January 2015

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Profile of the Day: Gene Hackman

Posted January 30, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
hackman

Can you believe actor Gene Hackman turns 85 today? He was born Eugene Allen Hackman on January 30, 1930 in San Bernardino, California to Lyda and Eugene Hackman. At 16, Hackman left home to join the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a field radio operator. After his stint in the Marines, he took on a series of jobs before deciding to pursue a career in acting. He got his big break in 1967 with the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: William McKinley

Posted January 29, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
William_McKinley

Are you related to a U.S. President? On this day in 1843, William McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio. McKinley was the last president to have served in the American Civil War. He first joined the Union Army as a private and ended as a brevet major. In 1897, he was sworn in as the 25th President of the United States. During his presidency, McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish-American War. As part of… Read the full story

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Video: Undeveloped Film Rolls from WWII Discovered

Posted January 28, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Rescued_Film_Project

Can you image discovering rare, undeveloped photographs from WWII and then being the first person to ever view them? Recently, photographer Levi Bettweiser made such a discovery after coming across 31 undeveloped rolls of film shot by a soldier during World War II. Bettweiser launched the Rescued Film Project in an effort to find and rescue old and undeveloped rolls of film. In 2014, he found the undeveloped batch of rolls at an auction in Ohio. Other than the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Alan Alda

Posted January 28, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Alan Alda! Today the star turns 79. He was born Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo on January 28, 1936 in New York City. The son of an actor, it was only a matter of time before Alda decided to pursue a career in show business. In 1972, he took on his most memorable role as Hawkeye Pierce on the hit television show M*A*S*H. The series would become one of the most popular comedies in television history… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: J.D. Salinger

Posted January 27, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Salinger

Do you remember reading The Catcher in the Rye? On this day five years ago, author J.D. Salinger died at the age of 91 in his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. Jerome David Salinger was born on New Year’s Day, 1919 in New York City. He began writing at a young age, publishing several short stories before serving in World War II. In the spring of 1942, Salinger was drafted into the army. He saw combat in… Read the full story

Monday Recap »

Monday Recap for January 26, 2015

Posted January 26, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Have a great genealogy-filled weekend? Check out our roundup of articles from around the web! The Crowded Cemeteries of Hong Kong / The Guardian The Genealogy Sphere The Crowded Cemeteries of Hong Kong – in pictures (The Guardian) – See these amazing pictures of the crowded cemeteries of Hong Kong 109-Year-Old Woman Says Secret to Long Life is Avoiding Men (The Huffington Post) – Does longevity run in your family tree? The oldest living woman in… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Paul Newman

Posted January 26, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Ninety years ago today, legendary actor Paul Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio. A versatile actor and entrepreneur, Newman showed an early interest in theater. He made his Broadway debut in 1953 and eventually segued into television and film. Some of his most memorable films include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke and The Sting. In 1958 he married actress Joanne Woodward, and they remained married for 50 years, until his death in 2008…. Read the full story

Genealogy Research »

7 Things You May Not Know About Winston Churchill

Posted January 24, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Churchill

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. Considered one of the greatest leaders in history, Churchill was a master orator and statesman. In honor of this momentous anniversary, here are some things you may not have known about Winston Churchill: 1. He comes from an aristocratic family Churchill was born into the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Marlborough, a branch of the Spencer family. His 6th great grandfather was John Churchill, the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Richard Dean Anderson

Posted January 23, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Richard_Dean_Anderson

Do you remember watching MacGyver? Today star Richard Dean Anderson turns 65. Anderson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Stuart Jay Anderson and Jocelyn Rhae Carter. In the early days of his career, he worked as a whale handler in a marine mammal show, a musician in medieval dinner theater and as a street mime and juggler. He finally received his first role on the daytime soap General Hospital. He rose to fame after snagging the lead role… Read the full story

Fun with Genealogy »

10 Unusual Gravestones

Posted January 22, 2015 by Amanda | One Comment
Goff_Memorial_(1922)_Front

If you have taken a stroll through a cemetery, you may notice a few graves that are not quite like the others. Many families choose unique markers that are reflective of who the person was when they were alive, while others offer grand tributes to the deceased. Have you come across one? Check out these unique gravestones: 1. Goff Memorial at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C. Image: Sarah Stierch, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0) 2. Holding… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Queen Victoria

Posted January 22, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
victoria

Does royalty run in your veins? Today we remember Queen Victoria, who died on January 22, 1901. Her 63-year reign, the longest in British history, is frequently referred to as the Victorian era and was a period of great expansion, prosperity, and advancement. At the time of her birth, she was fifth in the line of succession. Her father died in 1820, the same year as her grandfather, King George III. After the death of her… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Cecil B. DeMille

Posted January 21, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
DeMille

Today we remember legendary director Cecil B. DeMille on the 56th anniversary of his death. A director and producer of both silent and sound films, DeMille was known for his often lavish and epic films. He was born on August 12, 1881 in Ashfield, Massachusetts. His family was very much involved in theater; his father was a playwright and his mother ran an acting workshop. During the early days of film, DeMille was a dominate figure, directing many of… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Buzz Aldrin

Posted January 20, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy 85th birthday to Buzz Aldrin! On January 20, 1930, Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr. was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey to Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr. and Marion Gaddys. His nickname “Buzz” originated in his childhood; his younger sister mispronounced the word “brother” as “buzzer” and the name stuck. The family later shortened it to Buzz. As the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, Aldrin made the first manned lunar landing in history and was the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted January 19, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today the United States celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! On this day, the nation observes the birthday of the great Civil Rights leader. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. A pastor, humanitarian and activist, King played a pivotal role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. His inspiring work led to the end of segregation in the South and… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Ivan IV of Russia

Posted January 16, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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On this day in 1547, Ivan IV of Russia, commonly known as Ivan the Terrible, was crowned tsar of Russia. He was the first tsar of all of Russia. The grandson of Ivan the Great, Ivan IV’s long reign saw the transformation of Russia into a vast, multiethnic empire. His territorial conquests spanned far and wide, making Russia the largest nation on the planet. Accounts of his complex personality vary. He was an able diplomate, a… Read the full story

Genealogy Research »

The Boston Molasses Disaster

Posted January 15, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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On January 15, 1919, one of the strangest disasters in history occurred in Boston, Massachusetts when 2.3 million gallons of molasses poured down the streets of Boston, killing 21 people. The Boston Post, January 16, 1919 The tragedy became known as the Boston Molasses Disaster. The disaster occurred at the Purity Distilling Company facility in the North End neighborhood of Boston. During this time, molasses was the standard sweetener in the country. It was also fermented to… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Peter Christen Asbjørnsen

Posted January 15, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have Norwegian ancestry? On January 15, 1812, Norwegian writer and zoologist Peter Christen Asbjørnsen was born in Christiana (now Oslo), Norway. Working alongside his close friend, Jørgen Moe, the duo collected and published Norwegian folklore. Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, the pair collected the fairy tales and legends of Norway. Together they published Norske Folkeeventyr (Norwegian Folktales). Their work had a significant influence on Norwegian culture and their names became synonymous for Norwegian folk stories. Asbjørnsen and Moe followed the… Read the full story

Genealogy Research »

Genealogy Research: Tips to Stay Organized

Posted January 14, 2015 by Amanda | 3 Comments
Genealogy Research: Tips to Stay Organized

We’ve all been there – surrounded by a mountain of paper work as we’re trying to break through that brick wall or uncover that elusive ancestor. A snippet of a newspaper or an old photograph can easily get lost amongst the clutter. How can you avoid getting lost in the mess of research? Check out these tips to stay organized and help you keep track of your family history research. Do it as you go The best way to stay… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Benedict Arnold

Posted January 14, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have ancestors who fought in the American Revolutionary War? On this day in 1741, infamous American Revolutionary War General Benedict Arnold was born in Connecticut. Before the war, Benedict Arnold was a successful business man. He joined the Continental Army as soon as the war broke out and was distinguished for his bravery and skill as a leader. Despite his successes, Arnold was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress. His growing… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Patrick Dempsey

Posted January 13, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Patrick_Dempsey

Happy birthday, Patrick Dempsey! Today the Grey’s Anatomy star turns 49. Dempsey was born in Lewiston, Maine on January 13, 1966. An adept juggler, Dempsey once tied for second place in a national juggling competition. He discovered a love for acting at a young age and by the late 1980s, Dempsey was a star. With hits like the romantic comedies, Heaven Help Us and Loverboy, Dempsey became a teen heartthrob. He later transitioned to television, and found a resurgence of… Read the full story

Monday Recap »

Monday Recap for January 12, 2015

Posted January 12, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
time_capsule

We hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating the holidays! Now read up on some fantastic articles you may have missed! Image: Coins, newspapers found as time capsule is opened / The Boston Globe The Genealogy Sphere The Edwardian Sartorialist (Mashable) – Take a look at fashion trends from the streets of London c. 1905-1908 Japanese family who tended Briton’s grave for 140 years finally learn his identity (The Guardian) – For 140 years, a Japanese… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Jean Stapleton

Posted January 12, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you remember watching All in the Family? On this day in 1971, the classic sitcom premiered on television. Staring Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, the groundbreaking show tacked many controversial issues including racism, women’s liberation and the Vietnam War. For five consecutive seasons, All in the Family was the #1 watched show on television. Throughout it’s run, the show won multiple awards and was the first sitcom to have all of its lead actors win Emmys. Today,… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Joan Baez

Posted January 9, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Joan Baez! Today the American folk singer turns 74. Baez was born in Staten Island, New York to Albert Baez and Joan Bridge. Her father was born in Mexico, while her mother was born in Scotland. Albert Baez was noted physicist and made important contributions to the early development of the X-ray microscope. An activist and songwriter, Baez often used her music to express her social and political views, often promoting nonviolence, civil… Read the full story

Genealogy Research »

Surnames: The Meaning Behind the Name

Posted January 8, 2015 by Amanda | 3 Comments
baxter

What’s behind a name? Typically, surnames are passed down through many generations, creating a web of connected family members. The use of surnames is common in most countries around the world, but did you know they didn’t always exist? During the 13th and 14th centuries in Britain, hereditary surnames were adopted, first amongst the aristocracy and then eventually everyone. These early surnames were often derived from patronymics, places, personal characteristics and occupations. Because of this, surnames can give… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Elvis Presley

Posted January 8, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Elvis_Presley

Today marks what would have been Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday! The King of Rock and Roll was born on January 8, 1935 in a two-room shotgun house built by his father in Tupelo, Mississippi. From his very humble beginnings, Elvis would go on to become one of the world’s greatest music legends. Elvis catapulted to stardom after his infamous appearance on the Milton Berle Show, where he sang his hit “Hound Dog” while suggestively gyrating to the music…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Nicolas Cage

Posted January 7, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Nicolas Cage! Today the actor turns 51. Born Nicolas Kim Coppola in Long Beach, California, Nicolas is the son of literature professor August Floyd Coppola and Joy Vogelsang, a dancer and choreographer. Nicolas discovered his love for acting at 15 after attending a summer class at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. The nephew of iconic director Francis Ford Coppola, Nicolas changed his name to forge his own identity separate from his famous pedigree…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Samuel Morse

Posted January 6, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
sam_morse

Do you know Morse code? On this day in 1838, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail gave the first successful public demonstration of their telegraph in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph transmitted electric pulses over wires, enabling people to send messages over vast distances. Morse would eventually develop a code using pulses and pauses, which we now know as Morse code. Morse’s invention revolutionized long distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity during the 1920s and 1930s. Did… Read the full story

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Global Family Reunion: Holiday Photo Contest

Posted January 5, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
AJ_Im-a-cousin

Best-selling author A.J. Jacobs is organizing the largest family reunion in history and he’s inviting all 7 billion of his cousins to the party! During this holiday season, the Global Family Reunion team is holding a fun holiday photo contest. Winners will receive some amazing prizes! AJ Jacobs Entering the contest is easy. All you need to do is submit a photo holding an “I am a Cousin” sign by January 9, 2015 to info@worldfamily.us. There are six categories to… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: King C. Gillette

Posted January 5, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
King_Camp_Gillette

On this day in 1855, American inventor King C. Gillette was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The inventor of the best selling version of the safety razor, today, Gillette’s name is still synonymous with razor blades. Raised in Chicago, Illinois, Gillette and his family had survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but lost most of their possessions. To help his family, Gillette became a traveling salesman. It was during this time that he… Read the full story