When I blogged about the April 25 Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course webinar, (now available on demand in Family Tree Shop), I teased you by asking “What do genealogy, baseball, “Prairie Home Companion,” the Minnesota State Fair, WCCO Radio, and the Lennon sisters all have in common?
(Actually, webinar instructor and Minnesotan Paula Stuart-Warren did the teasing, but I helped.)
We didn’t want to leave you hanging, so here’s the answer in Paula’s own words:
It’s just another example of “genealogy is everywhere!”
More years ago than I care to remember, Tim Russell, a WCCO Radio personality in Minnesota, would talk about his relationship to the Lennon Sisters. Then he’d play the Lawrence Welk bubble music. My mom would call me and tell me to figure this out for Tim because she was getting tired of the bubble music.
One day I called the station and said that yes, if Tim and the Lennon sisters shared a common great great grandfather, they were third cousins. His producer asked me to share this on the air. Shy ol’ me gulped and forged ahead.
She also asked if I’d be on his radio show during the Minnesota State Fair. That produced a really big gulp, as the show was broadcast from a big glass booth for all fair-goers to see. We decided that I’d do some research on Russell’s family and present it to him on air.
Research at the Minnesota and Wisconsin state historical societies proved the third cousin connection between Tim and the Lennon Sisters. Their common ancestors Judge James Lennon and his wife Catherine Bellew were born in Ireland, but lived most of their lives in Appleton, Wis. I also turned up more on Russell’s great-grandfather George Lennon’s involvement with the St. Paul Saints baseball team in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Baseball teams have their own genealogies.)
Tim shared the research with the Lennons. I was privileged to be thanked on air in a call with Kathy Lennon, and I received some nice thank-you notes. I let them all know that my then-8th-grade son helped (he still does research today at 35 years old).
So, now we have the genealogy, baseball, Lennon Sisters, Minnesota State Fair, and WCCO radio connection. How do we fit in the public radio show “Prairie Home Companion“? Tim is one of the show’s actors, creating multiple sounds and voices.
Thank you to all those who joined in the Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course webinar and for asking such great questions. Kerry Scott from Family Tree University did a great job. If you didn’t get a chance to join us, the recorded Minnesota webinar is available through Family Tree Shop.