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Archive for July, 2017

This article is part of a series journaling my progress with what I call The Presidential Project. The first article was posted on 25 May, 2017 and can be found here: Back to the Blog and you can read forward from there to today.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Yesterday, I wrote about how I can claim kinship to at least 13 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Yesterday and today I also saw how there were many Facebook posts about kinship to the Signers, so I thought it might be helpful to give a “how to” explanation of how I quickly identified those 13 brave Patriots.

I am using the website FamousKin.com as the resource to identify my relationships to various, well, Famous Kin. The key is to identify Gateway Ancestors. So let’s use the 3rd President of the United States, “TJ” Thomas Jefferson, as an example. And let’s do this as his role as a Signer of the Declaration of Independence rather than his Presidency.

Go to the website and click on the Signers button, the 7th one across near the top of the page. Up comes a list, not complete, of people who signed important historic documents. Find Thomas Jefferson in the list, the 17th one down, and click on the “famous kin” link next to his name. Up comes a page with a list of famous people from various walks of life that are related to TJ.

The first entries are famous people from which TJ is directly descended, followed by people who have a kinship to him. As you peruse the list, perhaps your Surname Alarm starts going off. Yes, you recognize a name from your family tree. By definition, if you are related to, say, William the Conqueror, and TJ is related to him as well, then you are, by definition, related to Thomas Jefferson.

So for yesterday’s blog post, I keyed in on two very famous ancestors of mine, William the Conqueror and King Edward I, my 27th and 21st great-grandfathers respectively. I then looked at the famous kin of each Signer, looking for those names in their list and that is how I developed my own list. Note that if you claim King Edward “Longshanks” I in your family tree, you too are related to those same 13 signers … and me! Hello Cousin.

Tomorrow I will get into how you determine the exact relationship between yourself and the Signer of the Declaration of Independence. But I must end with this caveat. The data on FamousKin.com does not contain source references. You need to treat it as you would data from Ancestry or the IGI, as a clue, not as fact. There are better, well sourced, genealogies of various famous people, especially the Presidents. It is there that you can bump up the confidence in claiming your relationship. Perhaps a reader or two will respond with a comment about those more definitive resources.

Next Installment: The Signers, explained, part 2

(c) 2017 Philip G Wright, all rights reserved

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This article is part of a series journaling my progress with what I call The Presidential Project. The first article was posted on 25 May, 2017 and can be found here: Back to the Blog and you can read forward from there to today.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017

As we enjoy this special American holiday (the original Brexit!), have our hamburgers and hotdogs, salmon and peasi, and watch the fireworks display, remember to give thanks to those patriots who pledged their “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” to ensure the freedom we enjoy.

This article is about a list of kin who were Signers of the Declaration of Independence and that will be a natural outgrowth of The Presidential Project. FamousKin,com does contain the necessary Gateway Ancestor information, but not all 56 Signers are covered by that resource.

A quick scan of the Signers listed using the most common Gateway Ancestors reveals the following Signers of the Declaration are my kin:

Through King Edward I:

Rhode Island: William Ellery
New York: William Floyd
Massachusetts: John Hancock
Virginia: Benjamin Harrison
Virginia: Thomas Jefferson
Virginia: Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Massachusetts: Robert Treat Paine
Delaware: Caesar Rodney
Connecticut: Roger Sherman
New Hampshire: William Whipple

Through William I “the Conqueror”:

Georgia: Button Gwinnett
Georgia: Lyman Hall
New York: Philip Livingston

I am sure there are closer relationships and I still need to work out the kinship, not to mention look up the Signers that are not listed at FamousKin.com.

Hopefully I can get my writing back on track and I do apologize for the time gap. Hard to encourage readership with random posts, eh? (My Canadian side peeks out). But if you choose to follow this blog, you will be alerted to new postings.

Next Installment: The Signers, explained

(c) 2017 Philip G Wright, all rights reserved

Read Full Post »