February 25, 2003

Yesterday I caught part of a 1939 historical film on Turner Classic Movies called “Juarez.” After visiting Internet Movie Database, Inc. to learn more about the cast and characters http://us.imdb.com/Title?0031516, I discovered a number of interesting connections in the Family Forest.

The first character I explored was Emperor Maximilian (portrayed by Brian Aherne). His 20-generation ancestor chart fills in 247,318 boxes, meaning that almost 25% of his ancestry over a six-century timeframe is mapped out in the Family Forest.

The second character I explored was Emperor Maximilian’s wife, the former Maria Charlotta of Belgium (portrayed by Bette Davis). Her 20-generation ancestor chart fills in a lesser but still sizable 16% (165,646 boxes) of her ancestry during the same timeframe in the Family Forest.

Emperor Napoleon III (portrayed by Claude Rains) was lagging way behind. His 20-generation ancestor chart only filled in 5,546 boxes (about one half of one percent).

The interesting part was first seeing that all three of these characters have ancestral pathways that reach some of the same common ancestors many centuries ago, and then discovering that Bette Davis is also descended from some of the ancestors. One common ancestor to all four is King Henry II of England (portrayed by Peter O’ Toole in the1968 movie “The Lion in Winter,” and Patrick Stewart in the 2003 made-for-TV version).

So Bette Davis shares ancestors with the character she played in “Juarez,” the wife of the character she played, and Emperor Napoleon III. I wonder if the possibility ever crossed her mind?

While I was exploring Bette Davis’ ancestry, I stopped on another one of her ancestors, Robert Charlton (1450-1522), and displayed a 20-generation outline report of his descendants in the Family Forest.

A quick look through the 48-page outline revealed a number of well-known names, including, Howard Hughes, Katharine Hepburn, Lee de Forest (important inventor in the radio & television industries), members of the du Pont family, General William Tecumseh Sherman, Cole Porter, President Teddy Roosevelt, the National Geographic Grosvenors, both Presidents Bush, Alan Shepard (the astronaut), Norman Rockwell, John Hancock, President Coolidge, and members of the Ford and Firestone families.

This means several things about each of these people. In the Family Forest it’s possible to point-and-click travel from each of these people through fully sourced family ties to reach each of the other people. It’s possible to travel from each of these people through fully sourced family ties to reach Bette Davis. It’s possible to travel from each of these people through fully sourced family ties to reach at least three of the key characters in “Juarez.”

Old (and new) movies become so much more captivating when one discovers his or her own personal family ties to people in the cast and crew, and these delightful experiences are waiting to be found by each of us.
Bruce H. Harrison
Millisecond Publishing Co., Inc.
PO Box 6168
Kamuela, HI 96743
phone/fax: 808-885-7171
e-mail: forest@aloha.net

Family Forest® - A People-Centered Approach to History®


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