July 2018

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Profile of the Day: J.K. Rowling

Posted July 31, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, J.K. Rowling! Today the Harry Potter author turns 53. The day also marks Harry Potter’s birthday! On July 31, 1965, Joanne Rowling was born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. She later adopted the pen name “J.K. Rowling,” incorporating her paternal grandmother’s name, Kathleen, for the second initial. From a young age, Rowling frequently wrote stories of fantasy. When she began writing the first Harry Potter book, Rowling was a single mother and struggling financially. However, her… Read the full story

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Amusing Names in the Family Tree

Posted July 27, 2018 by Amanda | One Comment
Amusing Names in the Family Tree

While researching your family history, you may sometimes come across funny names in your family tree or maybe an amusing name will pop out in an old document. For fun, we took a look at some profiles in Geni’s World Family Tree and a few historical records to find some very amusing names that will be sure to give you a chuckle. Check them out below! 1. Here’s Pleasant Wear in the World Family Tree. 2. Wealthy Nutter can be found in the 1920 U.S…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Bob Hope

Posted July 27, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember Bob Hope, who passed away on this day 15 years ago at the age of 100. A comedy legend, Hope entertained audiences all around the world in almost every entertainment medium, from vaudeville and Broadway, to radio, television, and film. He was born Leslie Townse Hope on May 29, 1903 in Eltham, near London, England. He was the fifth of seven sons born to William Henry Hope, a stonemason, and Avis Townes, a… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Aldous Huxley

Posted July 26, 2018 by Amanda | One Comment
Profile of the Day: Aldous Huxley

Remember reading Brave New World? On this day in 1894, author Aldous Huxley was born. Huxley was the third son of Leonard Huxley, a writer and school master, and Julia Arnold, founder of Prior’s Field School. The Huxley family was a prominent and well-educated family in Britian. Huxley’s paternal grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, was a biologist and specialist in comparative anatomy. He was instrumental in developing scientific education in Britain and became known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Rosalind Franklin

Posted July 25, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
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On this day in 1920, pioneering scientist Rosalind Franklin was born. Although her work was not recognized during her lifetime, James Watson and Francis Crick’s discovery of the chemical structure of DNA would not have been possible without Franklin’s groundbreaking research. Franklin was born on July 25, 1920 in London, England to an influential Jewish family. Her great uncle, Herbert Samuel, was a prominent politician and served as Home Secretary in 1916. As child, Franklin had a… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Simon Bolivar

Posted July 24, 2018 by Amanda | One Comment
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On this day in 1783, Venezuelan military leader and politician Simón Bolívar was born. Called “The Liberator,” Bolívar was instrumental in Latin America’s successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire. Bolívar was born into a wealthy family in a house in Caracas, Captaincy General of Venezuela on July 24, 1783. Before the age of ten, Bolivar had lost both of his parents. His father died when he was three and his mother passed away six years… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Woody Harrelson

Posted July 23, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Woody Harrelson

Happy birthday, Woody Harrelson! Today the actor turns 57. Harrelson was born Woodrow Tracy Harrelson on July 23, 1961 in Midland, Texas to Diane Oswald and Charles Harrelson. His father was a convicted contract killer and received a life sentence in 1979. He died in prison in 2007. His mother worked as a legal secretary and raised Harrelson and his two brothers alone. In 1985, Harrelson got his big break when he was cast as bartender Woody… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Sir Edmund Hillary

Posted July 20, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
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Who are the adventurers in your family tree? On this day in 1919, explorer and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary was born in Auckland, New Zealand. Before gaining fame as a mountaineer, Hillary worked as a beekeeper like his father before him. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force during World War II, but was badly burned during a boat accident. After the war, he decided to pursue his love of mountain climbing and was determined to climb… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Edgar Degas

Posted July 19, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Edgar Degas

On this day in 1834, French painter and sculptor Edgar Degas was born. Degas is often regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism. Degas was born in Paris, France to a moderately wealthy family. His father, Augustine De Gas, was a banker, and his mother, Célestine Musson, was from New Orleans, Louisiana and came from a prominent Creole family. Through his mother, Degas was a first cousin once removed to inventor Norbert Rillieux, who is considered to be one of the… Read the full story

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10 Interesting Facts About Nelson Mandela

Posted July 18, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela, who is often considered one of the most inspirational and beloved leaders in history. In honor of this occasion, check out these 10 interesting facts about the former South African president and freedom fighter. Image: Library of Congress 1. Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, South Africa. He was given the name Rolihlahla, a Xhosa… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Margaret Brown

Posted July 18, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Margaret Brown

On this day in 1867, American socialite and philanthropist Margaret Brown was born. A survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Brown was dubbed “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” by historians for her legendary tales of heroism during the disaster. She was born Margaret Tobin in Hannibal, Missouri in a two-room cottage to John Tobin and Johanna Collins. In 1886, she married James Joseph “J.J.” Brown, a self-educated entrepreneur and mining engineer. The family had little… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Posted July 17, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall! Today the Duchess turns 71. She was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on July 17, 1947 at King’s College Hospital in London. She was the eldest of three children born to Bruce Shand, an officer in the British Army, and Rosalind Cubitt. Although her relationship with Prince Charles was once thought to be highly controversial, the couple was finally married in a civil ceremony in 2005 with the permission… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Roald Amundsen

Posted July 16, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have Norwegian ancestry? On this day in 1872, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was born in Borge, Østfold, Norway. Amundsen was born into a family of shipowners and captains and had a lifelong desire for polar exploration. One of the key figures of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, Amundsen was the first explorer to reach the South Pole. He gained invaluable knowledge for his journey in the Antarctic from his earlier expedition traversing the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: John Jacob Astor IV

Posted July 13, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: John Jacob Astor IV

Was anyone in your family tree a passenger on the RMS Titanic? On this day in 1864, Titanic passenger John Jacob Astor IV was born in Rhinebeck, New York. At the time of his death on the doomed luxury ship, Astor was considered one of the richest men in the world. Astor was born into the prominent Astor family. His great grandfather, John Jacob Astor, was a German immigrant and made his fortune by building a fur trading… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: George Eastman

Posted July 12, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: George Eastman

Did your family own a Kodak camera? On this day in 1854, inventor George Eastman was born in Waterville, New York. He was the youngest child of George Washington Eastman and Maria Kilbourn. After the death of his father in 1862 and the death of his older sister in 1870, a 16 year old Eastman left school to start working to help support his family. In 1888, he received a patent for his roll-film camera and registered… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: E.B. White

Posted July 11, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: E.B. White

Do you remember reading Charlotte’s Web? On this day in 1899, author E.B. White was born in Mount Vernon, New York. The youngest child of Samuel Tilly White and Jessie Hart White, Elwyn Brooks White was the couple’s sixth child. He hated the name “Elwyn,” spent most of his life going by the nickname “Andy.” His older brother, Stanley Hart White, was a professor of Landscape Architecture and inventor of the Vertical Garden. He was a very… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Nikola Tesla

Posted July 10, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Nikola Tesla

Today we celebrate the 162nd birthday of inventor Nikola Tesla! Tesla is remembered for his groundbreaking discoveries in the production, transmission, and application of electric power. Tesla was born in what is now Smiljan, Croatia on July 10, 1856. He was one of five children born to Milutin Tesla, an Eastern Orthodox priest, and Đuka Mandić.  In 1884, Tesla came to the United States and began working for Thomas Edison. However, a few months later, Tesla quit the company…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Tom Hanks

Posted July 9, 2018 by Amanda | 2 Comments
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Do you have a favorite Tom Hanks movie? Today the beloved actor turns 62. Tom Hanks was born Thomas Jeffrey Hanks on July 9, 1956 in Concord, California to Janet Frager, a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford, a cook. In 1979, he moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. After appearing in low-budget movies and bit parts on television, Hanks landed the lead role in the television comedy Bosom Buddies. Although the show lasted… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Nancy Reagan

Posted July 6, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Nancy Reagan

On July 6, 1921, former First Lady Nancy Reagan was born. She was the wife of Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, and spent her years at the White House as an advocate for decreasing drug and alcohol abuse. Although known as “Nancy” throughout her life, she was born Anne Frances Robbins in Manhattan, New York to Kenneth Seymour Robbins, a farmer and car salesman, and Edith Prescott Luckett, a film and… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: P.T. Barnum

Posted July 5, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: P.T. Barnum

On this day in 1810, P.T. Barnum was born. Known for founding the famous “Barnum & Bailey Circus,” Barnum found huge success with his strange menagerie of performers. He was born Phineas Taylor Barnum in Bethel, Connecticut to Philo Barnum, an innkeeper and tailor, and Irene Taylor. Barnum showed a gift for selling at an early age, peddling cherry rum to innkeepers by the age of 12. In 1941, he opened Barnum’s American Museum, where… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Franz Kafka

Posted July 3, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
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On this day in 1883, author Franz Kafka was born in Prague in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The eldest of six children, Kafka grew up in a middle-class, German-speaking, Jewish family. His two younger brothers died in infancy, leaving him as the only son in the family. Though Kafka died several years before World War II, his three sisters would go on to perish during the Holocaust. Kafka showed an interest in writing at an early age, however, his work attracted little… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Thomas Savery

Posted July 2, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Thomas Savery

On this day in 1698, English inventor and engineer Thomas Savery received the patent for the first steam engine. His invention would lead to the first commercially used steam powered engine. Savery was born to a prominent family in England in 1650. Known to have an interest in engineering, mathematics, and invention, Savery became a military engineer and invented various types of devices. In 1698, he patented an early steam engine that provided a new method for pumping water… Read the full story