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Things might happen fast on television, but behind the scenes, it took months to research Cindy’s tree. Only the records that were essential stepping stones could be included in her story, and a few important steps we took along the way didn’t make the final cut.
Like the first step, which is always to find out what the family knows already.
We gathered information from Cindy’s family that got us back to Cindy’s great-grandfather in her Hemingway line: Frank Randall Hemingway. Frank was born in 1896 in Minnesota, and we found him in all applicable census records, including 1910 and 1900. (We found lots of other records for Frank as well, including his birth record, WWI draft registration, death certificate, gravestone and even a photo of him and his wife.)
After fleshing out Frank’s story, we started looking for his father, Louis Hemingway, and quickly found him in the 1880 census. This record revealed that Louis’ parents, Frank and Delia Hemingway were not from Minnesota. Frank was born in New Hampshire and Delia in New York. Working back one generation at a time, we found Cindy’s ancestors in every Federal Census taken in the United States since 1790. We ultimately learned that Cindy’s immigrant ancestor was Ralph Hemingway, who was a resident of Massachusetts as early as 1636.
Tracing these deep American roots put us on the trail that would lead us back to Cindy’s famous grandfather, Charlemagne*.
“What is really cool for kids is when you can bring history alive—when it is relevant to them.”
Follow your ancestors back through census records at Ancestry.com to discover how long your family has been in America.
Learn more about Cindy’s journey or watch the full episode on TLC.com. And then watch more celebrities discover their family history on all new episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? Tuesdays 9|8c on TLC.
Who Do You Think You Are? Episodes from Season 4:
- Kelly Clarkson
- Christina Applegate
- Chelsea Handler
- Zooey Deschanel
- Chris O’Donnell
- Trisha Yearwood (pending)
- Jim Parsons (pending)