Like most Americans (and some internationals) I am sitting here with my favorite lady watching the Super Bowl. How many of you with distinct surnames see that name on a sports figure or TV personality and wonder if you are related to them somehow? It is more difficult with the surname Thomas, but my mother was an Akers, we also have Mannings, Mixons, and some others.
No, I have not tried to determine if I am related to Peyton Manning, but I would not be surprised if he does not also descend from Simon Manning of the 1696 Manning Manse in North Billerica, Massachusettes. [i]
I have done a lot of research for clients whose ancestors lived in and near Spartanburg, NC and I have seen many Waltrips, making me wonder if they are related to the famous Waltrips of NASCAR fame. Owensboro, KY is over 400 miles from Spartanburg but they are still in the southeastern US. I have not done the research but you get the point.
I did find out I had some distant cousins 2x removed, one played for the Boston Braves and his daughter was in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), and if you watch the movie, A League of their own, she is one of the old ladies at the very end. My girlfriend’s surname is Maher and I believe there was a Maher in a pro football game we watched.
After I retired from the Army but worked as a defense contractor for the US Army Reserve Command, I worked with a Major Sorbo When his boss transferred out of state, he gave him an autographed picture of Kevin Sorbo. I was like, really? He told me, well, his boss like Kevin, and since Kevin is his brother, why not?
We never know. But as I always say, do not trust someone else’s research and tree without doing your own verification. I get a kick out of people who tap into someone else’s research and start declaring they descend from King So-and-So of some European country. Speaking of which, one of the stories my girlfriend’s family has passed down is that their Laurenborg family immigrant ancestors were the 2nd and 3rd sons of a royal family which meant they inherited nothing and therefore immigrated to the US around the time of the Civil War. She has now found the baptism record of her ancestor Yens, and his brother, Nis. So her next step is to research their father and his line in Germany/Denmark (depending on the year and which country controlled the area). Maybe the story is true and maybe not. Only doing your own research and verifying what you find can prove or disprove it.
I often teach if you cannot prove something, see if you can disprove it. If you disprove it then you actually proved it is not true.