My name is Rich Hall and I am the founder of FamousKin.com, 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 FamousKin.com 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 FamousKin.com 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 GenealogyRadio.com's Brian French interview FamousKin.com founder Rich Hall.
Some of my recent contributions to history and genealogy beyond this website
- "Notable Mayflower Descendant: Story Musgrave," Mayflower Descendant 70 (Winter 2022):10-19.
- "Corrections to The Mayflower 500:Five Hundred Notable Descendants of the Founding Families of the Mayflower," compiled by Rich Hall at FamousKin.com and first sent to the author Gary Boyd Roberts in July 2020 (Revised 7 November 2021).
- "Notable Mayflower Descendants: Senator Tammy Duckworth," Mayflower Descendant 69 (Winter 2021):70-79.
- "Testing a Theory: Were Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee Related?," American Ancestors Magazine Vol. 21 (Winter 2021):44-47. Reprinted by permission of American Ancestors | New England Historic Genealogical Society. For more information about American Ancestors magazine visit AmericanAncestors.org.
- Discovery Channel's The Lost Lincoln (first aired Sunday, October 4, 2020); conducted research into the Ulke and Stanton families.
- "Notable Mayflower Descendants: Cindy Crawford," Mayflower Descendant 68 (Summer 2020):210-217.
- Gary Boyd Roberts, The Mayflower 500: Five Hundred Notable Descendants of the Founding Families on the Mayflower (Boston, 2020); contributed over 2 dozen notable descents covering about 50 pages in the book.
- "Notable Mayflower Descendants: John Cena," Mayflower Decendant 67 (Summer 2019):196-203.
- "Additions and Corrections to MD 65(2017):73–83," Mayflower Descendant 67 (Summer 2019):208-209, correcting "Notable Mayflower Descendants: Warren Buffett" article by Gary Boyd Roberts and Julie Helen Otto.
- "Notable Mayflower Descendants: William H. Macy," Mayflower Descendant 67 (Winter 2019):46-51.
- Unrealistic Ideas Family Roots Television Project, (first 6 episodes), failed to go to series (2018).
- "Notable Mayflower Descendants: Benedict Cumberbatch," Mayflower Descendant 66 (Winter 2018):49-55.
All articles from the Mayflower Descendant reprinted by permission of New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Notable mentions by others
- Leah Vann, "Are Drew Brees and Jacob Berry related? We asked the experts.," The Advocate, May 6, 2022.
- Christopher C. Child, "Notable Mayflower Descendants: Mitt Romney," Mayflower Descendant 69 (Summer 2021):108, 169.
- Christopher C. Child, "Pesky middle initials," Vita Brevis at AmericanAncestors.org (23 June 2021).
- Christopher C. Child, "Looking for earlier marriages," Vita Brevis at AmericanAncestors.org (11 March 2021).
- Christopher C. Child, "Discredited Descendants," Vita Brevis at AmericanAncestors.org (25 August 2020).
- Gary Boyd Roberts, The Mayflower 500: Five Hundred Notable Descendants of the Founding Families on the Mayflower (Boston, 2020), v, vi, 75, 144, 209, 279, 288, 303, 310, 312, 315, 322, 326, 334, 336, 338, 342, 348, 350, 351, 359, 373, 379, 433, 447, 459, 598, 600.
- Gary Boyd Roberts, The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec , or the United States (2 vols.) (Boston, 2018), 984.