Connection Combat: Family History Face-Off - Lisa Kudrow vs. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

+20 votes

Since this is Family History Month, we wanted to have a family history featured face-off so this month the combat is between Lisa Kudrow, one of the executive producers of the popular TV series Who Do You Think You Are and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., historian, scholar and host of another popular show Finding Your Roots

Ready, set, CONNECT!

Lisa Kudrow


Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The rules and guidelines are here, and post in this thread once you've made a connection so we can declare a winner! 

Remember, the goal is to connect one of these individuals to the previous month's winner -  Nikola Tesla.

If you need to be added to one of the Trusted Lists, let me know and I will add you.

The winning profile will be featured as one of our Special Connections (like AJ Jacobs and Kevin Bacon) so members can have a chance to see how they are connected.

WikiTree profile: Kudrow-1
asked in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Love it, love it, love it! Mags
Hmm... Nearly three weeks out and still no connection. Is this a record?

7 Answers

+7 votes
great challenge!
answered by Leigh Murrin G2G6 Mach 5 (55.2k points)
+6 votes

If anyone wants to get started on Dr. Gates, the profiles for both of his parents are open.

answered by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (220k points)
I'm starting from his mother (Coleman-5740)
Picked up Henry Gates' biography, so I'll look through and see if anything interesting pops out that might help.
+4 votes

Doug Lockwood's been working on Lisa Kudrow, and there are open profiles for all of her grandparents and some of her great grandparents. There's also an open branch coming off her aunt's father-in-law who was born in California if someone wants to try that route.

answered by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (220k points)
There is a relative that popped up in the Farberman line who has a unique name that popped up twice on WikiTree... the first profile is RED privacy, even though she passed in 1940, and the PM hasn't been around since 2012. Any chance we can open that up to at least YELLOW (or full open)?

The new profile I just created: Kapilowitz-2

The prior profile that is locked: Kapilowitz-1

I'm hoping there's a source there that shows why there's a 1940's death.

Lots of interesting paths to explore related to the Farberman line. So far no fruit, but there's still some additional lines to explore.
Keep up the good work!
Still up to my eyeballs in Russian-Jewish relations connected to the Farberman line and still no connection has emerged. At this point I'm beginning to feel like I'm remapping the entire Russian-Jewish community from the island of Manhattan for the early 1900's, but I'm sure just at the point where I decide to surrender and go a different direction - an unexpected connection will turn up. I haven't given up hope yet...
OK - almost need to take a break for a bit - just counted 68 new profiles added primarily to the Farberman line and no connections yet. Disappointing, but not unheard of. I guess the good thing is when a connection is found, all those plus the other profiles in the system in Lisa's tree will be connected. It takes time to look up the proper sources and ensure that everything lines up as it should, but hopefully it will be worth it to someone interested in her line.
+5 votes

I've been working on branching out from the foundation Lucy has set down for Dr. Gates, and hit upon a man named Fountain Garrett who had 21 children. There are profiles for all of them at that link, so there are a lot of opportunities to keep branching out through the state of Virginia there.

answered by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (220k points)
Lisa Kudrow was featured on "Who Do You Think You Are" in 2010. A fascinating episode - they traveled to Belarus where her Jewish great-grandmother was killed by the Nazis.
+4 votes
OK - I think I've exhausted all my resources with the Farberman line - about 100 profiles in that line now and not a single connection. Going to move from their line to another, but I'd love to have someone double-check to see if there are additional connections that can be made. I don't have a paid Ancestry subscription and sometimes there are additional avenues to be explored through their resources. Most of the significant connections in their line run through Leo's brother Velvel, so there might be some more along his other brothers and sisters that I didn't see. Good luck.
answered by Scott Fulkerson G2G6 Pilot (351k points)
Some progress - working on the Stern line now. There might be some hope of a connection through her Great-Uncle Joseph Stern, who married a Moseson, whose sister Minnie married a Baltimore, whose father married a Shulansky, whose brother married a Marks. And more brothers and sisters along the same line that need to be added and cross-referenced. Many possibilities here, so anyone who wants to help please feel free.
If anyone wants to pursue connections for Lisa Kudrow, you can start here:

Simon Shulansky - aka Shuklansky -

His children's spouses need to be added, his grandchildren need to be added, and if possible great-grandchildren too. There's a decent shot of a connection in here somewhere.
Still working on the Shulansky line - haven't run out of options yet, but she has lots of relatives who span the country. Lisa's family primarily entered the US in and around the Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio areas and spread from there. Most stayed, but some branched off and married people from England and Canada, others moved to Los Angeles and other parts, there was a family member who married in from Florida, etc. From what I can tell, the vast majority of her heritage remained within the Jewish lineages, but it's possible that one or two individuals may have stepped outside that. I'm getting a bit less confident that a connection can be made with our current tree, but I'm hopeful that by laying the foundation here, someone will be able to establish a connection in the future.
More connections, now to Missouri and one that I need to add from the Philippines. But no connection to the global tree just yet...
Scott, if you can point me toward the Canadians, I'd like to have a look into those branches.
The Canadians I can recall...

Same family - I think that was the primary Canadian line - they moved to Los Angeles area from Manitoba. I'll see if I can't find others. The father came to the area from England - there was actually a nice website write up about him. I think I put the link out there too.
Thanks, Scott. It looks like there's lots of opportunities to add a few generations of Jewish families in Winnipeg, but whether or not they connect to the big tree is another thing entirely...At least it's a gain for the Manitoba project!

Scott, I've added an answer below to bump up the thread, but I thought I'd give you a ping that I've found a person who has connections to LDS old timer families in Utah. Arva Davis Gray married a Manitoban, and it looks like we have a shot at getting a connection for Lisa Kudrow by branching out from Arva. 


I knew there was a connection hiding in there SOMEWHERE!

Thanks, Erin!!
+3 votes

Scott Fulkerson and I have been working on some Manitoban families connected to Lisa Kudrow, and I came across an interesting person to branch out from and hopefully make a connection to the big tree.

Arva Davis Gray (born in Utah) married Bernard Gray (born in Manitoba), in Seattle in the 1950s. Her obituary opens with the following: "Arva Davis Gray was born on July 20, 1926 in Midway, Utah to Charles and Lacy Van Wagenen Davis, both descendants of Utah pioneer families who traveled west with Brigham Young." I've added profiles and sources for her parents, so if anyone wants to work on the Davis and Van Wagenen families, please jump in! 

answered by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (220k points)
I think we now have a CONNECTION!

I traced back up the Van Wagenen family, which turned into Van Wagoner, and an existing profile of John Halmagh Van Wagoner which was already connected (Van_Wagoner-75).

We'll see tonight how far away Lisa is from AJ and the others in the tree after tonight's update. I have a feeling this will be a very long-distance connection, but it should be a solid connection regardless.
Nicely done, Scott! I'm looking forward to seeing the connection later tonight.
AWESOME work on this!!!
Whew - 54 steps to AJ, but it's working. Good deal!
Very cool!!
Congratulations, Scott!
+3 votes
Henry Louis Gates' connection is still up for grabs if anyone wants to tackle it!
answered by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
I've found some additional family that I'm in process of adding, but no connections as of yet. I've not done much work on black families that extend into the civil war period, but I suspect there are difficulties in available records at some point around that period in time. I keep running into brick walls between 1870 and prior.

I'll continue to add what I've found and poke around for a fresh lead, but I fear this journey will be as difficult if not harder than Lisa Kudrow's was.

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