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January Newsletter

      Carol Sanderson, Editor
      Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor

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Famous Ancestors - by Charles Hansen

        One of the reasons some people go into genealogy is to find out if they have any famous ancestors and many people will find some famous ancestors, but most of us will find we are related to ordinary people that did ordinary work. You want to make sure you do not try to make your family fit into a famous surname just because it is the same surname. The classic example of this is if your surname is Washington trying to prove you are related to George Washington, but George had no children, so there are no descendants.

        Early in the 1900s there was a very good genealogist named Gustov Anjou that was paid to research genealogies for some prominent families, at first he worked very hard and did some good work, but later he started to just make up the ancestors or relationships to fit was researching one of my Mayflower lines. Gustov had supposedly found the parents of Edward Doty in England, but what he actually did was find someone with the same surname that lived near where Edward Doty had lived in England. Was this the parents of Edward?? Gustov offered no proof, and no one could find anything to prove it either.

        You may think that since I had found a Mayflower ancestor I found my famous ancestor, and Edward Doty was famous in New England, he was in trouble and in court a lot mostly for being drunk and disorderly, and he was the servant of Stephen Hopkins who also liked to drink to excess. I am also related to Stephen and through him I found a famous cousin, Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby. Was I looking for "Bing"?? No I just sort of ran into him.

        So if your research leads to someone famous, that is great, but don't try to make your research fit just to have a famous ancestor.

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