Celebritrees: Power Search
3/1/2010
Zorro's Tyrone Power descends from an entertainment dynasty.
I groaned as I accidentally hit Enter while searching the New York Times Web site <www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/nytarchive.html> for matinee idol Tyrone Power, the swashbuckling star of 1940's The Mark of Zorro. Since I hadn't narrowed my article search to 1958, the year of Power's death, I got way more hits than I'd wanted — 4,935, to be exact.

But that frustrating finger slip showed me the advantages of casting a wide net on the Web. The article at the top of my hit list, dated Oct. 1, 1852, was about another Tyrone Power, an actor who died in 1841. Who was he? A relative, I suspected, of my Tyrone.

I was right. It turns out that the Tyrone Power of Zorro fame descends from an entertainment dynasty. His father, born Frederick Tyrone Power in 1869, was a Shakespearean thespian and silent film star, who died in 1931 while working on his first talking picture, The Miracle Man. Frederick's father, Harold, was a concert pianist. And Harold's father, the subject of my fortuitous newspaper find, was born in 1797 in Ireland. He was a comedic actor, primarily in England, though he traveled to America a number of times. In fact, he died in 1841 on board The President during a return trip from America. My Tyrone's great-great-grandfather, named — you guessed it — Tyrone Power, also was an actor. He died in the United States in 1798.

The names and dates in the 1852 New York Times article jump-started my search for this long line of performers. If I hadn't prematurely hit Enter that afternoon, who knows how long it would have taken to find them all? The next time you're having trouble locating an ancestor, try a broader search — you may discover a dynasty of your own.
 
From the June 2004 Family Tree Magazine
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