading