Many of us have a rich family history with ancestors from around the world. There are many examples of family history researchers suddenly discovering family links to countries they previously didn’t know had played any role in their family journey. Learning where your family originated or even once lived is one of the most gratifying aspects of building your family tree.
Knowing those locations and discovering more about each individual ancestor (not just the direct lineage – look at great grand uncles, etc) you just might discover one that was into sports. They may have even been good enough to be in the Summer or Winter Olympics. How neat would that have been to find??
Numerous hometowns are also checking out the family lineage of the well-known Olympic players such a swimmer Michael Phelps. It was discovered his third great-grandfather on his mother’s side, was George Foote, who was born and raised in Chew Manga, Somerset County in England. He was a coal miner and eventually immigrated to American, settling in Maryland for a new life. Also born in England was Sarah Ann Foote, daughter of George Foote, who was born in Staffordshire County in the mid 1800s. Sarah would be Phelps’ 2nd great grandmother. Just image you already had a George Foote from Somerset County, England in your family lineage. Now you could link to Michael Phelps, the present-day Olympian.
Don’t think just males on your family tree for past Olympic Games. In the 1908 Olympics in London, a total 1,971 men and 37 women competed. British woman Madge Syers won the Gold medal in the first figure skating competition to be held at Olympic level.
To get started, here is the link from Sports Reference for the complete list of Olympic athletes over the years. There is a search box in the upper right side or use the ‘Olympic Athlete Directory’ searching by the surname. Find one of interest click on the name for more details, birth, home country, sport, etc. Checking just my maiden name I located three Olympic athletes with that surname.
So with the games in progress in Brazil, start checking if there were any Olympic Ancestors using Sports Reference.
Photos: 1908 the gold medal winning British tug of war team from the City of London Police; Olympic Tandem Cycling – Paris 1924; and Babe Didrikson Javelin Event, Track and Field, Los Angeles Olympics Games in 1932.
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