OneGreatFamily Blog

  • Historical Myths Debunked

    As family historians, our goal is to root out any false traditions or tall tales from our family trees. Although oral traditions and family legends can help lead us to factual events, they should always be verified before they are accepted as accurate. Likewise, there are also many misleading and erroneous historical accounts. For this article, let's get to the bottom of these stories. But remember, every legend contains a kernel of truth.

    John Smith and Pocahontas. Retold in elementary-school classrooms and immortalized in an animated Walt Disney film, the actual interaction of John Smith and Pocahontas was not at all the glamorous love story it is sometimes made out to be. For one thing, Pocahontas was only ten years old when she saved Smith's life, according to his account. But even that may not be accurate. John Smith's earliest account of his encounter with Pocahontas dates 1616, almost ten years after the supposed event. Many historians argue that John Smith's accounts of his adventures in Virginia were embellished to exaggerate his own heroic escapades, so we may never know.

    Paul Revere and William Dawes. Paul Revere was the rider immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1861 poem. But on the night of 18 April 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren actually sent two riders to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were marching from Boston to Lexington. Paul Revere and William Dawes both made the ride from Boston, and along the way they were joined by Samuel Prescott, a local physician. Two lanterns were hung in the steeple of the Old North Church to transmit the message in case Revere and Dawes were captured.

    Ferdinand Magellan. Although Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan is commonly credited with being the first man to circumnavigate the globe, he was actually killed by natives in the Philippines. It was his second-in-command, Juan Sebastian Elcano, and the surviving crew, who made it all the way around the world.

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  • Genealogy Browser Takes Forever To Load

    Some people have noticed that it takes a long time for their family tree to load. Usually it is because Genealogy Browser is trying to retrieve a large number of generations. To make your tree come up faster we suggest changing how many generations you have selected to view in the Starfield.

    Above the Starfield view towards the left you will see a number that has a drop down arrow next to it. It is located to the left of the yellow question mark. Click on the down arrow and select fewer generations.

    If you would like to see more generations but do not want to wait for it to load, we recommend that you choose an individual further back in the line you wish to view as an anchor.

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  • Famous Ancestor: John Hancock

    After being orphaned, John Hancock was adopted by his wealthy uncle Thomas Hancock, who had amassed a fortune during the Seven Years' War. In 1763 when Thomas Hancock died, John inherited his fortune, said to be the greatest body of wealth in New England. John received a business education from Harvard College and carried on his uncle's mercantile business with alacrity. In 1768 while his ship, the Liberty, was docked at Boston Harbor, it was seized by British customs officials and John Hancock was charged with smuggling. Popular opinion was on Hancock's side, however: a group of Bostonians stormed the boat and attacked the customs officials. Hancock supported actions like the Boston Tea Party, and in 1774 he was elected as a delegate to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and the First Continental Congress. As a result of his revolutionary stance, he was on a list of offenders of the British government. On the night of 18 April 1775, Joseph Warren sent Paul Revere and William Dawes from Boston to Lexington to warn John Adams and John Hancock that the British were marching to Lexington. The message was successfully transmitted, and John Hancock was ready to meet the British troops.

    To view John Hancock's Family Tree, login to OneGreatFamily, launch Genealogy Browser, and enter OGFN#514296904. You can also see whether or not you are related to John Hancock by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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  • A History of the Month of May

    Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
    Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
    See how Aurora throws her fair
    Fresh-quilted colours through the air. 
    Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
    Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.

    -"Corinna's Going A-Maying," Robert Herrick

    The month of May marks the season of springtime and the real beginning of summer. After a long cold winter, nothing is more exciting than the bright and cheery month of May. In ancient times, May was the third month of the Roman calendar. The Roman poet Ovid wrote that the origin of the month's name comes from maiores, Latin for "elders," while the month of June is named for iuniores, or "young people." Whether that is the true origin of the month's name or not, the month of May marks many important events. Throughout the ages in Europe, the first of May was celebrated as "May Day," and the people went "maying" and held their festivities around the Maypole accordingly. On the first Saturday in May the famed American horse race, the Kentucky Derby, is held. The second Sunday in May is Mother's Day. The last Monday in May is always Memorial Day (and on the Sunday before that, the Indianapolis 500 is held).

    There are many other historical events of great import that occurred in May:

    • 2 May: In 1994, Nelson Mandela won the presidency of South Africa in the country's first multiracial election.
    • 3 May: In 1979 Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of England.
    • 5 May: The Mexican army conquered the occupying French forces in the Batalla de Puebla; this is now commemorated as the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo.
    • 8 May: On "Victory in Europe Day," the military forces of Nazi Germany surrendered, ending Hitler's Third Reich, and victory was proclaimed by the Allied Forces.
    • 10 May: In 1869, America's first transcontinental railroad was completed; both sides of the railroad were joined in northern Utah.
    • 14 May: In 1948, the state of Israel was proclaimed.
    • 16 May: In 1770, Marie Antoinette married Louis XVI of France.
    • 20 May: American actor James Stewart was born in 1908.
    • 23 May: In 1967 Egypt blocked Israel's port of Eilat and closed the Straits of Tiran, a move that would contribute to the outbreak of the Six Day War.
    • 30 May: In 1431 on this day Joan of Arc was burned at the stake as a heretic.

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  • How to Include More Than One Spouse for an Individual

    Do you have people in your family who have been married more than once? If so, you will want to make sure that you record all of their marriages, especially if they have children from each marriage. You will want to do this to make sure the children are recorded under the correct marriage. To add an additional spouse you will first want to go to Genealogy BrowserT. Here is how to get there:

    Go to and login with your username and password. Next, select the Family Dashboard tab. On the Family Dashboard page you will see a picture of a family. Adjacent to them are 2 gray boxes, the second one says Advanced Tree Editor. Click on Advanced Tree Editor. This will launch Genealogy Browser.

    Once Genealogy Browser has launched, make sure the person you want to add an additional spouse for is in the individual box. You will see the first spouse in the spouse box. Click the down arrow next to the spouse and click on "select here to add a spouse."

    You will then be able to add the spouse and the marriage information. When the correct parents are in the selected individual and spouse boxes, you may then add their children.

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