Genealogist, Lorina Bolig talks to EIN
Lorina Bolig is a professional genealogist, child advocate, relative of Elvis' and author of several books.
Her latest book is Ancestors of "Elvis Aaron Presley" 50 Generations The Unofficial Genealogy, the result of more than 13 years research and writing.
In a fascinating interview with EIN, Lorina discusses:
- Elvis' ancestry which includes royal ancestry!;
- presidential relations;
- settles the Elvis is German vs. Elvis is Scottish debate;
- spelling variations of the Presley name over time;
- tells us what she discovered about the claimed relationship link between Elvis and Oprah;
- how to research your own ancestry;
- her upcoming Marilyn Monroe genealogy book; and
- many more interesting issues.
About Ancestors of "Elvis Aaron Presley" 50 Generations The Unofficial Genealogy
Ancestors of "Elvis Aaron Presley" is a unique look at Elvis's heritage. He has many interesting Ancestors. He has many Royal Lines. For anyone who wants to know if they are related too. The author has found she is his 8th cousin once removed. You too, could be related.
The book is published by CreateSpace and contains 482 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1434811363/ISBN-10: 1434811360
Buy the book
LB: I became interested with the help of my best friend. He was researching his own genealogy and it sparked a huge interest in me. I enjoy the research. It is my passion in life. My best friend is what sparked my interest. I began my own family tree and from there it became my life’s work. This was over 13 years ago.
EIN: Lorina, it's great to talk with you today. First of all, who is Lorina Bolig?
LB: I am a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother. A business manager, author, genealogist, family historian, archive researcher, freelance photographer and archive transcriber.
I am a child advocate, and speaker against child abuse. I am also the 8th cousin once removed of Elvis.
EIN: Where do you call home?
LB: I call New Mexico my home. It is a very beautiful place to live.
EIN: When did you first become interested in genealogy and what sparked your interest?
EIN: What training do you undergo to be a genealogist?
LB: Training to become a skilled genealogist requires that you learn to transcribe documents such as census records, deeds, and birth and death records, etc. This is a must, because it teaches you at the same time how to read and understand the documents needed to prove your genealogy. You must read as many books about how to compile a genealogy, to understand the basics needed to get the job done correctly. Attend genealogy seminars. Take classes and of course become certified. There are six types of genealogy certifications:
- Certified Genealogists (CG),
- Certified Genealogical Record Specialist (CGRS),
- Certified American Lineage Specialist (CALS),
- Certified American Indian Lineage Specialist (CAILS),
- Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL),
- Certified Genealogical Instructor (CGI).
When applying for these certifications we are sent a photocopy of a historical document that relates to the time frame and geographical area in which we normally work. We are asked to transcribe the document, write a short statement and research focus and who, why or what may have caused us to investigate and look up this document, we are asked to write a comment about the genealogical significance of the document. Then abstract it and develop a research plan for examining other methods and useful material to pursue the same research focus. We must also be sure to source everything and note the results. I am currently in this process now.
EIN: On the surface genealogy seems like an unusual occupation, yet in recent decades there have been increasing numbers of people interested in their ancestry. How has interest grown since you became involved with the subject?
LB: There is a huge demand for finding one’s ancestry. Since I began, I have watched ancestry.com go from free to paid, and the access to records now, compared to then is unbelievable. The internet has taken genealogy a long way with access to records that are now available online. Technology has taken genealogy a long way. Making it much easier and faster to, correctly compile our family trees. People have become more interested in the past decade compared to when I first became a genealogist. I have also noticed more people seem to want to know if they are related to someone famous or royal. Madonna for example wanted to find out if she had royal blood. Many are finding they do have royal or famous blood some where in their family tree. The interest in genealogy has increased tremendously.
EIN: What sparked your interest in researching Elvis’ family tree?
LB: While working on my own genealogy, I discovered that Elvis and I, had great grandparents, 7 generations back in common. I had been previously working on other biblical, famous, Presidential, and royal genealogies and they all connected throughout time to my genealogy. I have found, Elvis and I are 8th cousins once removed. I continue to this day researching and adding more of our ancestors, as I find them. It is very exciting when you discover that you are related to someone as gifted as Elvis. It was a completely unexpected.
EIN: Lorina, how long did your book on Elvis’ genealogy take to research and produce?
LB: With combing the separate genealogies, as they once were. It took at least 13 years. 10 years of research and 3 years to produce it, with continuing research. Genealogy is a continuing work, it is like a never ending story.
EIN: The 50 generations of Elvis’ family tree stretch back to the 6th century AD. How did you go about such a daunting research process? How do you access such historical information?
Also by Lorina Bolig:
LB: It was not as hard as it seems. You would be surprised at how easy it is to find history. History is always documented. History and Royal genealogies are the easiest records to find. You start with the locations that are rumored to be connected to the person you are looking for.
Then you look through all the available history of that location and many times I have found many lines by doing this. It seems the further you go back the more documentation there is on these genealogies. Especially, royal lines.
I have found they are among the easiest lines to find and are already proven. History and through royal genealogies are how I was able to trace our genealogy back this far. As it is with Johannes Valintine Bressler. History shows us that he was a Palatine German, And so was his son Andreas (Andrew).
EIN: Because of the very long time (more than 1,000 years) that you need to go back to establish 50 generations, how reliable is the information the further back you go?
LB: It is very reliable. As I mentioned before, the Royal lines and the offshoots from them are very easy to find and are already documented and proven. The royals keep very meticulous records because of succession to thrones. Historical figures are the least complicated to find.
EIN: Elvis’ family tree has been somewhat of a grey area. There have been claims and counterclaims around his ancestry. For instance, we’ve heard that Oprah Winfrey and a number of US presidents are related to Elvis. What did your research uncover about these claims?
LB: I have found Elvis’ ancestors to never have owned slaves, and that is what the claim says that Oprah is related to Elvis through an indiscretion with a Presley slave. The records show Thomas Presley did not own slaves. I will attach the transcribed records to my web site so that others can see this for themselves. Many would be surprised if they researched it themselves. According to my research Oprah and Elvis are not related.
US Presidents, Where should I start? Elvis is related to all of them. Here is a list. Keeping in mind, my book of Elvis ancestors does not reflect this information. After all, the book is of his ancestors. The information here is part of the ongoing research of relationships to Elvis and my self. In the future there will be books published with this information in detail.
RELATIONSHIPS TO ELVIS – US PRESIDENTS
1. George Washington – 13 cousins 8 times removed
2. John Adams – 15th cousins 6 times removed
3. Thomas Jefferson – 13 cousins 8 times removed
4. James Madison - – 13 cousins 8 times removed
5. James Lawrence Monroe – 17th cousin 4 times removed
6. John Quincy Adams - 15th cousins 6 times removed
7. Andrew Jackson – 16th cousin 5 times removed
8. Martin Van Buren – 25th cousin 3 times removed
9. William Henry Harrison – 5th cousin 5 times removed
10. John Tyler – 14th cousin 7 times removed
11. James Knox "Little Hickory" Polk – 19th cousin twice removed
12. Zachary Taylor - 14th cousin 7 times removed
13. Millard Fillmore - 17th cousin 4 times removed
14. Franklin Pierce – 22nd cousin 3 times removed
15. James Buchanan – 18th cousin 5 times removed
16. Abraham Lincoln – 15th cousin 5 times removed
17. Andrew Johnson – 17th cousin 6 times removed
18. Ulysses Simpson Grant – 19th cousin once removed
19. Rutherford Birchard Hayes - 26th cousin twice removed
20. James Abram Garfield – 23rd cousin twice removed
21. Chester Alan Arthur – Half 12th cousin 4 times removed
22. Grover Cleveland 22nd and 24th President – 19th cousin 4 times removed
23. Benjamin Harrison – 7th cousin 3 times removed
24. Grover Cleveland – same as 22.
25. William McKinley – 16th cousin 7 times removed
26. Theodore Roosevelt – 18th cousin 3 times removed
27. William Howard Taft – 17th cousin 5 times removed
28. Thomas Woodrow Wilson – 17th cousin 4 times removed
29. Warren Gamaliel Harding – 11th cousin 3 times removed
30. John Calvin Coolidge – 20th cousin once removed
31. Herbert Clark Hoover – 19th cousin twice removed
32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - 19th cousin twice removed
33. Harry S. Truman – 18th cousin 8 times removed
34. Dwight David Eisenhower 18th cousin 4 times removed
35. John Fitzgerald Kennedy – 19th cousin twice removed
36. Lyndon Baines Johnson – 19th cousin once removed
37. Richard Milhous Nixon – 20th cousin once removed
38. Gerald Randolph Ford – 19th cousin 4 times removed
39. James Earl Carter Jr. – 24th cousin twice removed
40. Ronald Wilson Reagan – 17th cousin 4 times removed
41. George Herbert Walker Bush – 17th cousin 3 times removed
42. William Jefferson Blythe Clinton – 25th cousin twice removed
43. George Walker Bush – 18th cousin twice removed
Elvis is also related to Barack Obama – 21st cousin 3 times removed, Willard Mitt Romney – 10th cousin once removed, John Edwards – 21st cousin twice removed, and many others.
EIN: Allan Morrison has written a book called “The Presley Prophecy”, an historical novel about Elvis’ Scottish ancestor, Andrew Presley. What can you tell us about “Scotsman” Andrew Presley and his genealogical tie to Elvis?
LB: I am not sure where Allan got his documentation. I have not seen it. My research has shown the proof of Elvis’ German heritage. There is not any connection to Allan’s Andrew. Elvis may have had Scottish roots but not through Andrew. Andrew was Palatine German; He came to New York with his father in 1709-1710. On my web site I have links to the history of Elvis ancestors. Here is some of the information I have shared on my site. The sources and links to them are listed on my web site.
My web site is http://Elvisancestors.0catch.com
Johannes Valentine Bressler/Bresler/Preslar/Pressler/Pressley/Presley (Spelling Variations) was in fact from Palatine Germany.
Between May and November of 1709 Elvis' ancestors arrived in London. From there they came to New York. Thirty years of war and devastation caused the Palatine’s to gather their belongings and cross the ocean, hoping for a better future.
Johannes Valentine Bressler his wife, 3 sons, and 2 daughters came to New York on a ship. The name of the ship was Fame. The Captain of the ship was Walter Houxton. The ship arrived June 14, 1710 from London to New York.
Johannes Valentine and his family are on the ships New York - German Passenger Lists, 1710, Third List. Hunter number 82. Johann Valentin Bressler, 41, Anna Christiana, 36, Anna Elisabetha, 14, Anna Gertrud, 12, Andreas, 6, Antoni, 4, (son), 1 1/2 Presler, Bresseler; Roman Catholic; 1st arrivals in London.
The passenger list is based on the first part (75 names) of the 1 July 1710 subsistence list along with any who appear to have been part of their households. Johann Adolph Arthopoeus, a passenger listed below, was the listmaster on the ship Fame which arrived 14 June 1710 indicating most of these passengers were probably on that ship. This list was taken during the voyage from London to New York.
There is further evidence of Andrew being a Palatine German. His father Valentine Presler, is listed in "The Book of Names Especially Relating to The Early Palatines and the First Settlers in the Mohawk Valley Compiled and Arranged by Lou D. MacWethy. Published by The Enterprise and News, St. Johnsville, NY., 1933".
EIN: Were there any major discoveries when preparing the book?
LB: Yes there were many, too many to list. Some examples are Elvis is the 48th Great Grandson of Constantine I ('The Great'). Elvis is also the 34th great grandson of Charlemagne.
EIN: What has the feedback been like about the book?
LB: So far, I have had positive feedback. Such as “Mind blowing amount of Information.” Others “they have seen connections to their own families from the book.” I have had great comments about it so far.
EIN: You are also changing the title of the book. Please tell us about that.
LB: The book is not official or unofficial but a continuing, and ongoing work of both Elvis and my genealogy. I am dropping the Unofficial for this reason. The new book is an updated and more detailed book. It has updated sources and information.
The sources will be much more detailed in the New version of Elvis ancestors. There will be some added surprises to the new edition. Some newly discovered and some the same but much more detailed. The release date will be posted on my web site in the near future.
EIN: Lorina, you have written a number of other books on genealogy. Please tell us about them.
LB: My other two books are of Presidential hopefuls in the US for the 2008 election. Willard Mitt Romney, and Barack Hussein Obama Jr. 50 Generations. I have noticed many are interested in the royal roots of future presidents, so I published a few. I have many more Presidential hopeful genealogies to publish as well. They are very detailed books.
EIN: Do you have any other works for release in the near future?
LB: Yes, I do. They are in the production phase. My web site will have links to them as well, when they are released. If anyone interested, please visit my web site for future updates and releases. Lewis and Clark Genealogies will be some the books being released. Marilyn Monroe 50 Generations, will also be out within the year.
EIN: For people wanting to obtain their own genealogy report what is the best way of doing this?
LB: First, get Legacy, or family tree maker software. I have found these to be so far the best for helping anyone compile their family tree.
Second, start with your parents and grand parents. Dates of birth, marriage and death are always helpful. Talk to the oldest nearest family member and ask questions. Ask about the places they know of and dates. Names of the siblings of the person you are asking about. This can help. Someone may not be working on a genealogy for the person you are looking for but they may be working on the one for his siblings. You can trace your ancestors through his siblings. They share the same grand parents as your ancestor.
Use census records. Perish records. Church records, ship records, royal records, history, etc. Google the name of who you are looking for and see what information you find. Be sure to use death dates or birth dates. This will help narrow your search, if you have them.
Search history of the locations that you find to be possibly connected to the person of interest. Dates and history can be a very nice tool. I have found my direct ancestry line through the use of documented history. Captain Benjamin Pettit is my ancestor and I was able to find records and documents on him through the use of documented history. Deeds and land records of the locations. His Great, Great Grand daughter is my third great grand mother. I knew I was related to her but I did not know her ancestors names. I googled her and found him. You can consider civil war records to be documentary history. Documents and transcripts of documents are the proofs needed to find your families.
Always save your sources and if you can the person the record is specific to. You will want to go back at times and review them for other families you will later find connect to your family.
Don’t give up. It can, at times, be frustrating. Try to be patient. Genealogy is not easy. It takes time. It will not unfold over night. But when it starts to unfold you will feel the reward. It is very challenging but very rewarding. Learn to be a detective. Every detail counts. You will be surprised at how much information you can find about a person with the birth date and place of birth, or death place and date. Christening dates. Be sure to check all county records of the states you are searching records for when searching census records. Territories and states were not exactly as they are today or have been in other times in the past. Some states were still Indian Territory, some where unformed and not part of a county or state. Some counties later merged. Some states where later part of another state.
Look at others work. Look at other genealogies, these may be right or wrong but take notes and check them for your self. Making sure you haven’t missed something. Many times you will find that they can be correct locations and can find your ancestors because you researched that location.
Visit surname message boards. Someone out there may have a location or date you are lacking. Many searching the same person you are. In some way all of us are related. Somewhere back in time, we share ancestors. There are many subscription ancestry sites to help on your search as well. Some of them contain records that we may otherwise not have the resources or time to retrieve. Don’t be afraid to use them. They can really allow you access to a very large amount of records. There are Records of all kinds. Census, birth, and death records etc.
Cemeteries of known locations are helpful. If you do not have birth and death dates cemetery records can be helpful if you only have a location and name. Headstone transcriptions are very helpful. Many have volunteered to read headstones and post them freely on the internet. This in turn will give you the dates of birth and death you were once lacking. Whatever you do, work on one set of records at a time.
Keep notes, what you did, and who you researched, and how. My personal experience is that I have become to enjoy genealogy research, it is the most challenging fun I have had. Rewarding and exciting. If you get frustrated, stop until another time. Work on a different person. Go back later to that person. Do not give up. You will eventually find what you are looking for. If you like mystery you will like genealogy.
All the above is the hard way.
The easy way. Hire someone to do it for you. A professional genealogist can be expensive. Not to mention you will pay for documents through them anyway. It can be as much as $250. an hour or more. Depending on how serious you are about having a genealogy compiled for you with documentation.
EIN: Can people interested in their ancestry commission a report from you?
LB: I would love to be able to commission reports for people. I already have more than I can handle now. I can not take on any more than I already have. I also have many other books in the works. All of this consumes my time. I will be working on what I already have for years. If the offer is right I might consider it. But as of now, No I can not take on more.
People can still contact me. If they have questions or if maybe I can help them with what they are looking for. I can not promise a speedy reply. But I will do my best to help as soon as possible. I will be happy to answer any questions. They can contact me at email@example.com Please put “Ancestry” in subject line. This will help me get to you faster. I welcome those who would like help or if they want to see if they share a common ancestor with Elvis or my self.
EIN: Where is the best place for fans to buy your book on Elvis’ ancestry?
LB: My book can be purchased at Amazon.com It is fast, safe, and secure. Your book will be delivered right to your door. Here is the link. You can also access this link from my web site too.
EIN: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
LB: All of us are related, Even if it is just one or several ancestors, In some way we are all related. Be kind to each other. Love they brother as thy self, because the person standing next to you is your family. What do you think Elvis would do???
EIN: Lorina, thank you for taking the time to talk with EIN. We wish you all the best with your current Elvis book and your future endeavors.
LB: You're welcome, it has been a pleasure. Thank You.
More Lorina Bolig:
Read EIN's review of Ancestors of Elvis Aaron Presley 50 Generations
(revised and updated 2009 edition)
The Rosella Presley Story Revealed!
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