American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society Present Lifetime Achievement Award to Dan Rather

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Related to Mitt Romney, John Kerry, and Patrick Swayze

May 3, 2019—Boston, Massachusetts—At its annual Family History Benefit Dinner
recently, American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society
(NEHGS) honored broadcast journalist Dan Rather, an individual it lauded as “a living
legend—one of the most extraordinary communicators of our time.”

D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO of NEHGS, presented Rather with the
organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in broadcast journalism, citing Rather’s
career role as “an integral part of our national conversation.” And, following the
tradition of NEHGS at its annual benefit gala, Simons presented Rather with a detailed
genealogy, expertly researched by NEHGS staff, revealing the legendary television
anchor’s ancestry rooted in early America—and a notable kinship with U.S. presidents
and political figures.

Rather’s genealogy uncovered relationships to U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt
and Ulysses S. Grant, former Massachusetts Governor and current U.S. Senator Mitt
Romney, and former U.S. Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry. On a lighter note, the
study of Rather’s family history also showed a kinship with the late American actor,
dancer, and singer Patrick Swayze. Upon hearing of these kinships, Rather—who was
unfamiliar with his family history—said “I am nearly speechless.”

A dinner conversation with Rather followed and was conducted by Bill Griffeth,
co-anchor of Nightly Business Report on CNBC.

Also honored by American Ancestors at its annual benefit were Margo Georgiadis,
CEO of Ancestry, and Jonathan Tufts Woods, President General of the Society of the
Cincinnati, for their personal and professional contributions to the field of family

Past recipients of the NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Award have included a wide range
of notable figures, among them Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (2009), Harvard
Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2010), documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (2011),
former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and Kitty Dukakis (2012), author and
presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (2014), actor of stage and screen Dame
Angela Lansbury (2014), author HRH Princess Michael of Kent (2015), author Nathaniel
Philbrick (2015), two of America’s legendary television journalists, Bob Schieffer and
David Hartmann (2016), journalist and historian Cokie Roberts (2016), and historian
and author David McCullough (2018).

The event’s corporate benefactors were Ancestry, Wells Fargo, Cisco Brewers, Sit
Investment Associates, 3EDGE Asset Management, Welch & Forbes LLC, Eastern Bank,
Fiduciary Trust Company, and Wellesley Bank. Benefactors included Albert J. Zdenek,
Jr., Judith Avery, Nancy S. Maulsby, Barbara Jordan and Robert Pemberton, Janis and
Arthur Carty, Stephen H. Case, David Watson Kruger, Kenneth E. Haughton, Mark
Kimball Nichols, and Nancy and John Webster.

# # #
About American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society

New England Historic Genealogical Society is the creator of American Ancestors, and is the
most respected name in family history. With its national headquarters located in Boston’s Back Bay, it is the oldest and largest genealogical society in America. NEHGS was formally
constituted in March of 1845 by an act of the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and now consists of more than 260,000 constituents engaged in family history nationally and around the world. It is home to a world-class research library and archive, an expert staff, offers an award-winning genealogical research website at, and maintains a publishing division producing original genealogical research, scholarship, and instruction each year.

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