We’re Related – Johnny Depp – OMG

Famous Friday
Roberts Line & Howell Line
by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.My fifth look at possible relatives using the “We’re Related” showed Johnny Depp as a potential cousin. I immediately thought, “Oh – My – Gawd.”  I had looked at my wife’s relationship with Johnny Depp last spring. If she is a 7th cousin three times removed to Johnny Depp, and I am an 8th cousin twice removed to Johnny Dep, then it would suggest that my wife and I are 10th cousins.  Could it be?

“We’re Related” suggests that John Pinkard (1647-1690) is a common ancestor of Johnny Depp and myself. The lineage goes up my paternal (Roberts) line:

  • Hugh Eugene Roberts (1926-1997)
  • Bert Allen Roberts(1903-1949)
  • Hugh Ellis Roberts(1882-1908)
  • Asa Ellis Roberts(1835-1887)
  • Elizabeth Blackwell (1796-1867)
  • David Blackwell (1755-1841) *
  • Elizabeth Steptoe (1713-1761) *
  • <Private> Apparently Elizabeth Eustace Pinkard. *
  • John Pinkard (1647-1690) *
Photo of Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp – Cousin?

My wife and Johnny Depp supposedly share a common ancestor Jean Panetier with a lineage of:

I did a brief look at the descendants of John Pinkard (1647-1690) and didn’t find any children named Jean nor did I find any daughters who married a Panetier or Pankey.

Even though I haven’t found anything, so far, to support the “We’re related” suggestion that my wife and I are related I haven’t seen anything that disproves it either.  In both cases, I need to do much more research into the Pinkard, Pankey, and Panetire families. It is possible my wife and I are related through this connection.

Panetier is similar enough to Pankey that Pankey could be a derivative. Likewise, Pinkard could be another derivative name. So, I have seven or eight individuals I need to research further to confirm both of us are related to Johnny Depp, and each other. This research could be fascinating and fun to do.

Once again, “We’re Related” proves to be an interesting application that causes me to ask new questions and suggests new areas for research.


Footnotes:

[* = Italic entries are “We’re Related suggestions that are unknown to my research.]

 

We’re Related – My Possible Relatives – John Kerry, Luke Bryan, Carrie Fisher

 

Famous Friday
by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.My second look at possible relatives using “We’re Related.”

I must have received an upgrade recently as the program wanted me to reconnect with all of my Facebook friends. I was not amused that I could not bypass the requirement. I really don’t want “We’re Related” sending messages to all of my friends asking them to install “We’re Related” on their devices. My grandkids don’t need messages like that from me.  Nor do many of my other friends.  Luckily, it is possible to uncheck friends from the invites. It is a pain to have to do that to a hundred or more individuals, but I was able to do so and launch the application again. The first three potential ancestors shown were John Kerry, Luck Bryan, and Carrie Fisher.

John Kerry

John Kerry is identified as a possible seventh cousin, four times removed on my Brown line.

  • Richard Earl Brown
  • Arthur Durwood Brown
  • Marian Sanford
  • Mary Electa Parsons
  • Deborah Buel Maben
  • Electra Rowley
  • Wicks Weeks Rowley
    • Hannah Phelps – Unknown to me. Needs further research.
    • Nathaniel Phelps 
    • Nathaniel Phelps
    • Timothy Phelps – Supposed Common Ancestor.

I do not know who Wicks Weeks Rowley’s mother was. I believe his father was Nathan Rowley, but have no clue regarding his mother. Definitely, this is an area for further research. My relationship with John Kerry is possible.

Luke Bryan (Thomas Luther Bryan)

I’ll admit it, when I saw his name I said, “Who?” I learned he is a country music musician and composer. Then I switched to a genealogical context and thought, Bryan, I have Bryan’s in my family tree, maybe this will be a quick positive match.  No such luck.

Luke Bryan is potentially a sixth cousin, twice removed, through

  • Hugh Eugene Roberts
  • Bert Allen Roberts
  • Hugh Ellis Roberts
  • Asa Ellis Roberts
  • Elizabeth Blackwell
    • David Blackwell – Unknown to me. Needs further research.
    • Samuel Blackwell – Supposed Common Ancestor.

I don’t know Elizabeth Blackwell’s parents nor grandparents, but with only two unknown ancestors involved, this is probably the closest to verification famous person I’ve encounter so far. Cousins with Luke Bryan is likely.

Carrie Fisher

The third famous individual I’m looking at this week is the late Carrie Fisher, a potential eighth cousin, twice removed. “We’re Related” say we are related through Anthony Steptoe on the following tree:

  • Hugh Eugene Roberts
  • Bert Allen Roberts
  • Hugh Ellis Roberts
  • Asa Ellis Roberts
  • Elizabeth Blackwell
    • David Blackwell – Unknown to me. Needs further research.
    • Elizabeth Steptoe
    • John Steptoe
    • Anthony Steptoe – Supposed Common Ancestor.

With two individuals whose possible relationship to me stops at Elizabeth Blackwell, it makes me want to investigate that ancestor more fully, next. In the meantime, it is likely I’m related to Princess Leia, umm, I mean Carrie Fisher.

Blaine Bettinger

Finally, among my Facebook friends, “We’re Related” suggests that I’m related to Blaine Bettinger and that we are ninth cousins along my Brown Line. Blaine is a professional genealogist who specializes in DNA. His blog, The Genetic Genealogist is one of my favorite blogs to follow. He is the author of several Genetic Genealogy books. I met Blaine at the Maine Genealogical Society Spring DNA Workshop last April and was lucky enough to share a table with him and get to know him a little bit.

  • Richard Earl Brown
  • Arthur Durwood Brown
  • Marian Sanford
  • Mary Electa Parsons
  • Chester Parsons
  • John Parsons
  • John Parsons
    • Abigail Smith
    • Jonathan Smith

So, it appears we are very close, only two ancestors away from finding a common ancestor (CA).  I just need to find out who the parents and grandparents of John Parsons (1736-1821) are. In the meantime, it is likely that Blaine and I are related.

Updated chart of Relationships to Famous People

Famous Person Relationship* To CA Comments
Luke Bryan Possible 2 Research Ancestors of Elizabeth Blackwell
Blaine Bettinger Possible 2 Research Ancestors of John Parsons
John Kerry Possible 4 Research Ancestors of Wicks Weeks Rowley
Carrie Fisher Possible 4 Research Ancestors of Elizabeth Blackwell
Walt Disney Possible 7 Research Ancestors of Mercy Eliza Taft
Stephen King Unlikely Not through Max Fisher
Randy Seaver Unlikely Not through Henry Mack Brown
Britney Spears Unlikely Not through Sarah J. Gavin

“We’re Related” is fun to look at possibilities. It makes me think about key relationships in my tree and has the potential of providing clues into further research.  I wonder if Ancestry has improved its algorithms.  None of the matches this time were unlikely or impossible.

In my normal research process of my Roberts line, Elizabeth Blackwell is sixth ancestor on my list to research in depth. So, I should get one generation closer on that line in the next few months. Researching her will also bring me one step closer to knowing if I’m related to Carrie Fisher as well.

John Parsons, Sr., is my ancestor #408. I have written about my 3rd great-grandmother, Mary E. Parsons previously, but I still need to document his father Chester Parsons, and his father, John Parsons, Jr., before researching John Parsons, Sr., in depth.


*Relationship Table

Unlikely = There is something in the family tree going up to the common ancestor that I disagree with.  There might be another path to a common ancestor; however, according to my research, the path “We’re Related” is suggesting is not possible.

Possible = “We’re Related” has added additional ancestors to my tree to reach a potential common ancestor.  I need to do more research to agree with the Common Ancestor.

Probable = “We’re Related” indicates a common ancestor that I agree is an ancestor of mine. I need to research the descendants of that ancestor to assure the connection.

Certain = Well as certain as you can get in Genealogy. “We’re Related” indicates a pathway up to a common ancestor and down to the famous person that I am in agreement with.

We’re Related – My Possible Relatives – Stephen King, Walt Disney, Britney Spears

Review by Don Taylor
Famous Friday

Certainly, one of the fun, new apps from Ancestry is their app, “We’re Related.”  I’ve seen several genealogy friends talk about the app and thought I’d see who I’m related to. Randy Seaver, in his blog Genea-Musings, speaks about his connections in the sense of likely, possible, and unlikely. I thought it might be fun to see who I’m related to that I don’t know about.  I also thought it might, just might provide some areas of new research. Setup was easy. Download the app from the app store, connect the app to your Ancestry.Com account.  Select a tree to use and select yourself from within that tree. Easy-peasy. Next, just look at the possible relationships. Select one and see a tree indicating the relationship. Here I go with some of my results.

Stephen King

The first match I looked at was with Stephen King.

Oh well.  Not a likely match at all. We’re Related’s  path to 7th cousin, once removed Stephen King went through my mother, her mother Madonna Montran, and her father, Max Fisher.  Oops.  Max Fisher was her step-father, not her biological father.  Not even worth further research.  I understand that Ancestry wants to provide all the famous matches that it can, but a fourth cousin of my grandmother’s step-father isn’t a relationship I have an interest spending any research time investigating or confirming. It might be that someone else has a tree that doesn’t define Max as a step-father. So, I’ve hidden this unlikely relationship.

Walt Disney

Next came Walt Disney, a 10th cousin 2x removed.

Walt Disney - 8th CousinA quick look at the ancestral path matched my Roberts Line.

  • Hugh Eugene Roberts
  • Essie Pansy Barnes
  • Joel Clinton Barns
  • Mercy Eliza Taft

Then Joel Cruff Taft and six other ancestors I am not familiar with. Ancestry’s adding seven ancestors to my tree to get to a common ancestor with Walt Disney is disconcerting, but entertaining.  It does provide areas for further research and will pursue it as a part of my standard ancestor research. I’d call my relationship with Walt Disney as a possible Relationship.

Britney Spears

The third famous individual I matched was 8th cousin, 1x removed, Britney Spears.

This line followed my mother, her father, Richard Earl Brown, his mother, Mary Elizabeth Mannin[i], and her mother “Sarah J. Garvin.”  Who?  My research indicates that Mary Elizabeth Manning’s mother was Eliza Jane Fannin.  I never heard of Sarah J. Gavin. So, I’m probably not related to Britney Spears. But the suggestion by “We’re Related” does give me pause to double check my sources for Mary Manning’s mother, but I’m pretty confident this is an unlikely relationship.

Randy Seavers

Based on my Facebook friends, “We’re Related” suggests that I’m related to several friends.  Most interesting is possible 9th cousin Randy Seaver. Yes, the same Randy Seaver whose blog, Genea-Musings, I follow and recommend. Following my tree up towards our shared ancestor, I see, my mother, her father, Richard Earl Brown, his father Arthur Durwood Brown, and his father, Henry Mack Brown.  Oops.  I’ve run into this relationship in several other trees and have investigated it.  I am confident that William Henry Brown was Arthur Durwood Brown’s father and not Henry Mack Brown. I wrote about that relationship in, “W. Henry Brown (1843-c.1895). So, I believe this is an unlikely relationship, and certainly not through Henry Mack Brown.

Conclusion

Famous Person Relationship Comments
Walt Disney Possible Research Ancestors of Mercy Eliza Taft
Stephen King Unlikely Not through Max Fisher
Randy Seaver Unlikely Not through Henry Mack Brown
Britney Spears Unlikely Not through Sarah J. Gavin

“We’re Related” is fun to look at the possibilities. It makes me think about key relationships in my tree and has the potential of providing clues into further research.  It will be interesting to see what it shows when I look at my wife’s family tree using this app.  I know of her relation with a couple of famous Swayze individuals. Will the app show those relationships? We will see….


Endnotes:

[i] Mannin and Manning are used interchangeably.  I tend to use whichever one that is used in the source that the information comes from.