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Meryl Streep

(Actress)

Meryl Streep made her film debut in 1977. She has since been nominated for 25 Golden Globes and 15 Academy Awards (including wins for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in Sophie’s Choice and Kramer v. Kramer, respectively) and, in 2004, received the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. A New Jersey native and fifth-generation American, Steep’s ancestry can be traced back ten generations to the small town of Loffenau in Wurttemberg, Germany. It was from Loffenau that her second great-grandfather, Gottfried Streeb, illegally emigrated, possibly in the midst of the 1848 Revolution. Meryl’s 6th great-grandparent, George Streeb, was mayor of the town during the 1700s and there are 15 Streebs – her very distant relatives – still living in Loffenau today. The other branch of the Streep family came from a small town in Switzerland called Giswil. Meryl’s great-grandfather, Balthazar William Huber, emigrated to the US during the tumultuous period of the Franco-Prussian War.

Meryl’s maternal side has deep roots in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Her eighth great-grandfather, Lawrence Wilkinson was one of the first Europeans to settle Rhode Island. Lawrence’s grandson, John Wilkinson Sr., was a Quaker who settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (Wilkinson Road in Bucks County is named for the family). Another line of Meryl’s maternal family, the Crispins, can also be traced to Pennsylvania. The Crispins were distant relatives of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, and records show they were among the first purchasers of land in Pennsylvania.

  • Elaine Rowland

    She is a fine actress with good American and German roots. God Bless her.

  • Marie-Thérèse Chanois

    C’est certainement l’actrice pour laquelle j’ai le plus d’admiration et de respect!!

  • Lance Davis

    So very sorry.. But where is a “cut” of Meryl’s interview. I am a longtime fan.. I am American Indian. , An, curious why she has no interview..

  • Mary Turner

    Just last evening saw Sophies Choice” for the first time. I know Meryl Streep is “the best” but this movie which is mostly her and her actions, movements and expressions, just has me blown away. Today, it keeps invading my thoughts “as if” I have never seen anything so very special as this.
    And it just came on right after a movie I was taping, as was gone for the evening.
    A very wonderful break for me.
    A great story no matter how sad and heart wrenching.
    Her 2 fellows were so very good too.
    Even on an old and small TV the color was spectacular.
    Maybe some of you who have not had time to pay attention to Meryl as much as you would have liked to over the years …………… “should go for it”.
    And isn’t retirement/winter/ and TCM just great? And now other channels to see more modern great movies.
    Those of us who really appreciate all of the above are sure blessed by movies and TV.

  • DL Christy

    Whaaat? Illegal immigrant in the ancestry!!! Throw them all out… oh wait, no…. She’s lily white, not brown… and few care as they used to that maybe they were from a Catholic area of Germany – Catholics were well hated by the American “nativists” and “Know-Nothings” of the day….
    Anyway, people got her all kinds of ways for all sorts of reasons, some of them not so pretty… But it all worked out at the end somehow, as it did beautifully with Ms Streep and others (no matter their skin tone)

  • Judy Barnette

    Can’t wait to see the series! I have enjoyed all the others. I am also a descendant of Lawrence Wilkinson!

  • Marlene Elstad

    If Meryl Streep has a lead in a movie, you know it will be excellent. They must hand write scripts for her. I’m amazed at how believable she is in variety of roles. It’s nice now to see her rather famous heritage.

  • Nikki Bryant

    This is really cool. I’ve been a fan of Meryl’s for quite sometime, and I grew up and still live in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). It’s really awesome to see she has some connection with my homestate. On top of that, she’s an AMAZING actress, a chameleon, and she’s so versatile.

    Interesting ancestry too. So cool.

  • Rosemary Vorel Black

    Meryl is my doppelganger (see FB ) which was even more apparent about 15 years ago. I wonder how many of us have ancestors who came here illegally? Actually I don’t, and know this since I am 1st and 2nd generation American. How terrible it is that we forget our roots and the brave fore-bearers that chose to redirect our lives by leaving all they knew and had behind. Perhaps this series will remind people of that so we can all show more compassion to those who are still arriving here, giving up so much to get here, in order that their descendants will have a better future.

  • Katherine Avila

    I had heard that Meryl Streep was descended from Sephardic Jews who settled in Holland…so I imagine that this was in fact not true?

  • Lyn Bailey

    Wow!! Her great grandfather and my grandfather came from the same village in Germany. You have to understand how small and poor Loffenau was. The way to a good life was to leave. My grandfather joined his 2 brothers in New York. I have been to Loffenau several times, keep in touch with a cousin there. My grandfather was Albert Klenk who came to NYC and was a grocer in the Murray Hill area.

  • Houston Hodges

    We may be kin! I’ve got Wilkinson blood, from New England, just found out she does, too. Will look more carefully!

  • Frank Kabisch

    Meryl is actress. She is so many people. Where Meryl walks the set, there is no supporting. She is always the star. At the Globes and the Oscars she is Meryl. Although, fully recognized for her many roles she is still always Meryl in a deeper and more profound person. I’m sure as we all with her suffer through the nominations, we are all enriched simply through her nomination. With her wins, its always, that’s exactly what we expected.

    Thanks for conning to find her roles and more especially for finding the many roles she is. Congratulations always.

  • Peter Janney Schwab

    I am also a descendant of the Quaker John Wilkinson of Wrightstown, Buck’s County.
    I have alot of information on the English genealogy of that family in County Durham England.
    It includes the Conyers and Lumley families. Sir Thomas Lumley and Elizabeth Plantagenet (natural though illegitimate daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Waite) had several children including Roger Lumley whose daughter Isabel married Richard Conyers. Their son Christopher Conyers was the father of Mary who married William Wilkinson the father of the Royalist Captain Lawrence Wilkinson who was granted permission by Lord Fairfax to emigrate to America (Rhode Island) in 1645/7. Peter.

  • Jeep Gerhard

    All us folks from the northeast are probably kin somehow. Let’s face it: people on those long boat-rides (and that Mayflower lot ALL came over here illegally) didn’t have much to do but make babies. Survivors through the generations continued the trend; by now, after 400 years of inbreeding …
    And it’s no surprise that a genius like Mike Nichols is related to Albert Einstein, right?
    Still, a fascinating series i’ll surely love watching.

  • David Farrell

    No, Glenn Close is a fine actress, Meryl Streep is supreme splendid, spectacular, ruler of pretending

  • Pamela

    Personally I find just regular people as interesting as movie stars and authors and those in the visual and performing arts. I am enjoying the program Faces of America, and appreciate the diversity of those people who are being highlighted. But exploring some of those not famous individuals who be cool too. Everyone has an amazing story in their family tree. I might like to see less talk about race and skin color. What if the new definition for racial categorizing was based upon only one’s blood type?

  • pamela

    Talking about being kin, well if you go back far enough most of us are distantly related anyway. If you go back only 7 great you have as many as 432 grandparents! Go back one more generation and you have 864 “8 great” grandparents. During the American Revolution, New York city had a population of only 25K. How many of those ancestors do we share? More than you might think.

  • pamela

    Remember she has 216 6th great grandparents of which 108 were great grandfathers.

  • Marcia

    It seems so many people have “illustrious” ancestors. I’m afraid mine were all “regular” folk!

  • Karen

    I heard that too! That they couldn’t sign their names, so some administrator signed “Streep,” which means line in Dutch.

  • anne

    For those of us who unfortunately missed the interview of this extra-ordinary, beyond-ordinary actress, where are the video clips?

  • Janet

    I have some of the same stories as Meryl. Croshaw’s bought land from Wm Penn only in NJ in the 1600s. and 3 times great-grandparents came from some part of Prussia in the 1840s (Kienzles whose name was change to Kinsley). We have these stories passed down from generation to generation. My son in elementary school was studying Ellis Island and immigration. He had a teacher (her family came through Ellis Island) who gave them an assignment to ask someone in the family for stories about what it was like for them or their grandparents to immigrate. He couldn’t do the assignment. Some of us only know where we came from not how. And I say that if had been me, I would still be speaking UK English or German as they were all so brave and/or desperate to leave their homeland.

  • cc

    I’m really interested to see her descendency of the Crispins. I descend from Silas Crispin also; as well as the Penns! My last Crispin born was a great great grandmother. This is interesting stuff!! Wish the series was four days in a row.. or better yet, all the series episodes on the same day. Genealogy is always interesting!!!

  • Elizabeth

    Meryl Streep is also my Doppleganger and I was born and raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I wonder what else we have in common….?

  • James Marsh

    The actual ancestry does not follow exact numbering of ancestors due to genealogical collapse.

    In exact sense, you would have 64 ancestors in 6th generation backward (your parents in 1st generation).

    But you could have less than 64 ancestors in 6th generation if there was marriage of cousins in 5th generation, thus 2 of 64 ancestors would be same person.

  • N Mara

    I think you misread the synopsis. It says that her ancestor illegally EMIGRATED. In those days a german needed to get permission from the local authority before they could leave Germany. As far as immigrating to the United States, there were far fewer rules. There were no quotas until 1921. In the 1850’s it would have been very easy for a german to immigrate legally.

  • Merylover

    Streep’s character in “Still of the Night” works at an auction house called “Crispin’s”. Certainly, the writers were hoping audiences would think of Christies–I wonder if anyone–including Streep herself–was aware at the time, that this was a name from Streep’s ancestry.

  • J Crosswhite

    I have been connecting the dots in my family line for quite a while now. I like the stories that you find when you are researching genealogy. One of the great things about tracing your ancestry is that if you go back far enough – 1700’s at least, you begin to believe you’re related to just about everyone! I have created a family genealogical website, my ancestor also came 1st to Philadelphia about 1720 – then moved to Orange Virginia, his children continued to migrate across to Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri and just about every other state. I’m very glad to see this series again – anyone who didn’t see the first series, you should check it out. Where were your ancestors during the Revolutionary War – find out through genealogy. In my opinion, there’s almost nothing more interesting than your own family history. Ancestry.com is also starting a series which begins on March 5th, you can find more information about that by visiting Ancestry.com

    :)

  • Marsha Campbell

    I missed the first showing – or installment – of this interesting-looking series, and I am really looking forward to watching it this week – especially since I am a big, longtime Meryl Streep fan. I am wondering if the program is the same each week or does it feature the ancestry of different celebrities each week? If it’s different each week, hopefully I didn’t miss the episode featuring Meryl Streep’s ancestors.

  • jamasia

    very disappointed there is no video. i love her.

  • Orangehues

    I can’t believe you didn’t have a proof-reader check your summary. First, you misspell Meryl’s last name as “Steep” in the third sentence, throwing doubt on all the rest of the family names and other information. Then, you repeatedly refer to “Steebs”, three times. Are these typos, or, as so often happened, did someone in the family purposely changed the spelling, or was it changed unwittingly by some careless immigration agent? Since there is no explanation about the name changes, I am assuming it is all just typos. No true genealogist would be so careless. You embarrass Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • Dave

    Yes, Streep has been telling that for years. However, Henry Gates found out that her father’s family was not actually Dutch/Jewish, but German and Swiss. They probably made the Dutch thing up because of anti-German sentiment during WWI or WWII.

  • Me!

    This Woman is AMAZING!!! To say she is merely”talented” is a gross understatement. Clearly, she is living the dream her ancestors had envisioned for her, when the left their homes. Maybe we could now consider the genius that has been lost in OUR country, to xenophobia.

  • Judy

    As of the end of the 2nd installment of the program, “Faces Of America”, Meryl’s family line has only briefly been featured at this point. The program skips around from family to family, back and forth, and Meryl’s family is yet to be examined fully. Hang in there and watch the future installments. It is a great series….as she is the GREATEST LIVING ACTRESS EVER!!

  • sarah

    i love Meryl streep and i admire her work so much she is the greatest living actress

  • Anjelica

    Im related to William Penn also not blood, I was related to his wife!! woot woot

  • Karen

    Sephardic Jews are considered to be Black Jews, as far as I know, and weren’t German Jews. They’re from places like Yemem. And I think Merly Streep is German and Swiss, not Jewish. Or is she?

  • Joe The Plumber

    I heard that as well! I would trust Henry Louis Gates Jr. than Meryl Streep though because he is a Harvard professor. Meryl herself probably started the rumors. I’ll ask her tomorrow at Bi-Lo. I see her there when I shop. You would not believe how much junk food she buys! She probably spends hours a day working off all those pounds of beef jerky. Anyways, I will ask her and post again. Do not worry, I am smart.

  • Laurie

    What are you talking about?!?!

  • Chris Matrin

    I am worrying! Who are you?!?! You need to see a doctor, I actually am a psychiatrist myself. If you want, I can help. Anyways, see you tomorrow at Bi-Lo . . . ?

  • Allie Schudder

    Wow are you Meryl Steep? I bet you are because Joe The Plumber said he would see Meryl Streep tomorrow and then you said ‘Anyways, see you tomorrow at Bi-Lo.’ If you are, HI!!!!!

  • Stella

    Orangehues: Regarding the last name “Streeb”– in German, when the letter “b” occurs at the end of a word, it is pronounced as a “p”, hence the change in the spelling to reflect the pronunciation.

  • Anjelica

    So does that mean Im related to her also?

  • R Maloy

    I was very disappointed when viewing the second installment of the show. They spent only about 90 seconds on her Swiss Huber ancestors, while they covered other celebrities’ ancestors in much detail. Meryl and I are third cousins – we have the same GG grandparents, Felix and Franziska Huber.

    The segment seemed to imply that Felix Huber abandoned his family when he came to America. This is not true. He came to America with three of his sons (they did not mention son Joseph) because war was brewing in Europe, and his sons would have had to serve in the army if they stayed. The Franco-Prussian War broke out several months after they landed in America. Felix’s wife, Franziska stayed in Switzerland with two sons and six daughters.

    They got their numbers wrong when Meryl said that 4 sons came to America (it was 3) and six children were left in Switzerland (it was 8) – and Mr. Gates agreed with her. By the way, one of the remaining sons did serve in the Swiss army and came to America in the 1880’s. And my great grandmother came to America in the 1870’s.

    What makes me even more disappointed is that I was one of the researchers for the Huber segment. They had so much more they could have mentioned, beyond their immigration.

    I don’t have high hopes that the Huber family will be discussed any further than what was shown during installment #2. If you have information to the contrary, please share it.

  • john wilkinson warwick bucks co 215 343 1324

    I have much wilkinson ancestery info. I would like to make contact with you and share information with you.
    We may be distant cousins. Hope to talk to you soon.

  • Georgia Marino

    I think Sophie’s choice is the most heart wrenching movie I’ve ever seen and I would NEVER watch it again. It has haunted me since.

  • Drew Crispin

    Been under a rock, evidently – was told of the “Streep/Crispin” relationship tonight at dinner. Will have to pull up the PBS episode, but , judging from the comments so far, it may be of some interest to someone that there is a book: “Falaise Roll” (Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England) written by a M. Jackson Crispin (A.B. Princeton, 1896, Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur) & Leonce Macary (Professor of the College of Falaise O.I.) which does, indeed, have charts tracing the Crispins that bought into the invasion of England by Will. the C. from Europe to England & thence into the Penn & Franklin lines. When I get a proper moment I’ll see how far these charts go into the 20th. century – I’ve never really spent much time since there’s no apparent link to the Belgian Crispins (my father was the Belgian Consul-General off&on for the “mid-US” from the Truman administration through W, but, as the “maitre” or head, of the US branch of the Commanderie of Bordeaux he had several pleasant encounters w/ Julia Child in New Orleans & at her home in Santa Barbara. So there you are . . .

  • George

    Anyone may easily view Meryl’s appearance in the program by clicking on “watch the second episode now” under the schedule banner (above right). When the video begins, click on “chapter 2″.

    I watched this segment on Meryl Streep, last night, and almost immediately my attention was seized when Gates showed her and the TV audience the manifest of the ship in which her ancestors came to America. The ship’s name was the “City of Paris” and the year was 1869. At once I recognized that particular ship as the one in which my ancestors arrived in that same year of 1869. Today, I went to the local library and checked the manifest again on Ancestry.com. This time, I looked for the Huber family. They were indeed on that very same voyage that arrived at the New York docks on Nov. 1st, 1869.

    My gt-grandfather on my mother’s side was John L. Keogh. The manifest had his name as Thomas Keogh, though his family were otherwise recorded nearly perfectly. The family remembered that a William Corbett accompanied the Keoghs and, indeed, his name is recorded next in the manifest. My grandfather, Charles, was then four years old.

    Genealogy can be wonderful fun if you don’t let it possess you. Once in awhile, something quite striking pops up, like this to remind you of how connected we all are.

  • Nancy Wilkinson

    Hi John,
    I am originally from New Jersey. I am wondering if there is any connection. I have up to this point had trouble finding out much information. Most of my Aunts and Uncles are dead ( including my father Robert Wilkinson). Perhaps you can help me find out more.
    Thanks,
    Nancy Wilkinson

  • Nancy Wilkinson

    I am originally from New Jersey. I am wondering if there is any connection. I have up to this point had trouble finding out much information. Most of my Aunts and Uncles are dead ( including my father Robert Wilkinson). Perhaps you can help me find out more.
    Thanks,
    Nancy Wilkinson

  • Roxanne

    I am glad I didn’t miss the episode with Meryl Streep. Looking forward to seeing it tonight!

  • J T

    Loved her latest work…(really all of it)… She truly is a Classic Beauty!

  • Lynne

    In 1492, the Jews – and they were Sephardic Jews – were expelled from Spain. Holland provided a judgment-free welcome for many 100s of them, maybe 1,000s. Just check a map. Rotterdam, Holland is 30 miles from Dusseldorf, Germany. If Ms. Streep thought she was a Sephardic Jew from Germany, she had reason: most of the Jews of the north Rhineland (Dortmund, Essen, Dusseldorf, etc., even Cologne) were originally Sephardic, becoming Ahkenazi via assimilation. It appears Ms. Streep was wrong about her ancestry, but that she would have thought so? There is no inaccuracy there.

  • Me

    What the heck does good american and german roots mean? Is there such a thing as “bad” roots?

  • M A

    Ms. Streep ancestor, Silas Crispin was also related to Captain Thomas Holmes. Both family names are familar to the resident of Northeast Philadelphia. There are streets, schools and whole sections of Northeast Philadelphia named after Ms. Streep’s ancestors

  • JL

    I am also a descendant of the Penns and Crispins through my great great great grandfather, James Benjamin Laughlin, a steel tycoon out of Pittsbugh. I found an article from the New York Times dated 1905 in which tells about Laughlin being arrested by an “orverzealous policeman” as he tried to enter his own home, resulting in him sleeping through the night in the cell. It was estimated he had $4,000,000 in 1904, but only $13 in his pocket at the time, not enough for the $38 bail. It reminded me of what happened to Henry Louis Gates, Jr not so long ago.
    (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9D0CE2D81738EF32A25754C2A9629C946497D6CF)

  • D. Foster

    I was so amused to see the family movies in which Meryl was a total ham, glasses or not. She knew instinctively how to keep the camera on her every gesture. That was the revelation to me in the show.

    There’s this middle class American thing, where you don’t try to claim special status because of your ancestors. It’s a solid attitude, which just shows that living here has been a pretty good deal for a long time, so who needs extra validation. We still look forward to things more than back to the past. Still, the past is awe-inspiring, and in anyone who writes or acts, it is a source of inspiration. ancestry.com has been a great game for me, and for the cousins who have contacted me because they were doing the same thing at the same time. The surprises have been huge, and I’ll never look at Connecticut the same way again, not to speak of the Hamptons (there went the neighborhood!)

  • RR

    Immigration agents have never ‘changed’ peoples names upon arrival to the U.S. This is simply a myth. The U.S. has never had national ID cards, so there could be no way for a US official to ‘give’ someone a new name. People just adjusted the spelling and pronounciation of their names over time and in response to the people and situations around them.

    But, I agree that I would be nice for the story to mention more about this process which is so common in the U.S.

  • Karen Culley-Cruise

    Until my father took his stepfather’s name we were also Wilkinsons, supposedly descended from Lawrance Wilkinson. For serious searchers, there was a book published in 1869, called “Memoirs of the Wilkinson Family In America, Complete Genealogical and Biographical sketches of Lawrance Wilkinson of Providence, R.I., Edward Wilkinson of New Milford, Conn., John Wilkinson of Attleborough, Mass., Daniel Wilkinson of Columbia Co, N.Y. etc., etc., etc., and their descendants from 1615-1868, by Rev., Israel Wilkinson, A.M.” (Jacksonville, Ill., Davis & Penniman Printers, 1869) It was published for the family, I have no idea how many copies could be out there. I don’t have one. But I would love to be related to Meryl. I adore her. (and the book spells it “Lawrance.”)

  • Joan Young

    Interesting to learn that Meryl Streep and I share the CRISPIN ancestry. I descend from William CRISPIN and Rebecca BRADSHAW also through son Silas CRISPIN. Capt. William Crispin is a 1st cousin once removed to William PENN, founder of Pennsylvania.

  • R Maloy

    George:

    Thank you for sharing your comments of February 22nd. I’m glad the short segment on my Huber GG Grandparents led you to again look at the passenger manifest which includes your ancestors. Although we are not related, we have something in common.

  • LC

    They’re both wonderful actresses! Isn’t all acting – pretending in one form or another? And your profession is???

  • LC

    And before 1890 (Ellis Island), it was left up to each individual state to make up their rules of immigration.

  • Pelham

    Please someone, repeat the words Meryl said near the end of the interview when asked about the importance of knowing about her roots. She said something to the effect of our having all of these people inside of us.

  • Amy Keefer

    I am surprised to learn that Meryl has ancestors from Bucks Co., PA. I also have ancestors from Bucks County and they were distant relatives of William Penn. I’ll have to look up the connection again, and who knows, we just might be related. My 5th great grandfather, William Ashton, settled in Bucks County in the mid 1700s. Also have ancestors with the surnames of Hutchinson, Blackshaw, Kirkbride, and Stanaland. Family history is very interesting to me and I’ve enjoyed learning about these people.

  • Mary

    I first typed this on Yo Yo Ma’s page accidently…so here it is on the Meryl Streep page…

    I grew up with genealogy charts spread all over the dinning room table, so I know a lot about my ancestors. I am just now joining the DAR, because I like that they try to educate people about the history of our early years as a nation, the constitution, and other matters of historical interest. They recognize everyone who was reported to have aided in the Revolutionary War. It was sad to see Meryl Streep mention the DAR with a look of disapproval. The DAR has adjusted and changed with the times, and it might serve her well to investigate it. I encourage her to do so. I am also eligible to join other genealogy groups, and I am looking into that as well. I think these groups all serve a useful purpose in reminding us of our history. I am amazed at their contributions to our society. Also, I love the show, and I am looking forward to the next episode. Ms. Streep, I am a fan of yours. Some of your movies are among my favorite (Sophie’s Choice, Out of Africa, etc.)…Please don’t belittle the hard work the DAR members do for our country. If you investigate their activities, you would be surprised, and probably amazed.

  • Sue Ellen Ash

    My lineage out of Bucks county includes some Wilkinsons too. Keziah Wilkinson dau of John and Mary Wilkinson married Thomas Ross. They had dau Mary Ross who married Thomas Smith. My line comes down from Thomas
    to Ezra Smith to Szra Smith Jr to William B. Smith to Bennie Smith my grandfather. I was thrilled to follow this program and find that Meryl and my family share a common ancestor. My Smith immigrant was in the Welcome Fleet of Ships William Penn sent in 168os and the last cabin of Willliam Smith still stands and is being cared for in Bucks county. Would love to share with Wilkinson desc. and learn more of this family.

  • Vicky Fleisher

    I am also a descendant of Lawrance Wilkinson and am currently working on our family history. I have traced some it back as far as early 1500’s England, though I don’t have much in the way of documents. So thank you for the information that will help. I have some stuff that my Great Uncle left me and a book that that is missing the cover and most of the first pages so maybe that is what it is(Memoris of the Wilkinson Family in America….). What does it look like?

  • Wanda Deitemeyer

    I really admire Meryl Streep as an actress. However, several times during her interview on this show she appeared to be putting DAR down and mocking what they stand for. The DAR supports our troops, does a lot of work in Veteran’s hospitals, support school’s that educate children who have had to be removed from abusive homes, promotes literacy and awards scholarships. I wonder if Ms. Streep really understands what the DAR is all about.

  • Redhorse

    I agree about this series focusing too much on race. I also felt it was unfair for Professor Gates to ask Meryl Streep how she felt about her New England ancestors’ involvement in Native American extermination. Of course she felt sad, who wouldn’t? I’d be willing to bet most people have a few rotten apples on their family tree. Shame on you, Professor Gates. A scholarly presentation would have less negative emotion and more celebration of our collective human ancestry.

  • R Maloy

    Unfortunately, I agree with your note concerning Ms. Streep’s DAR comments during the show. Meryl Streep is a fine actress, but she has the typical idealogy of the Hollywood Left….and it was apparent by some of her comments during the documentary.

  • Tosatel

    That Gates had Meryl Streep nearly apologizing for her English ancestry through her mother is obnoxious. Streep intimated that her family “did not buy into the Brahmin or class system”. I suspect Meryl’s mother didn’t know a thing about it.

    Considering that Miss Streep is the “classiest” (for lack of a better word) actress we have I’d say she embraced the QUALITY that is her Wilkinson heritage. She embodies it.

    The Spanish never conquered the Aztecs and slaughtered Native Americans. Eva Longoria’s ancestors were saints as the King of Spain handed over three thousand acres of land to her 18th century ancestor. I bet the King didn’t consult with the indigenous peoples when he handed that tract over to Longoria’s forbears!

    Yet Gates makes Longoria’s ancestry into a pleasant little ramble down genealogy lane.

    Professor Gates? Have you ever heard of the Conquistadors?

    If he English-bashes (even by implication) one more time I’m calling the producer.

    I strongly recommend that NO ONE watching this buys it as REAL scholarship. It’s not.

  • Tosatel

    I agree wholeheartedly Wanda.

    The show’s doing nothing but promoting old stereotypes of the found English as “the bad ones”. As a generational (in some cases 15 generations-worth) English-American from the Boston area I resent Meryl’s round about apology for being a Wilkinson.

    Come on Gates! Raise the bar. Each nationality has skeletons in its closet but without those like Franklin and William Penn (to name but two) there’d BE NO America to which those subsequent could immigrate.

    I beg the watching audience NOT to take Gates’s work as real genealogical scholarship. It’s not.

    For all Streep’s saying “my parents didn’t buy into the Brahmin or class system” Streep herself is the embodiment of real American quality. Shame on Gates for making her feel like she needed to apologize for her ancestry. And shame on Streep for buying into it.

  • Tosatel

    That’s inaccurate Jeep Gerhard.

    Those “people on those long boat-rides [at least in reference to The Mayflower]” came here legally according to the First Pierce Patent.

    The first patent obtained for the Pilgrim voyage to America was a patent from the Virginia Company of London for a particular plantation to be settled under the jurisdiction of Jamestown. The patent was granted in the name of John Wyncop, a minister in the household of the Countess of Lincoln (compacts and patents had to be granted in a personal name, they were not granted to corporate groups). John Wyncop died; the process necessarily began again.

    The next patent obtained for the Pilgrim voyage to America was a patent for a particular plantation, granted by the Virginia Company of London to John Peirce on February 2, 1620.

    Variable winds and a lousy late fall season veered them off course and they landed much farther north on Cape Cod than the intended Virginia destination.

  • Tosatel

    Well put Redhorse.. that particular segment was singly obnoxious.

    Gates’s presentation is slanted at best and veers toward bias. There is no “scholarship” to his work.

  • nikkibaby7

    John Wilkinson Sr. was my eighth great grandfather. so i guess were related. Cool.

  • Julie

    He probably didn’t mention it because Longoria is also part Native American (29%). Her ancestors lived both sides of that conflict. I agree, though, that it was unfair to put Meryl on the defense. We have no control over what our ancestors did.

  • Tosatel

    Thanks Julie.

    There’s enough guilt with the Spanish, the French, the Dutch, and the English to go around in equal share. Professor Gates appears to take apparent glee (note expression) when one of his subject’s profiled (think Meryl Streep) has a Colonial English ancestor. Eva Longoria has a direct paternal line to her immigrant Spanish Longoria ancestor yet he – somehow – is portrayed in phraseology like “Eva! Your ancestor’s land grant was from THE KING OF SPAIN!”.

    Again; I’m quite certain neither Longoria’s Spanish ancestor (not daring acc. to Gates to occupy his King’s grant of three thousand acres) nor the King of Spain consulted with the indigenous Native American peoples when they gave the immigrant Longoria his huge parcel of land.

    My point is this; When Gates portrayed Longoria’s Spanish ancestor it was all sweetness and light with no suggestion of wrong-doing. Yet when he told Streep of her early Rhode Island Wilkinson ancestry the pieces they chose to air concentrated on those horrid English who usurped land from Metacom prior to King Philip’s War (King Philip was Metacom).

    Again- There wasn’t a nation in all of Europe that didn’t think themselves ENTITLED to simply take what wasn’t theirs. I’m not proud of that sort of thinking but such were the behaviors of those times by ALL Europeans. Indeed we’re (the United States) still trying to control the politics and religions of nations to this day.

    As the old saying goes “should we not learn from the lessons of history we’re bound to repeat them”.

    Julie? Check out the English-bashing going on at Stephen Colbert’s board! It’s an outrage. I’m as proud of my background as the next guy. And if Gates continues to (by implication) single out the English as the sole “bad guys” I think the producers should think long and hard before they present his next segment. Gates is infuriating a great many scholarly genealogists who know Gates’s work is strongly biased.

  • Tosatel

    Elaine Rowland:

    No. Meryl Streep is a fine actress with good Colonial ENGLISH and German roots. Her WIlkinsons were ENGLISH by ancestry.

  • Deepthinker

    Well, there will always be a fence dividing people and opinions, for one, I’ve only known the DAR to be racists like the time they refused to “allow” African American Marion Anderson to perform in the Constitution Hall. I am the second or third African American to sing in the Constitution Hall. Rarely is there any mentioning of what they’re doing for others…but I have to ask if they’re doing good for every American citizen regardless of race and culture?

  • Deepthinker

    I get it now Tosatel, you are righteous, clear in your every thought and perfect in your expectations and no one comes close to that.

    You know everything there is to know and you are repugnant about it. The bar was set high but not by you. Sorry!

  • Binyam

    Thank You Dave
    Now I understand why most people call themselves Jewish but I don’t understand why they carry on in this generation- No objection. Since you mentioned jewish, why american jewish and amercans in general do some kind of research to understand what helps jewish people to overcome their challenge and help the blacks Americans and native Americans with what they inherited economicl and social life and education.
    Binyam.S

  • Tosatel

    Deepthinker writes:

    “I’ve only known the DAR to be racists like the time they refused to “allow” African American Marion Anderson to perform in the Constitution Hall”

    Then you haven’t “known” much.

    You have a massive chip on your shoulder.

    The Mormons didn’t allow African-Americans (note I don’t call myself “European-American”) to be priests in their sect until the 1970s so stop zeroing in on only those you’ve been taught to stereotypically despise. You’ll find, “Deepthinker”, that the human mind is a growing thing. And replacing old prejudices with Gates’s new ones makes him (and you) no better than those you’d patenetly condemn.

    I’m a gay male and I’m fighting for the rights of all gay people here in Boston and Washington DC to have the same rights as every other American. That’s a pretty daunting task in the face of bigoted religionists and those who’d prejudge. So kindly don’t act as though those of your ancestry are the only ones who’ve been discriminated against in history. It’s simply not accurate.

    ALL facets of white America were racist in times gone by. But recall when slavery was in full swing in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries many of African birth and heritage were participating in the enslavement of their own people. No one’s hands are clean in this thing.

    But more importanly, you’ve got to give up the ghost here. Those times are gone and the Daughters (and Sons) of the Revolution do vital philanthropic work. And (probably most important of all) they have no political agenda. Educate yourself rather than buying Gates’s horse manure! As a Son of the American Revolution I have every right to be proud of the country my forbears helped establish. Think of it as our version os the NAACP. And no amount of uneducated diminishment on your part can reduce that very same pride you feel in YOUR ancestry as I do in mine.

  • Tosatel

    Deepthinker writes:

    ” I get it now Tosatel, you are righteous, clear in your every thought and perfect in your expectations and no one comes close to that. ”

    I’d ask you to remain civil. Beyond that you’re correct. I’ve educated myself in fact not in a skewed version of this American past. You may want to follow my example.

    “You know everything there is to know and you are repugnant about it. The bar was set high but not by you. Sorry!”

    I never suggested I set any “bar” or “knew everything”. I told Gates to raise ‘the bar’. But I will inform you that I’m immensely invested avocationally in genealogy and have been doing it for many years. Truth is truth and fiction is fiction. Gates’s take is somewhere between the two. Those professional and educated genealogists with whom I’ve spoken concur that the show’s not been done well.

    The adjective I’d use to describe my stance is “intractable” since I know from whence I speak.

    I’d more logically apply the adjective ‘repugnant’ to the way you’ve been following me around this site in an attempt to undermine my view and my ancestral background. In truth I suspect your ancestors didn’t like it when it was done to them any more than I do when it’s done to mine.

    You’ll note I’ve never once taken issue with those who choose to call themselves “African-American”. I’m fully cognizant of their trevails throughout history. My education was had during the time of the Civil Rights movement so my convicition in the arena of ALL human rights is profound.

    Let’s stop pointing fingers shall we?

  • Tosatel

    Deepthinker writes in reference to the Daughters of the American Revolution:

    “…but I have to ask if they’re doing good for every American citizen regardless of race and culture?”

    I suspect they’re doing propotionally the same ‘good’ for EVERY American citizen (regardless of race and culture) as the NAACP. No. I’m wrong. The DAR and SAR are doing more for ALL Americans than the NAACP.

    Give it some thought.

  • Niki’s Momma

    Gabriel Wilkinson first known appearance 1686
    A baker became a wealthy landowner he was buried
    in historic Christ Church in Phila no one know’s where he
    came from I have read his will going back to 3/3 1732
    he died 2/21 1732

  • dejo90

    I was very excited when i saw a clip on GMA about Ms Streeps ancestry. My husband is descended on his mothers side from the Crispins. In fact her maiden is Crispen. I have traced the family line a distance back into PA but I am missing one, maybe two generations to prove the ancestry link to Silas Crispen. I also own Falais Roll which is mentioned above. It is interesting reading and would love to find my missing link. Has anyone found where Ms Streeps genealogy is posted? perhaps it will help me find a missing link.

  • MARGARET

    IM AM TOO A DESCENDANT OF WILLIAM PENN WHO IS A COMMON ANCESTOR OF MERYL STREEP. IM PROUD TO BE A RELATIVE OF HERS AND OF WILLAM PENN’S HE WAS A FOUNDER OF OUR COUNTRY AND OF PENNSYLVANIA. IM JUST SO PROUD AND I ABSOLUTEY LOVE THIS SERIES!…IM BUYING IT.

  • Coralynn

    “Sophie’s Choice” is so heart wrenching that my dau. (and I) have refused to let her daughter watch it, but you know at some point she will. Yes, it haunts you forever. She won’t be able to say we didn’t warn her.

  • Kathleen

    I, too, was disturbed that Meryl Streep, a great actress, and interesting person, who was so obviously, yet modestly, proud of her ancestral past, felt she had to apolozize for it, and noted the contrast with Gates attitude to Longoria, vs. the path down which he led Ms. Streep. [The Spanish Conquest of the Americas was a well-known horror even as the English arrived to settle on the east coast.] Her obligatory slighting of an organization, DAR, that she seems to have some real (but concealed) interest in is sad. Meryl, you should find out about the organization, which is far more democratic in its membrship than you realize; it does a great many good things, and not all of us are conservatives or Republicans. I live in the mid-western city of Terre Haute, IN, currently, and my chapter has helped the local Holocaust museum recover from several unfortunate recent disasters; we have regularly contributed to the local landmark African-American church’s restoration [reputed to be a stop on the underground railroad], and we have restored and sponsored works of art in the local art museum, and various monuments in the city. We are a chapter fortunate enough to do that…many chapters are small and struggling, and nationally our members are certainly not all, or even mostly, wealthy people. You should be proud to join, and we would be proud to have you….along with our African American and Jewish and other “minority” members….yes, we have members who are not of pure English stock, as well. I would also point out that our members have many reasons for joining, but all are proud of our heritage, the founding of the United States by our ancestors. [Some of our members have been astronauts, and we helped found the Army nurses corps during the Spanish American War.] The common denominator is an interest in genealogy, and a wish to be patriotic citizens, but individuals’ stories have other components. When I joined, having known for several years I was eligible, it was because I had moved to a city where no one knew me as anything but an appendage of my husband, and I wanted to join something where who I was, not who he was, was what mattered . I wanted my own identity to be recognized.. That was in 1975. ..At that time I lived in the great city of Cleveland OH, and I used to joke that I was a member of the smallest minority group in the city, I was a WASP….People’s reaction to that was strange….they all rushed to assure me I couldn’t possibly be such a hated and hateful thing as a WASP [the meaning of which they did not actually know], I was too nice a person, they said, but facts are simply facts…I am a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant….and there is certainly no disgrace in that, nor any of my doing to become it, anymore than I actually had anything to do with being decended from Revolutionary War soldiers and patriots. But I’m still proud of my ancestors who fought, and sometimes died, for this country. The first of my immigrant ancestors arrived in Jamestown VA in 1619 on the ship Buona Nova, as I recall the name of the ship, and was secretary to a military officer. Others arrived later, but it seems no line was not here by the time we became a nation. That nation they fought to establish became a refuge for others to come to and flourish.

  • heyjude

    Glenn Close is my distant cousin, but when I was much younger people told me I looked like Meryl. It does not look as if I am related to her, but I will keep hoping to find a connection.

  • Peter Janney Schwab

    I am happy to share info. I can look you up on Ancestry.com

  • Redhorse

    I watched the next segment on DNA. Several times it was suggested that “we are our DNA”. If this were true, poor Meryl would have strange urges to eradicate Native Americans. Even Malcolm Gladwell has some slave-owning ancestors. Faces of America should best be remembered as a series designed for entertainment only. Check out the U.C.Berkeley study on “kindness genes”: http://www.alternet.org/story/145888/do_kinder_people_have_an_evolutionary_advantage. Good work is going on at this university!

  • Kurious2no

    It was a surprising delight to hear Meryl muse on her 8th great grandmother’s name, Plain Wickenden. Plain and her husband Samuel Wilkinson are my 8th great grandparents too. Hello Cousin! But as the series pointed out, despite how noble, accomplished or infamous our ancestors may be, who we are as a person depends totally on us. I think the bottom line for this series is that it helps us feel connected to our ancestors, but in the end we are all cousins descended from our original ancestors in Africa. We should be kinder to each other no matter where we come from.

  • Tosatel

    Redhorse writes:

    “I watched the next segment on DNA. Several times it was suggested that “we are our DNA”. If this were true, poor Meryl would have strange urges to eradicate Native Americans. Even Malcolm Gladwell has some slave-owning ancestors. Faces of America should best be remembered as a series designed for entertainment only.”

    Agreed. However I wasn’t entertained I made a commitment when I watched it to undo the damage Faces of America will do to an already “Anglo”- bashing public.

    Thanks though for noting this Redhorse.

  • Kurious2no

    To Karen Culley-Cruise:
    Thank you for the reference to the “Memoirs.” I found a link that has almost the entire text transcribed.

    http://freepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bbunce77/index.html

    I hope this is helpful to Wilkinson researchers!

  • Kurious2no

    Hello Cousin! I too descend from Keziah Wilkinson Ross. Mary Ross’ brother John is my 5th g-grandfather. I guess this means we should be nice to strangers on the street. They might be our cousins!

  • Sarah

    I hope you watched the rest of the episodes. She was part of the last three episodes. There are no clips, I do not know why. You can watch the entire episodes on line.

  • aliama

    I believe the difference between Meryl Streep and Eva Longoria was that Meryl’s ancestor had a direct connection/involvement in a specific event from history. If he had just been a random English settler, I doubt it would have been brought up, but I think it was appropriate to ask how she felt about knowing how she felt knowing her ancestor was involved in an event like that.

    Gates throughout has stopped to ask his subject “how do you feel?” as they absorbed a piece of information about an early ancestor or their own DNA. I don’t think it was inappropriate to ask how she felt as she absorbed this particular piece of news. If Longoria’s Spanish ancestor had been directly involved in a historical Native American slaughter, I’m sure he would have asked her feelings about that as well.

  • radom

    sure! when your dye job grows out.

  • George

    R,

    Thanks for your own reply. Your Hubers appear on page 9 of the manifest, my Keoghs on page 8. The Ship’s Master, who apparently wrote this manifest was very close to the worst writer I’ve ever seen. I’m still working on a few unreadable words, like my gt-grandfather’s occupation. Who knows! He also was quite careless. He identified your Hubers as natives of Sweden, rather than Switzerland. Perhaps he couldn’t spell Switzerland.

    I don’t want to leave my email address here for security reasons. But I’ll leave a message for you on the Huber Forum of Ancestry.com — just in case there’s something in this manifest we need help with.

  • jrjan1

    I have been researching my genealogy and I saw this episode. My grandmother was a Crispin, and I have been doing research for about a year now. My ggggrandfather was George Harrison Crispin. His gggrandfather was Silas Crispin. I guess I am also related. It is a small world and people should start seeing the similarities in people, not the differences. It would make for a better world.

  • Larry

    Yes there are bad roots. Sometimes one’s family can be so dysfunctional, due to a myriad of reasons, that the pathology continues for generations and it can take generations to recover. I know this from my own personal experience and that of close friends.

  • NewFan

    After all of these years, she has become one of my most favorite actresses after her performance in Julie & Julia (she should’ve gotten the Oscar), and now after seeing her interviewed here it’s nice to know she seems like such a humble, intelligent, and funny person! She looked like she was a fun kid, too from the home video footage they showed. Refreshing to not see a trace of arrogance, considering her fame as an actress and appearance on this show. Lesser celebreties have cloaked themselves with an aura of such self-importance as if trying to make themselves seem beyond human. Her warmth, sense of humor, and genuine interest in people must contribute in making her such a fine actress. Great show altogether.

  • BarbaraB.

    Interesting. I also have a Plantagenet noted on my family tree.

  • DL Chapman

    I was excited to see Meryl Streep at the Wrightstown Meeting house in Bucks Co. PA. looking at the local burying ground. This Quaker Church was started by my 5th Great Grandfather John Chapman in 1686, and continues to be an active congregation today. One of Meryl’s ancesters was Jane Chapman, and there were several intermarriages between these families. I did my own visit last summer and was humbled . Meryl’s background is like many Americans , none of which can be changed. Gates’s work may not be perfect, but whose is?

  • Harvey Cantor

    Meryl Streep’s ancestor, Silas Crispin was not a distant relative of Penn’s as reported, but a 1st cousin once removed. William Penn’s father, Admiral Penn, and Rebecca Bradshaw’s mother (William Crispin’s Wife), Rachel Penn Bradshaw, were brother and sister, making Rebecca Bradshaw Crispin & William Penn, 1st cousins – and their son, Silas Crispin, a 1st cousin once removed. Silas Crispin’s first wife was Thomas Holme’s daughter, Hester. The history of the area is steep in Crispin and Holme descendents.

    I am Vice-President and historian of the Friends of Pennypack Park The FOPP has nearly 2,000 members (www.balford.com/fopp). We are dedicated to the preserving the beauty of this 1,600 acre park in Northeast Philadelphia. The park is part of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park system. It is unique as it is a large woodland park within a large city. The park is along the Pennypack Creek. It was the site of over twenty some mills, some dating back to the 1690’s. It is abundant with tall yellow poplar trees, and many species of plant and wildlife, including one of the larges population of white tailed deer with in a city.

    The park is made up primarily of the land that was a Thomas Holme’s Wells Spring Estate, and is bordered on the west by Silas Crispin’s 500 acre grant from his cousin William Penn. Part of Crispin’s land is now the Fox Chase Farm, which is partially in the City of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. The farm is the last operating farm within the City of Philadelphia. It is owned by the City under the Park system, but is managed by the School District of Philadelphia. Crispin’s 500 acres of land bordered up to that City Line, with the larger portion in Montgomery County (most of the farm today) was granted 500 acres also to William Stanley.

    Thomas Holme, the planner of Philadelphia, and Silas Crispin and his family are buried in the Holmes-Crispin Cemetery within Pennypack Park, at Holme and Convent Avenue. In July 1995, I was responsible for obtaining a Pennsylvania Historic Marker at the Cemetery from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

  • Alan Catz

    Get a life, people! If you were related to the infamous, would you spend all this time researching your ancestry? You can pick your friends, but you have no choice when it comes to your relatives. I certainly wouldn’t want to emulate a good many of my aunts and uncles! Be the best person you can be (educate oneself, serve your country, volunteer as much as possible to a cause(s) important to you, enjoy a hobby for life, treat others as equals, allow yourself to love and be loved, believe in a power greater than yourself…I’m sure you can add additional positive human attributes), and perhaps you won’t feel that you have to be related to someone famous to find meaning in/with your life. According to Ripley (of “Believe It or Not” fame), Katz is the oldest surname in the Bible, so I’m certainly not going to spend my days trying to equal or surpass some of my descendants!; all that I can try to do is carry on that heritage by being worthy of their name….An important legacy in itself. As to the THIRTEEN editorial staff that will critique this entry, see if you, too, can keep up, if parsing is what you love to do!

  • Redhorse

    I just discovered the DAR website: http://www.dar.org. Watch the video and enjoy the links. A diverse group of women doing wonderful work! :)

  • Redhorse

    Amen.

  • john wilkinson

    Please call me, my phone # is listed in my reply to Peter Janney Schwab. Me and my family live in bucks county and my fishing spot is shown as Meryl Streep walks along the neshaminy creek. Hope to talk to you soon.

  • bruce shelby

    Shes one of the best that ive seen in my days time and im not a young buck.

  • Rivka Larsosdottir

    Being Icelandic, I know my genealogy back hundreds of years. In Iceland, one’s genealogy is very important, and growing up with emphasis on this, I find family histories fascinating, and Meryl Streep, also. She is luminous, utterly believable, and can make the viewer feel what her character feels. ‘Sophie’s Choice’ stays with me even twenty years after I saw it. I have only watched it the one time, it is too hard to see again. This is a great series.

  • Jess Aud

    I loved this I wish sombody would take the time like that to find out my family history!!! I have alot of strange medical traits in my family that i’d like to explain. Does anybody know a good web site to research on thats free??

  • Alan Simon

    Meryl Streep is by far the greatest female actor in the history of cinema. She is an actor’s actor. She segues seamlessly from one screen role to another, and in the process, we come to see and believe in a person totally of her creation. She seems to have an intuitive sense of which roles to play,characters she deems interesting enough upon whom to overlay her unique interpretation of that personality, using her nuanced references, her mastery of the science of psychology, her intuitive kinetic understanding of how the character stands in place or moves in space. It’s almost as if she has tapped into the collective unconscious in finding her “voice”, her flawless accents and dialects which she uses to portray the audible personality of her characters.

    So what if Meryl is not Jewish? It matters not a whit. It only serves to shatter another of our preconceived notions about qualities we tend to attribute to a particular race or ethnic heritage. Hurrah! She is absolutely THE greatest and I could hardly imagine anyone to come who could measure up to her mastery of her art and craft.

  • Alan Simon

    I had seen Meryl in a few films prior to the release of Sophie’s Choice, most notably, The Deer Hunter, and was already a fan. But witnessing her magnetic, finely nuanced performance was a transformative, eye-opening experience for me. I’d never seen an actor disappear so totally and completely into character. I searched and searched for Meryl in Sophie’s character, but I could not find her. She wasn’t there!

    “Sophie’s Choice” opened me to a deeper understanding of the despair that can come out of nowhere to detroy any ordinary human being. I understood how we really have no control over our lives in the scheme of things. This lovely, delicate, kind creature was going about her life, her ordinary life, as most of us do. And suddenly, a rift opened in her world. She fell in and suffered unimaginable grief and pain. Totally unexpected, coming out of nowhere. Personally, I could not envision a greater devastation to any human being.

    Sophie picked up the pieces and tried to start over, to make a new life for herself, and to forget. But some horrors cannot be forgotten. They linger to haunt those who experience them. Such traumatic injuries to our souls, such total devastations can never be healed, never made right. They hover persistently around and about us.

    Having written this, my thoughts are drawn to Meryl’s role as Clarissa Vaughn in “The Hours.” Two relevant scenes come to mind.

    The first is set in Richard’s loft on the day of the party Clarissa is giving in his honor for winning The Carowther’s Poetry Prize. She arrives at Richards loft as she does every morning to check in on him, and reminds him to be ready for the party that evening. As she cleans and attends to the apartment he speaks dispairingly about his monotonous, meaningless daily life living with advanced AIDS. All of a sudden, he turns to Clarissa and asks: “Would you be angry if I died?” Dumbfounded, she searches for words and replies; “What do you mean, what are you asking, what are you trying to say?” and Richard replies: “I think I’m only staying alive to satisfy you.” Still confused, Clarissa states in a determined voice, “Well….so….that is what we do, That is what people do. They stay alive for each other.” Clarissa leaves quickly is a state of fear and confusion.

    The second scene appears at the very end of the film. In a voice over of a letter from Virginia Woolfe to her husband she speaks: “Dear Leonard, To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face, and, to know it for what it is, at last, to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us, always the years, always the love, always the hours….”

    “Sophie’s Choice” can be difficult to watch. But, we must watch these kinds of films in order “to look life in the face”. They ultimately fortify us and bring us face to face with our own humanity and the humanity of others.

  • Gail Lakritz

    My mother was a Dickinson. She was related to John Dickinson who was the only signer of the Deceleration of Independence who never signed it themselves. Stories abound as to the reasons for someone else signing for him, but mother always said he was a Torry. He was representing Delaware at the time, but also had represented Pennsylvania. I wonder if there is a link between Ms. Streep’s family and mine. I would certainly be honored.

  • amalia

    where was it I read more than 25 years ago that Meryl Streep’s last name came from her ancestry from a dutch jewish family? And if not partially jewish, where else could there be a connection between her and MIke Nichols?

  • JoAnne Andrews

    Back in 2000 we had contact about “Jake’s Trip” Is it still available anywhere? Enjoyed it very much.

  • ec

    Yes there is, but I think they mean that her roots are good because her past family made some good contributions to the forming of Pennsylvania thus our country.

  • art galleries in us

    Please call me, my phone # is listed in my reply to Peter Janney Schwab. Me and my family live in bucks county and my fishing spot is shown as Meryl Streep walks along the neshaminy creek. Hope to talk to you soon.

  • Treasure Crispin Collins

    I did not see the broadcast, but have been reading all the comments……George Harrison Crispin is my ancestor also…..I would love to share info……I have been researching this line for over 30 years…..

  • Treasure Crispin Collins

    Silas Crispin is my ancestor. I am 99% sure that I descend from his first marriage……It has been difficult to prove with certainty my line of descent, but after 30 years of research, I feel that my missing link is Peter Crispin who died in 1818 in Centre Co PA. Peter was a son (I think) of Joseph Crispin, who was a son of Thomas Crispin (only surviving son of Silas’s first marriage….)….and thus I also would descend from Holmes……I have not been to your park or the Crispin cemetery……but really would like to visit……How interesting to find out that Meryl Streep is related!!

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    I’m already related to someone infamous…a former IRS Agent who murdered his mother and hid both of his parents’ Jewish heritages. I want truth! And with all due respect, kohen, maybe you can’t handle the truth! Infamous mishpacha is just as important as famous mishpacha–even when, and perhaps especially when, the truth hurts! For example, I’m a little hurt that my great-great-whoever-she-was Levit matriarch married a Khazar.

  • Nicole Czarnecki

    I find that unusual, especially since the opposite usually happens–Jews will often say that they’re gentile to hide Jewishness. My dad’s own family (perhaps excepting the Trudniaks) did this–pretending that they were Czechoslovakian, Polish, Lithuanian, and other kinds of gentile Catholics. As for Dad’s family, they were and are Ashkenazim Anusim–though some of us are openly Jewish (including Messianic Jewish) and even (for example, as a cousin is) Taoist Jewish.

  • Nicole Czarnecki

    Binyam, perhaps we do so because we are Jewish. Who knows that a paternal matriarch of Meryl Streep, or even her mother, wasn’t or isn’t Jewish?

  • Nicole Czarnecki

    “Sephardic” means “Iberian” or other Latino, Turkish (not Khazarate), etc.. Incidentally, one of my patriarchs was a Khazar who married a Levit (Levite woman).

  • Nicole Czarnecki

    The agents didn’t, but the immigrants sure did–and fooled many an agent. My own Chernetski great-great-grandparents testify to this.

  • Nicole Czarnecki

    Given that, I’m glad that (as far as I know) I’m not related to her (except through Adam and Eve, and Noah–and Japheth if you want to count my mom’s side).

  • Nicole Czarnecki

    Carefully-done research and DNA testing can’t lie, though, no matter what spin old, liberal Dr. Gates puts on it.

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