Friday, April 2, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are - April 2, 2010

Tonight's episode was no less exciting and thrilling than any of the others which came before it!

Tonight, actress and model, Brooke Shields was highighted in her quest to find her ancestors.

Brooke lives in New York City with her husband Chris, and their two daughters.

Her mother, Terri, got her into acting when she was only eleven months old!

Brooke stated that 9/11 awakened her to others and "blood being thicker than water".

So, she began her journey by going to New Jersey, her Mother's home state. It was also here that Brooke attended college.

Brooke knew that her grandmother's name was Theresa Dollinger and that Theresa had a sister named Maria. Theresa was born in 1908, and her sister was born in 1915. Genealogists helped Brooke to uncover their birth certificates. Much to her amazement, when they were looking at Maria's birth record, they discovered that there were also two other siblings. And so, genealogist Michelle Gubbenko, once again helped Brooke to find those birth records as well.

John, was born in 1910, and died in infancy. And the next was Edward William, who was born in 1914.

In 1922 Brooke's great-grandmother, Ida from ovarian cancer. This left young Theresa to be not only big sister, but acting mother to her two surviving siblings. Her youth, essentially gone, as she took on the role of an adult.

Sadly, in 1927, at the age of 13, young Edward drowned in an accident. It was summer, and he and some other boys had gone "bathing" to cool off. Edward was swept away. His body later recovered by the police.

Brooke went to the spot where Edward had died. SHe stood there, next to the frigid winter's water, and read the newspaper article that told the story of Edward's accident.

Now she knew why her grandmother had not gotten along with her mother.

Her grandmother, the eldest child, was resentful of Brooke's mother, also the eldest child, because while her grandmother had taken care of her family, Brooke's mother had left Newark as soon as she was able to.

Brooke found empathy for her grandmother now.

And so she headed back to New York to discover her aristocratic dad's ancestry. He died in 2003, so she was unable to ask him about their ancestry.

Brooke arrived at the New York Historical Society and met with genealogist Gary Boyd ROberts. He shows Brooke her Torlonia line back to the 18th century.

He shows her Marino Torlonia, who was born in 1725 and died in 1785. He became the founder of the Banco Torlonia. His son, Giavonni became banker to the Vatican.

And so, they went to Rome.

Here a genealogist shows Brooke the house where Marino had set up shop in the textile business, and it later added a banco [bank]. The bank finally became so large that the textile business was disbursed, and the entire business was banking.

By the end of the 18th century, Giavonni had established the first private bank in Italy. This bank went on to sweep through other countries as well.

Giavonni began to purchase important properties to build up his regard in Italy and to the Vatican. And so they went to his home. The Villa Torlonia. It was a majestic, palace-like structure; filled with antiquities and art.

The genealogist went on to discover a document on Marino, that stated that he had come to Italy from Giralo, France.

And so Brooke took off for Augerolles, France to search for Marino Torlonia.

She met with a historian representative from Ancestry.com who discovered his birth record in Augerolles that stated he was christened Marin Torlonias, son of Antoine Torlonias.

Marin's great-uncle was a priest in the Church, and Marin became his servant. When the great-uncle was place under house arrest, he and Marin escaped eventually to Rome, where Marin changed his name to Marino Torlonia.

Brooke knew that the Torlonias house was approximately 5km south of Augerolles. They headed to the location. Here they discovered a moderate sized stone house.

Brooke stated, "Very simple, humble beginnings...I feel linked to this family even though I never knew they existed!"

From simple peasants, they worked their way yp to Italian aristocracy.

They eventually married into a royal line.

Christine Marie was known as "Madame Royale". She was born 1606 in the Palais de Louvre, Paris, France. Which was known at the time as "Chez Marie". She died in 1663.

And so, Brooke headed to the Louvre to learn more.

Here she met with Charles Mosley, a genealogical expert in royal families.

Christine Marie's father was Henry IV.

Mosley accompanied Brooke to Saint Denis - where the remains of the Kings of France are kept. Those from the oldest periods have only their hearts kept in royal urns in the cavernous tombs. Brooke climbed atop a sarcophagus to reach the urn that contained the heart of Henry IV.

They went on to the Palace of Versailles. Here Louis XIV, grandson of Henry IV built his magnificent palace. He was Brooke's first cousin, "Many generations removed".

"Everywhere I turn I'm connected," she said.

Mosley presented her before the pictoral view of the history of the kings of France. Here she was introduced to the long line of Kings from whom she descends: Henry IV, a Saint, Phillip II, Ferdinand, etc.

"This has been an amazing exploration on both sides of my family!" Brooke stated. "Being able to see your place in the grand scheme of things in empowering!"

Her parting statement was, "I'm just looking forward to imparting all that I have learned... with my daughters."

Isn't that what we all want? To share the grand discovery of our ancestors with those who follow when we have gone!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

What a great job getting it all down on paper so quickly. I just sat and watched it. Wonderful recap. Gee, I'll have to see if you did that for the other shows. Thanks for your efforts.