Many of us have a family story about being related to a famous person, but how many turn out to be true?
One of my family stories is that we are related Bing Crosby, but no one knew how. My great Aunt Evie showed me an old letter from Bing Crosby’s Personal Secretary, but it read like a fan mail form letter response and didn’t confirm the family connection. When she showed it to me, she handled it with great care and kept it in the original envelope on a shelf in her living room. It was very special to her. Bing Crosby was a successful Actor and Singer in the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood,’ which explains Evie’s respect for him. He appeared in 79 movies and made 38 number one hit records (more than the Beatles and Elvis). I enjoy watching the 1942 movie ‘Holiday Inn’ with Bing singing ‘White Christmas’.
My dad’s middle name is Crosby, my great-great-grandmother was a Crosby, so it is true we come from a Crosby line, but how does Bing fit in? Crosby isn’t an unusual name, so how hard will this be?
My dad’s family originally settled in New England, so much of my family lineage is preserved in history collections. I am so thankful the early settlers kept records, and that so much of it is now available online. That has made it easier for me to tie into other family trees.
My first question was, is his name really Crosby? If not, it would certainly end right there! Some famous people have changed their names, and many already have a family tree online. The Find A Grave search screen even has a Famous ‘check box,’ which is where I started.
This may not be the typical famous person connection story. As it turns out, he was relatively easy to trace, his lineage is all available online, so I just needed to tie into it. I found Bing’s son’s application in ‘U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970,’ I found multiple Ancestry trees, and FamousKin.com.
I already had the Crosby family, thanks to detailed documentation from ‘New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635,’ ‘Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775,’ ‘North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000,’ and ‘Simon Crosby the emigrant : his English ancestry, and some of his American descendants,’ to name just a few. (Check out the Ancestry.com Card Catalog, thank you Tammy!)
Bing Crosby is my 8th cousin 3x removed. Our common ancestor is Simon CROSBY The Emigrant, 1609-1639, my 10th great-grandfather.
I recently made this connection, so it was long after great Aunt Evie passed. I don’t know what her family did with her precious letter, but I imagine it in a special family album that will be passed down.
So it is true, we are related to Bing Crosby, but probably not close enough to start planning the family reunion!
Please let us know in the comments below what famous (or infamous) people you have in your family and how you found them. We welcome any stories you care to share!