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  • Famous Ancestor - Nelson Mandela

    Born as Rolihlahla Mandela, Nelson Mandela was given his English first name by a schoolteacher. He was the first president of South Africa to be elected in fully democratic elections and held office from 1994 to 1999.

    Mandela was born in 1918 in the South African district of Umtata. After studying law, he became politically active in the African National Congress (ANC) and worked to end apartheid. Although he initially advocated nonviolent protest, he became disillusioned with the effectiveness of nonviolent tactics and in 1961 he led a bombing campaign against government buildings. In 1964, he was arrested along with other prominent ANC leaders and convicted of sabotage and armed action against the South African government.

    He was imprisoned at Robben Island, just off the coast near Cape Town, for the next eighteen years. In 1982 he was moved to another prison; finally in 1990 he was released by South African president Frederik Willem de Klerk. That same year, the ANC's existence was legalized and Mandela was elected as the organization's official president.

    Mandela and de Klerk participated in a series of negotiations and peace talks, and they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. On 27 April 1994, South Africa's first fully democratic elections were held and the ANC won 62% of the votes. As the elected leader of the ANC, Nelson Mandela became the first president of non-apartheid South Africa and led his nation into a new age of equality.

    To view Nelson Mandela's Family Tree, login to OneGreatFamily, launch Genealogy Browser, and enter OGFN# 598568281. You can also see whether or not you are related to Nelson Mandela by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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  • Famous Ancestor: John Adams

    Second cousin to Bostonian patriot Samuel Adams, John Adams also opposed the Stamp Act and similar measures on the grounds that Parliament did not have the authority to tax the colonies because the Americans were not represented in Parliament. John Adams represented Massachusetts at the First and Second Continental Congresses.

    In 1775, at the second congress, he nominated George Washington as commander-in-chief of the newly-created Continental Army. In June of 1776 when Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed to the Congress of resolution for independence, Adams seconded the motion and continued to press for independence until the other members of Congress agreed. A committee was formed to draft a declaration of independence to send to London, and Adams was appointed one of the members. The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Congress on 2 July 1776. The following day, Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:

    "You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, though all the gloom...I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction."

    John Adams served as vice president to George Washington for two terms, and then succeeded him as president of the United States. He was in office from 1797 to 1801.

    To view John Adams' Family Tree, login to OneGreatFamily, launch Genealogy Browser, and enter OGFN#593888133. You can also see whether or not you are related to Samuel Adams by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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  • Famous Ancestor: Benjamin Franklin

    Born in Boston in 1706, Benjamin Franklin was the youngest son of Josiah Franklin, a chandler and soap maker. At a young age Franklin was apprenticed to his older brother James, who was a printer. James started The New England Courant, the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies (other papers just re-printed news from London). Wanting to write for the paper but knowing that James wouldn't let him, young Franklin contributed for the paper under the pseudonym "Silence Dogood."

    In 1723 Franklin ran away from his apprenticeship and went to Philadelphia. He was hired by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith to go to London to secure printing equipment. Upon his return to Philadelphia, Franklin purchased The Pennsylvania Gazette and was finally able to go into the printing business for himself. He began publishing Poor Richard's Almanack in 1733; many of the aphorisms associated with Franklin come from the Almanack.

    Franklin became involved in politics in the 1750s; in 1754 at the Albany Congress in New York, he proposed a plan for unification of the American colonies. In 1757 he went to London to represent the Pennsylvania Assembly in a dispute over the colony's charter. After returning to Philadelphia for two years, he went to London again in 1764. In 1765 he was instrumental in convincing Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act. In 1775 he returned to the colonies and began working for independence. In 1776 he signed the Declaration of Independence and then embarked for France. As ambassador to France, he secured the Treaty of Alliance in 1778 and helped to negotiate the Treaty of Paris at the end of the war in 1783. After returning to Philadelphia, he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and a signer of the Constitution.

    To view Benjamin Franklin's Family Tree, visit:

    http://www.onegreatfamily.com/GenealogyBrowser/FamousAncestor.aspx?Name=benjaminfranklin

    You can also see whether or not you are related to Benjamin Franklin by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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  • Famous Ancestor: Samuel Adams

    Bostonian, revolutionary, inciter of the Boston Tea Party, and signer of the Declaration of Independence-by many accounts, Samuel Adams was the man of the American Revolution. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Boston Town Meeting for many years and spearheaded nearly every revolutionary effort taken in Massachusetts.

    One of Adams' most enduring contributions was the Massachusetts Circular Letter. In 1767, the British Parliament passed the Townshend Revenue Act, imposing new duties on lead, glass, paper, paint, and tea. The revenue generated by these new taxes would be used to pay the salaries of royal governors and officers in the colonies, making them no longer dependent upon-and therefore no longer answerable to-colonial legislatures. In protest of the Townshend Revenue Act, the Massachusetts House of Representatives issued the circular letter in 1768, drafted by Samuel Adams. The letter was sent to the lower houses of all the other colonies, calling on them to protest against the Townshend duties by boycotting British goods.

    When the First Continental Congress was called in 1775, Adams was one of the five Massachusetts delegates chosen to attend. The following year, he attended the Second Continental Congress. Later he would serve as the governor of Massachusetts from 1789 to 1797, but his greatest contribution was as an American revolutionary, and that is how he is remembered by Americans today.

    To view Samuel Adams' Family Tree, login to OneGreatFamily, launch Genealogy Browser, and enter OGFN#512686524. You can also see whether or not you are related to Samuel Adams by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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  • Famous Ancestor: James Madison

    February 24th marked exactly 210 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the landmark case Marbury v. Madison. Madison had been serving as Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson. During his lifetime, Madison also served as a representative in the First U.S. Congress, served as president for two terms, and was instrumental in drafting and ratifying the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.

    In his political theory, James Madison emphasized the importance of having checks and balances, and his three-branch system became the foundation of the Constitution. Once it was drafted, he teamed up with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton to write the Federalist Papers, published in 1787 and 1788 to rally public support for the new government system.

    Initially Madison was not in support of a bill of rights; he did not feel that it was necessary to include in the Constitution. But when it became clear that many states would not ratify the document without a bill of rights, Madison changed his mind. He proposed twelve amendments to the Constitution, ten of which were approved and became the Bill of Rights. He is sometimes called the "Father of the Constitution" for his role in drafting and ratifying it. He served as U.S. president for two terms, from 1809 to 1817.

    You can also see whether or not you are related to James Madison by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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