It is not unusual for people who research their family trees to secretly wish to find a connection to someone famous—Lincoln, Washington, a member of the British monarchy, or a celebrity. So for the celebrity meet-and-greeter of the family, I will report my findings based upon the categories they represent. More will come as I continue my search.
Cousin Louis Brennan: Inventor of the first guided torpedo, which was used by the British military to defend their ports. He also worked on the helicopter and monorail. (He is the man who got me the meet and greet with the Irish Prime Minister.)
Cousin Gherman Titov: Russian cosmonaut, who was the second man to orbit the earth, the first to spend an entire day in space, and the first to experience motion sickness while in space. (space barf!) Grandpa’s grandmother was a Titov, but because the Russian archives are not very friendly to genealogists, I have been unable to confirm this story.
Uncle Jack Blue: Dance and acting instructor to Broadway and Hollywood stars. He also was a pall bearer for President McKinley’s funeral, chosen for some reason after serving in the Spanish-American War.
Cousin Leonard Blue: Chauffeur for Harry Warner, co-founder of Warner Brother’s Studio.
Cousin Henry (Dusty) Briarton: On a mission over Germany during World War II, Dusty jumped onto a live bomb when the door of the plane would not open. He saved the plane from exploding, but he somehow remained onboard.
Great-Great Grandpa James W. Downey: Irish immigrant who came to America during the early 1860’s and settled in Indiana, where he joined the Union Army in Company F. of the 58th Infantry. Why he came to Indiana, and how he ended up in Morristown, NJ by 1870 is a mystery.
Cousin Michael George Brennan (brother of Louis): Artist whose art may be viewed at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.
Now judge for yourselves regarding our more renowned family members. No kings, presidents, or Academy-Award winners yet. The rest of us are just attorneys, accountants, teachers, photographers, marketing managers, engineers, nurses, salespeople, policemen, firefighters, auto-body repairmen, office workers, business owners, and moms and dads.
I think we should be proud of our hard-working family, no matter what they do.