Fun with Genealogy

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Spooky Spirit Photos

Posted October 30, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Do you believe in the paranormal? During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, spirit photography became incredibly popular. Many came to believe that spirit photographers could capture images of a deceased loved one’s ghost or spirit within a photograph. Taken by William H. Mumler, c.1871 / Wikimedia Commons In the aftermath of the American Civil War, many people were still grieving the loss of family and friends. Seeing an opportunity for profit, spiritualists and mediums sprang… Read the full story

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6 Unusual Wills and Testaments

Posted October 16, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Have you used wills as a resource in your family history research? When a person dies, they will often leave their possessions and money to their family and thereby, giving you more clues about other relatives in your family tree. Occasionally, you may come across a few odd requests made by the deceased. Here are some notable, unusual last requests: 1. Harry Houdini Image: Library of Congress In the 1920s, legendary illusionist Harry Houdini spent much… Read the full story

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Video: 100 Years of Wedding Dresses

Posted October 5, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Video: 100 Years of Wedding Dresses

Recently, the story of a woman who became the 11th bride to wear a 120-year-old heirloom wedding dress made headlines. Now a new video created by shows how wedding dress fashions have changed over the last 100 years. It’s amazing watching how styles have changed over the last ten decades. Perhaps the video may even help you date some old wedding pictures! Watch the video below: Do these wedding gown fashion trends resemble the wedding dresses in your… Read the full story

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Family History Month: Get the Kids Involved

Posted October 2, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

October is Family History Month! What better time to introduce your children to your family’s heritage than the month dedicated to it? Take some time to spark your children’s interest in your family’s history and they will love it and appreciate it as they get older. Here are some fun activities to get your budding genealogists active in learning about your family’s roots: Become a Family Detective Image: Anna, Wikimedia Commons Have a little Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew on your hands?… Read the full story

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Queen Elizabeth II: The Longest Reigning British Monarch

Posted September 9, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Today Queen Elizabeth II achieves a new milestone – not only is she the United Kingdom’s longest lived monarch, but she now holds the distinction of being the longest reigning monarch in British history. She surpasses Queen Victoria’s record of 63 years, seven months and two days on the throne. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, June 1953 / Library and Archives Canada Just like her second great grandmother, Queen Victoria, Elizabeth II was never… Read the full story

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Remembering Ingrid Bergman 100 Years Later

Posted August 28, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

This year marks the 100th birthday of legendary actress Ingrid Bergman. From humble beginnings, Bergman would go on to become one of the most famous actresses in Hollywood history. In honor of the 100th anniversary of her birth, we take a look back on the life of the Hollywood legend. The only surviving child of Justus Bergman and Frieda Adler, Bergman was born on August 29, 1915 in Stockholm, Sweden. She was named “Ingrid” after Princess… Read the full story

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Are Related – And This is How

Posted August 25, 2015 by Amanda | 4 Comments
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Are Related | Geni

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may be on opposing sides of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, but perhaps a new familial connection may help bring them a little closer. Yep, that’s right – the current leading GOP candidate, Donald Trump, is related to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton! As revealed today on Extra TV, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are 19th cousins! The unexpected relationship was found through Geni’s World Family Tree, the definitive family tree of… Read the full story

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Signs You Might Be Addicted to Genealogy

Posted July 17, 2015 by Amanda | 4 Comments

As anyone delving into their family history will tell you, genealogy can be addictive! Check out the list below to see if you show signs of a genealogy addiction. You might be addicted to genealogy if… You’re more interested in what happened in 1815 than 2015 Your calendar includes the birthdays of your ancestors You talk more to dead relatives than you do the living ones You spend your vacations visiting cemeteries, courthouses and archives You’ve called in… Read the full story

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Independence Day: Fun Facts About July 4th

Posted July 3, 2015 by Amanda | 2 Comments

On July 4, the United States celebrates Independence Day! On this day, the entire country celebrates the adoption of one of the most important documents the history of the nation, the Declaration of Independence. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the document declared the 13 American colonies freedom and independence from the British Empire. As we prepare to celebrate with fireworks, parades and barbecues, check out these fun facts about the holiday: 1. John Hancock, the President of… Read the full story

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10 Fun Family Reunion Activities

Posted June 12, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
10 Fun Family Reunion Activities

Are you planning your next family reunion? Lots of work goes into organizing a large family gathering, from finding a venue, deciding on the food and organizing the entertainment. If you’re having either a large or small family reunion, you’ll want to have activities that will not only bring lots of interaction, but also shed light on your genealogy. Here are ten family reunion activity ideas that will keep your family entertained and, hopefully, teach them a little… Read the full story

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Memorial Day: Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers

Posted May 25, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Memorial Day: Remembering Our Fallen Soldiers

It’s Memorial Day in the U.S.! On this day, the country honors the men and women who have given their lives while serving in the U.S. military. Typically, the day is celebrated by visiting cemeteries, attending parades and family gatherings and barbecues. Memorial Day was first introduced after the end of the Civil War. The day was expanded to encompass all American soldiers who died in service after the devastation of World War I. In honor of their… Read the full story

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Most Popular Baby Names of 2014

Posted May 12, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Are you searching for baby names? The U.S. Social Security Administration has released the top 10 names for 2014! At the top of the list this year are Noah for boys and Emma for girls. This is the second year in a row that Noah has claimed the top spot. Emma has been among the top three baby names since 2003. A popular name during the early 1900s, the name fell out of fashion in… Read the full story

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Life Tips from the Early 20th Century

Posted April 30, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Life lessons from early 20th century cigarette cards

From the beginning of the 1880s, cigarette manufacturers issued trade cards with every cigarette package to help stiffen the packaging and advertise cigarette brands. It didn’t take long for the cards to become sought-after collectables, and even children would ask smokers for their cards to play their games. Manufacturing of the cards stopped during World War II to save paper and, after the war, they were never fully reintroduced. Although it may seem unusual now, these cards typically depicted… Read the full story

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Vintage Advertisements

Posted April 18, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Vintage Ads - Corn Flakes

As we are perusing newspapers and other old periodicals in our family history research, it can be great fun to take a moment to read the advertisements of the day. These vintage ads are a great glimpse into life in the past and can provide insights into popular fashions, products and trends of the time. Check out these advertisements throughout history: Image: Library Company of Philidelphia In this 1849 advertisement, Dr. George Stuart’s botanical syrup and vegetable pills are said… Read the full story

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Not an April Fools’ Joke: PM David Cameron and Kim Kardashian ARE Related

Posted April 1, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

As British Prime Minister David Cameron begins his re-election campaign, he’s made an interesting revelation about his family history. In an interview with Heat, Cameron confirmed that he and Kim Kardashian are 13th cousins! How did he come to this revelation? Why Geni’s World Family Tree of course! This relationship was originally reported in two articles in the Daily Mail, following research done by AJ Jacobs, who’s been using Geni’s World Family Tree for his Global… Read the full story

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Naming Laws from Around the World

Posted February 3, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Many countries around the world have their own set of laws or customs for naming children. The reasons behind these policies varies widely from country to country. Image: Nationaal Archief, flickr Check out these interesting naming laws from around the world: ICELAND Parents in Iceland may only choose names approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee. The Personal Names Register includes about 1,800 approved Icelandic names for each gender. Girls should be given female names and… Read the full story

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10 Unusual Gravestones

Posted January 22, 2015 by Amanda | One Comment

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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The Great Stork Derby

Posted November 20, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

From time to time, family history researchers may find an odd request in an ancestors will. These can range from requests for large sums of money to be given to the deceased’s pet to a unique request of being buried in a glass box. Charles Vance Millar was a successful Canadian lawyer and financier, who loved jokes and pranks which played on people’s greed. On October 31, 1926, Millar died a bachelor at the age… Read the full story

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Halloween Postcards

Posted October 25, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment
postcard (1)

Do you have old postcards in your collection of family history mementos? Before email and texts, postcards were a perfect way to send short messages to family and friends. Because of this, postcards often hold wonderful anecdotes of family memories written in the hand of your relative. Whether your relative was traveling or just sending well wishes during the holidays, postcards bring us an intimate connection with your family’s past. With Halloween season upon us, check out… Read the full story

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10 Ways to Celebrate Family History Month

Posted October 3, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

Family History Month is here again! Each year, the month of October is devoted entirely to genealogy. There’s no better time to celebrate your family heritage, reconnect with your roots and share what you have discovered with the ones you love. We’ve compiled this handy list of ways you can make the most of this Family History Month! 1. Review your family tree on Geni Take a look at your family tree on Geni and see if there are any… Read the full story

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Creative Ways to Display Your Family Tree

Posted September 18, 2014 by Amanda | One Comment

One of the most exciting parts of researching your family history is getting the opportunity to share it with others. And part of the fun is coming up with unique and clever ideas to display your family tree, whether it’s a mural on the wall of your home or a shadowbox showcasing your family history. Here are few creative ways to display your family tree: Family Tree Cutout This is a really beautiful family tree showcasing family… Read the full story

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Strange Royal Epithets in History

Posted September 10, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

Do you have royal ancestors in your family tree? You may be familiar with some of the epithets that follow their names. An epithet is an adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned. Many figures throughout history are remembered and referred to by their epithets, long after they are deceased. A familiar one from history may be Richard the Lionheart, who earned his nickname because of his reputation… Read the full story

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The World’s Earliest Photos

Posted August 19, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

Nothing brings a genealogist more joy than the discovery of old family photographs. These pictures give us faces to the names on our family trees and bring with them stories that help enhance our understanding of how our relatives once lived. Today, we can instantly preserve and share memories with anyone around the world with just a click of a button. However, while it’s hard to imagine now, it hasn’t always been so easy to snap a… Read the full story

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Watch as the U.S. Center of Population Heads West

Posted July 3, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment
Mean Centers of Population  1790 to 2010   Geography   U.S. Census Bureau

The United States Census Bureau has created this amazing map that details the movement of the country’s mean center of population over the last 220 years. The data is from the U.S. census records from 1790 – 2010. What is the mean center of population? According the the U.S. Census Bureau, the mean center of population is “the point at which an imaginary, flat weightless, and rigid map of the United States would balance if… Read the full story

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The Statue of Liberty Arrives in the U.S.

Posted June 17, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

On this day in 1885, the Statue of Liberty, America’s iconic symbol of freedom and independence, arrived in New York Harbor in Manhattan, New York after a long voyage across the Atlantic. Over two hundred thousand people lined the docks and boarded hundreds of boats to welcome the French steamer Isère and catch a glimpse of the copper and iron statue. The statue was shipped disassembled in over 300 individual pieces and packed in over 200… Read the full story

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Mother’s Day: Famous Moms

Posted May 9, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day in the U.S. Variations of Mother’s Day have been celebrated at different times throughout history all over the world. The official celebration of Mother’s Day in the U.S. began in the early 20th century thanks to the efforts of a woman named Anna Jarvis. A few years after the death of her mother, Anna was inspired to organize a day to not only honor her mother, but… Read the full story

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Oscar Night 2014: Who’s Related?

Posted March 3, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

Did you watch the 86th Annual Academy Awards? The star-studded award show was hosted for the second time by comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who took over the reigns from the previous year’s host Seth MacFarlane. Funny must run in the genes because the Family Guy creator also happens to be Ellen’s 10th cousin. Did you enjoy watching Ellen bring her friendly charm to the Oscar stage? It turns out this year’s race was a family affair, with… Read the full story

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Elvis Presley: Long Live the King of Rock & Roll

Posted January 8, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

Today we celebrate the birth of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Considered one of the most celebrated and successful musicians of all time, Elvis not only transformed the field of popular music, but was the catalyst for the cultural revolution that was rock and roll. On January 8, 1935, Elvis Aron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi to Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Smith. Elvis was born at home in his family’s two-room shot-gun house built… Read the full story

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Looking Back: Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Posted December 24, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment

Do you remember writing letters to Santa Claus? As a child, many of us believed in the jolly man from the North Pole. If we were good children, Santa would bring us presents on Christmas day. But there were always those who would shed doubts in our belief. One of the most famous editorials ever to be published is the story of a young Virginia O’Hanion and her quest to know if there really was… Read the full story

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Crafty Ways to Bring a Little Family History to Your Holiday

Posted December 18, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment

The holidays are always a fun time to share with your family. It’s also the perfect time to share your ancestors stories with your relatives. Check out some crafty ways to spice up your holiday decor with some family history memories. Wrap It Image credit: Sweet Paul Do you have old family photos at home? Scan your photos to create homemade wrapping paper for your relatives. Sweet Paul Magazine offers a quick tutorial to turn… Read the full story

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Famous Descendants of the Mayflower

Posted November 28, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment

Happy Thanksgiving! A holiday known just as much for bringing families together as the food everyone partakes in, Thanksgiving holds a special place in the hearts of America. The First Thanksgiving The very first Thanksgiving can be traced to 1621. In 1620, the 102 Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower arrived to the New World. After enduring a harsh winter where only half of the Mayflower‘s original passengers and crew survived, the settlers were aided the next spring… Read the full story

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Family History: Creative Games for Kids

Posted October 11, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment

Have you wondered about what creative ideas are out there to get your kids more excited to learn about their family history? In honor of Family History Month, here’s a sample of DIY games that’s loads of fun for the entire family. Guess Who? Family Edition Image credit: Mads Memories blog Here’s a clever idea from the Mads Memories blog. Take the classic game Guess Who? and make it your own. Replace the game’s photos with those… Read the full story

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Family History Month: 5 Fun Ways to Celebrate

Posted October 4, 2013 by Amanda | One Comment

It’s that time of year again! October is Family History Month – an entire month devoted to the celebration genealogy. Learning about your family history gives us a greater appreciation of our past and a better understanding of where we come from. Check out  these 5 fun activities to celebrate Family History Month! 1. Interview your relatives Take this month to see which relatives you have yet to interview and record their stories. Nothing makes… Read the full story

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Honoring the Past: Jewelry and Your Family Tree

Posted September 19, 2013 by Amanda | 2 Comments

If you’re lucky enough to have tons of old family photos stored in your home, chances are they are tucked away in a box, perhaps in a closet, never to see the light of day. Your old family photographs are just waiting for you to bring them to light in a creative, unique display in your home. Check out how a few crafty folks have created some beautiful pieces of jewelry to display their family… Read the full story

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Celebrating Father’s Day

Posted June 13, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
President John F. Kennedy and his son, John F. Kennedy, Jr.

This Sunday, the U.S. and many other parts of the world will celebrate Father’s Day. Observed on the third Sunday of June every year, Father’s Day is the perfect summer celebration for outdoor festivities and family gatherings in honor of our father’s, grandfather’s and paternal figures in our lives. Did you know Father’s Day was well celebrated long before it was officially recognized as a national holiday in 1972? The day was founded in Spokane,… Read the full story

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Activities for Your Next Family Reunion

Posted April 19, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
Family Reunion Activities

Are you planning a family reunion in the near future? Here are some fun activities to get your entire family involved in learning about your family history. 1. Fill in the family tree Here’s a fun game to get some of the younger members of your family interested in their genealogy: make copies of blank family trees for each youngster and have them ask relatives to help them fill out the tree. This is a… Read the full story

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The Love Story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning

Posted February 14, 2013 by Amanda | 3 Comments
10 January 1845 . Browning  Robert to Browning  Elizabeth Barrett.    The Browning Letters

It’s Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day brings out the romantic in many of us and what better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to read about great love stories in history. Baylor University, in collaboration with Wellesly College digitized the love letters between English poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett. The entire collection is now available online for your viewing pleasure. Elizabeth Barrett came from a prominent and wealthy family and she was already a well… Read the full story

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Fun Family History Activities for the Holidays

Posted December 14, 2012 by Amanda | 2 Comments
Stockings on Mantelpiece

The holidays are just around the corner! Celebrate this holiday season with some fun activities for the entire family! Check out some ways you can share your family heritage with the ones you love. Swap Stories   With your entire family gathered in one place, it’s the perfect time to share family stories from the past. Ask an older relative to share a special holiday memory from their childhood or a memory of a passed… Read the full story

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Are You Related to Justin Bieber?

Posted October 12, 2012 by Amanda | 8 Comments

There’s been a lot of news lately surrounding Justin Bieber‘s ancestry. Well, it turns out Justin Bieber has even more celebrity relatives in his musically-gifted family tree. Thanks to Geni’s World Family Tree, you can easily find out  how he’s related to other celebrities, historical figures or even you! Check out a few of his famous relatives below. And the best part, you can actually see how they are related! We’ve posted many of Beyoncé Knowles celebrity… Read the full story

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Look Who’s Related: Ed Helms and Michelle Obama

Posted October 4, 2012 by Amanda | 3 Comments
Ed Helms&Michelle Obama

In tonight’s episode of The Office, Ed Helms‘ office manager Andy Bernard learns he is related to Michelle Obama. Will you be watching the hilarity as Andy brags to his co-workers about his newly discovered relative? In honor of “Andy’s Ancestry,” we thought it would be fun to see how the Office star was really related to the First Lady. As it turns out, Michelle Obama is Ed Helms’ 18th cousin once removed! Just like his… Read the full story

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Remembering Robert Goddard

Posted August 10, 2012 by Amanda | One Comment

The world has been abuzz over NASA’s latest accomplishment – the successful landing of Curiosity on the surface of Mars. NASA’s rover has already started sending images back of the red planet. Considered one of the most ambitious planetary missions in history, scientists hope to investigate whether life ever existed on the planet. However, without the scientific breakthroughs of physicist and inventor Robert Goddard, none of this may have ever been possible. Known as one of the founding… Read the full story

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Are You Related to an Emmy Nominee?

Posted July 19, 2012 by Amanda | No Comment

Early this morning, the nominees for the 64th Primetime Emmys were announced. Were you surprised by any of the nods? While taking a look at this year’s nominees in comedy, we noticed that many of them had family trees connected to Geni’s World Family Tree. If you’re connected to the world family tree, you may very well find your relationship path to some of this year’s Emmy hopefuls! Here’s a look at how some of… Read the full story

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Famous Folks and the Declaration of Independence

Posted July 6, 2012 by Amanda | One Comment

Earlier this week, we showed  you how Reese Witherspoon was related to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Witherspoon. Now lets take a look at how some other famous faces are related to the people who signed the Declaration on July 4, 1776! Matt Damon grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attended Harvard University. Did you know he is related to fellow Massachusetts resident John Adams? He is Matt Damon’s fourth cousin… Read the full story

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Independence Day by the Numbers

Posted July 2, 2012 by Amanda | 9 Comments
Independence Day

This July 4th, the U.S. will celebrate its 236th Independence Day! On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. Two days later on July 4, its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and declared the 13 American colonies independent states and no longer a part of the British Empire. Check out our infographic for some fun facts to help mark the holiday! How will you be celebrating this Fourth of July?

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Look Who’s Related: Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane

Posted June 29, 2012 by Amanda | 5 Comments
Mark Wahlberg

This week Mark Wahlberg shows off his comedic chops in his new movie, Ted. Written and directed by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, Wahlberg plays a man whose childhood wish for his teddy bear to come to life comes true. MacFarlane also lends his voice as the titular teddy bear and best friend. Did you know the pair are also distantly related? Seth MacFarlane is Mark Wahlberg’s 13th cousin thrice removed!* Read on to see which other… Read the full story

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Five Famous Connections to Abraham Lincoln

Posted June 21, 2012 by Amanda | 3 Comments

This week, the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opens nationwide. Based on the fictional novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, the story follows the life of President Abraham Lincoln but with a twist – he was secretly a vampire hunter! In honor of the movie’s release, check out how these five famous faces are related to the real Abraham Lincoln. 1. Starring as the vampire hunting President is actor Benjamin Walker, who’s married to Mamie Gummer, daughter of actress Meryl… Read the full story

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Look Who’s Related: Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin

Posted June 14, 2012 by Amanda | No Comment

This Friday, Tom Cruise lends his voice as Stacee Jaxx in the rock musical Rock of Ages. Just this week, Cruise was honored by The Friars Club with the Friars Club Entertainment Icon Award in New York, becoming the fourth recipient of the honor and placing him in the same company as legends Douglas Fairbanks, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. On hand to present his award was his Rock of Ages co-star Alec Baldwin. Did you know… Read the full story

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Look at Which Celebrities are Related to Queen Elizabeth II

Posted June 1, 2012 by Amanda | 2 Comments
Queen Elizabeth

June 2 kicks off Queen Elizabeth II‘s Diamond Jubilee celebration. In honor of her 60 years on the throne, here’s a look at just a few notable celebrities who are related to the Queen of England. Throughout her long and distinguished reign, Queen Elizabeth has met with 12 U.S. Presidents. In 2009, President Obama made a visit to Buckingham Palace. President Obama is Queen Elizabeth’s 9th cousin twice removed! Just this week, teen idol Justin… Read the full story

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Look Who’s Related: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Posted May 24, 2012 by Amanda | 8 Comments
Brad Pitt

This week Brad Pitt made an appearance at the Cannes Film Festival in support of his new movie Killing Them Softly. The film was created in collaboration with writer/director Andrew Dominik, who worked with Brad in the film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In the film, Brad played the American outlaw Jesse James. Did you know Brad Pitt and Jesse James are actually related? Jesse James is Brad Pitt’s 9th cousin twice removed!… Read the full story

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Look Who’s Related: Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus

Posted May 18, 2012 by Amanda | 6 Comments
Britney Spears

It was announced earlier this week that Britney Spears will be the latest celebrity judge to join The X Factor. The newly engaged Spears has been making a comeback lately. She was recently listed as No. 6 on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Celebrities and on May 20, she will compete for Top Dance Artist at the Billboard Music Awards. Let’s check out how she’s related to some of today’s top stars! It was originally rumored that Miley… Read the full story