Master Surname Index

About Me

My name is Rich Hall and I am the founder of, a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and a contributing author of the Notable Descendants column in the Mayflower Descendants journal currently published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. I contributed over two dozen notable descents featured in Gary Boyd Roberts's latest book The Mayflower 500: Five Hundred Notable Descendants of the Founding Families on the Mayflower; and I have consulted or worked as a researcher on various television projects for Wild Blue Media, Piece of Work Productions, Paul Sadowski's Full Range Films, and Mark Wahlberg's Unrealistic Ideas. I have used autosomal DNA results to help identify the birth family of someone put up for adoption; and I have used a combination of my own Y-DNA and autosomal DNA results to identify the birth families of my own illegitimate ancestor, thus proving an old family story told to my father by his parents. It turns out I'm not really a Hall!

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One of the reason's was created was my desire to know the truth. I would often read in the news about a surprising family relationship between two famous people and wonder if it was true. Other news organizations would pick up the story and repeat it. Once published, it became fact regardless of whether or not it was true. So I would read the story, wonder if it was true, and start researching it.

One such claim by a noted genealogist was that accused murderess Lizzie Borden was the cousin of actress Elizabeth Montgomery, who ironically portrayed Lizzie in the 1975 television movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden. This claim quickly spread across the internet and the print media, but nowhere could I find out just how they were related. After performing some of my own research, I determined that the claim was true and I uploaded the results, and my sources, to the website for everyone to see. I may not always be right, but at least you can look up my sources and judge for yourself. (View a chart showing the relationship of Lizzie Borden and Elizabeth Montgomery)

Sometimes, genealogy just needs to be fun!

But the main reason for is that, sometimes, genealogy just needs to be fun! It can be fun to find those famous cousins or ancestors you didn't know about, and it will make that family history you plan to give to your family a lot more interesting for them to read. If you can trace your family back to colonial Virginia, New England or Québec, you will probably find more than a few famous cousins.

Listen to's Brian French interview founder Rich Hall.

Some of my recent contributions to history and genealogy beyond this website

All articles from the Mayflower Descendant reprinted by permission of New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Notable mention by others