Two famous folks are genealogically connected through the women in their lives.
Many a handsome Hollywood actor is
haunted by gossip about women from his past. But when you're talking
genealogy, paying attention to whispers about yesterday's women can pay
off big time.
example, as I began to research the family tree of actor William Holden
(born William Franklin Beedle Jr. on April 17, 1918, in Illinois), I
came upon stories of a family relationship to President George
Washington. An interesting coincidence struck me: Both men's mothers
were named Mary Ball — a promising possibility for a link. Proving it
took some time, though, primarily because Holden's maternal lineage
dated from early 1800s New York. That's a particularly difficult
research location and time due to a scarcity of traditional
I used published family histories and
original records to pursue Holden's Ball surname all the way back to
the late 1500s. It turns out that William Holden and George Washington
are third cousins nine times removed through Richard Ball and his wife,
Elizabeth, who hailed from England. Holden descends from their son
John, born in 1593, and George Washington's ancestor was another son,
William, born in 1615.
spend a lot of time looking for famous ancestors through paternal
lines, but exploring maternal lines often leads to the truth. With each
new female ancestor identified, you uncover a new surname — and every
new surname has the potential for Hollywood connections.
From the February 2004 Family Tree Magazine