Celebritrees: Matt Damon
3/1/2010
His Bourne Identity character may not know who he is, but Damon's own identity is spelled out in his father's name.
Hottie actor Matt Damon starred in The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy as Jason Bourne, an amnesia-stricken top-secret agent running from the assassins of seemingly every intelligence bureau on Earth. Bourne spends most of the plots trying to figure out who he is and why everyone's after him. But Boston native Damon's own identity is neatly spelled out in his father's name.

In New England, it's not unusual to find that a child's middle name, and sometimes his first, are remnants of family history. Matt's dad, Kent Telfer trees Damon, is named for his paternal great-grandmothers Grace Telfer and Maybelle Kent. Such clues led me to Joseph Emerson, Matt's eighth-great-grandfather. An Emerson genealogy revealed that Damon and 19th-century essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson are fourth cousins five times removed. (Maybe that's where the handsome young star, who teamed up with pal Ben Affleck to write the Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting, got his talent for prose.)

Using vital records, deeds and probates at the New England Historic Genealogical Society <www.newenglandancestors.org> research library in Boston, I learned that Damon also shares ancestors with five US presidents.

Too bad Jason Bourne isn't so well-connected — that'd sure make his life a whole lot easier.

From the April 2005 Family Tree Magazine