by Bob Fields

On February 19:


Copernicus (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Svante Arrhenius (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Lee Marvin (Image Credit: Wikipedia)











1473 - Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish mathematician and astronomer (d. 1543).
1859 - Svante Arrhenius, Swedish physicist and chemist, one of the founders of the science of physical chemistry, the first Swedish Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1927).
1924 - Lee Marvin*, American actor (d. 1987) (Cat Ballou).
1951 - André Gide*, French novelist, essayist, and dramatist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1869).
1963 - Seal*, English singer-songwriter (“Kiss from a Rose“, “Crazy“).
1967 - Benicio del Toro, Puerto Rican-American actor, director, and producer (Traffic). 


Billy Mitchell (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Deng Xiaoping (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Harper Lee (Image Credit: WikiTree)











1936 - Billy Mitchell, American Army general and pilot, regarded as the father of the US Air Force (b. 1879) (B-25 Mitchell bomber).
1988 - André Frédéric Cournand*, French-American physician and physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate who developed cardiac catheterization (b. 1895).
1997 - Deng Xiaoping*, Chinese politician, 1st Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China (b. 1904).
2016 - Harper Lee, American Pulitzer Prize winning author (b. 1926) (To Kill a Mockingbird).

Other Events:

Texas Flag (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Thomas Edison (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Iwo Jima (Image Credit: Wikipedia)











1846 – The newly formed Texas state government is officially installed in Austin, following the annexation of the Republic of Texas by the United States.356 – Emperor Constantius II issues a decree closing all pagan temples in the Roman Empire.
1847 – The first group of rescuers reaches the snow-stranded Donner Party in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 45 of 89 members survived, after resorting to cannibalism.
1878 - Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.
1915 – World War I: The first naval attack on the Dardanelles begins when a strong Anglo-French task force bombards Ottoman artillery along the coast of Gallipoli.
1942 – World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order 9066, allowing the military to relocate Japanese Americans from ‘military areas’ to internment camps.
1943 – World War II: Battle of Kasserine Pass in Tunisia begins.
1945 – World War II: Battle of Iwo Jima: About 30,000 US Marines land on the small island. It was secured six bloody weeks later.
2008 - An ailing Fidel Castro resigns the Cuban presidency after nearly a half-century in power.

The individuals marked with “*” don’t have a profile on WikiTree yet. Please help grow our tree.

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by Bob Fields

On February 18:


Mary I (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Lewis Armistead (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Louis Tiffany (Image Credit: WikiTree)











1516 – “Bloody” Mary I of England, who burned religious dissenters at the stake, and restored Roman Catholicism to England. Protestantism was restored under her half-sister Elizabeth I (d. 1558).
1745 - Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist, invented the battery (d. 1827).
1783 - James Biddle, American Commodore, imprisoned for 19 months in the war against the Barbary pirates after the capture of the USS Philadelphia, attempted to open trade with Japan in 1846 (d. 1848).
1817 - Lewis Armistead*, American Confederate general, died at Gettysburg after leading Pickett’s Charge to the high-water mark of the Confederacy (d. 1863).
1848 - Louis Comfort Tiffany, American stained glass artist (d. 1933).
1862 - Charles M. Schwab*, American businessman (not the stock market brokerage), co-founded Bethlehem Steel (d. 1939).
1892 - Wendell Willkie*, American 1940 Republican Presidential candidate (d. 1944).
1895 - George Gipp*, American college football player at Notre Dame, played by Ronald Reagan in Knute Rockne, All American (d. 1920) (“Win one for the Gipper”).
1898 - Enzo Ferrari*, Italian race car driver and businessman, founded Ferrari (d. 1988).
1919 - Jack Palance, American actor and singer (d. 2006) (City Slickers).
1925 - George Kennedy, American actor (d. 2016) (Cool Hand LukeAirportNaked Gun).
1931 - Toni Morrison*, American novelist and editor, Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize laureate (Beloved).
1954 – John Travolta*, American actor and producer (Saturday Night FeverGreasePulp Fiction).


Martin Luther (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Michelangelo (Image Credit: WikiTree)

J Robert Oppenheimer (Image Credit: WikiTree)










1294 - Kublai Khan*, Mongol emperor, the first non-native emperor to conquer all of China (b. 1215).
1478 - George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, is executed at the Tower of London (b. 1449).
1546 - Martin Luther, German priest and theologian, leader of the Protestant Reformation (b. 1483).
1564 - Michelangelo Buonarrotti Simoni, Italian sculptor and painter (b. 1475).
1878 - John Tunstall is murdered by outlaw Jesse Evans*, sparking the Lincoln County War in New Mexico, made famous by Billy the Kid, cattle baron John Chisum, and sheriff Pat Garrett (b. 1853).
1906 - John Batterson Stetson, American hat manufacturer, founded the John B. Stetson Company (b. 1830).
1915 - Frank James, Western outlaw, brother of Jesse James, part of the James-Younger Gang (b. 1843).
1933 – “Gentleman” James J. Corbett*, American boxer, World Heavyweight Champion (b. 1866).
1967 - J. Robert Oppenheimer, American physicist and academic, wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and leader of the Manhattan Project (b. 1904).
1973 - Frank Costello*, Italian-American gangster, head of the Luciano crime family in New York City (b. 1891).
2001 – Auto racing champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. dies in an accident during the Daytona 500 (b. 1951).

Other Events:

Jefferson Davis (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Victor Emmanuel II (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Nanking Massacre (Image Credit: Wikipedia)











1861 - Jefferson Davis is sworn in as the President of the Confederate States of America, in Montgomery, Alabama.
1861 - Italian unificationVictor Emmanuel II assumes the title of King of Italy.
1885 - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is published.
1929 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the winners of the first Academy Awards.
1930 – While studying photographs taken in January, Clyde Tombaugh* discovers Pluto.
1938 - Second Sino-Japanese WarNanking Massacre: the International safety zone in place for refugees falls apart, after 300,000 had already been killed.
1943 – World War II: The Nazis arrest the members of the White Rose resistance movement in Munich. Joseph Goebbels delivers his Sportpalast speech [“Total War”].
1954 – The first Church of Scientology is established in Los Angeles.
1970 – Five of the Chicago Seven are found guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The convictions are later overturned.
1972 – The California Supreme Court invalidates the state’s death penalty.

The individuals marked with “*” don’t have a profile on WikiTree yet. Please help grow our tree.

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Hi WikiTreers!

Here are a few things happening around the community this week:

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by Eowyn Langholf

The Corbet-40 9 (L to R): Michael Stills, Peter Roberts, Chris Whitten, Abby Glann, Kitty Smith, Julie Ricketts, Eowyn Langholf, Karen Tobo, Mags Gaulden

It all started a couple days before the RootsTech Conference officially kicked off.  Julie Ricketts, Michael Stills and I all arrived the Tuesday before the conference began and hit it off as old friends, even though we hadn’t seen each other in a year, since the previous RootsTech took place.  While we talked about many things, the conversation inevitably circled back to WikiTree, as it usually does when you get more than a couple WikiTreers together.

Michael mentioned to Julie and I that he thought it would be cool if, using the Relationship Finder on WikiTree, we could figure out a common ancestor for every person that would be a part of the RootsTech team this year.  Of course Julie and I agreed it would be awesome and sure enough, the next day, Michael sat down to see if he could find the patriarch of our RootTech family.

Here’s Michael explaining how he found our common ancestor:

During one of our many discussions about WikiTree at RootsTech, it dawned on me that we might be able to find a common ancestor for everyone working the WikiTree booth.  WikiTree’s relationship tool has made it easy to check for cousin connections with others on WikiTree.  In fact, many of us have started documenting the relationships we have with our collaborators on our WikiTree profile page.  But I remembered that the Relationship Finder allows you to add three more profiles to the calculation.  This ability is a result of Peter Roberts’ work on comparing DNA relationships.  

Since there were nine of us, it seemed like this was going to be a daunting task, however the complete opposite was true.  I first ran the relationship tool against Julie Ricketts, and then added 3 more team members by inserting their WikiTree ID in the Advanced Filter box for a total of five members. I ran two iterations of the Relationship tool, each with five of the team members, since there are nine of us, that meant I would have an over lap of one person if I ran five each time. 

After the first iteration, I looked at the top 10 results and tried to remember them as I ran the second iteration, then I looked for a common ancestor.  First up was John Savage II, which we initially thought was correct, but after double checking comparisons, we realized that Peter Roberts, ironically, was only a cousin line and not a direct descendant. 

Then I checked a Strange surname line and again some of us were only cousins.  So rather than trying to remember, I wrote down the five top common ancestors in a grid comparing Team member to common ancestors. Next I ran a different combination of the first iteration and I once again compared the results to a new combination of the second iteration, making sure I included all team members after running the two iterations.

It was then that I discovered we all descended from Sir Robert Corbet.

From that moment on we decided that RootsTech 2017 would hereafter be referred to as the Corbet-40 Family Reunion.

At our team dinner, Thursday night, Michael clinked his glass, as one would when one has an important announcement to make, and proceeded to fill in the other members of our team on what we’d discovered.

His speech:

Esteemed colleagues, honored guests, dear friends and family. Listen close, for the story I am about to tell you is of special interest to you all.

Imagine if you will, a Patriarch of two children, one boy and one girl. As life is want to do, these children gave forth more children. And is the habit of life this continuted for 800 years until nine descendants found each other in common cause to unite all of humanity in a single family tree.

Improbable you say, but I say it is true, for all you present tonight are direct descendants of this Patriarch, Sir Robert Corbet the Sherrif of Shropshire, born about 1234 in England.

Welcome to the Corbet-40 Family Reunion.

Now, while the facts of WikiTree may be disproven, the Truth of WikiTree remains, that we nine are family is true.

So a toast my cousins.

Corbet-40 Coat of Arms

Of course we couldn’t have a family reunion without a coat of arms and a motto.  The obvious choice for motto? “Onward and Upward.”

Julie and I had way too much fun creating a coat of arms.

The values of the coat of arms are Collaboration, Free, Respect and Accuracy.

T-shirts for everyone next year? :)

To see if you are related to our common ancestor, you can try Corbet-40 in the Relationship Finder.  Sir Robert is also featured in our Connection Finder this week so if you don’t have a direct relationship to him you can check to see how you are connected to him!


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