If you can trace your ancestry to a famous person, the odds of you also being able to connect to the global family tree on WikiTree go way up. I thought I’d found one such person for myself a few months ago. Why is this important? According to WikiTree every human is at most 100 people distant from any random other human. Connecting to the global tree means that you could see how many people separate you from Muhammad Ali, for example. Also, you feel more connected to the human species as a whole.
Jerry Charles Middleton, a.k.a. “Rex” Middleton was a musician and my second cousin twice removed on my mother’s side. Our shared ancestor is Brice A. Strozier, my 3rd-great-grandfather and his great-grandfather. Rex was born in 1926 in Cleveland, Ohio. After high school he became a professional jazz musician. He was regularly listed on the bill at The Toast of the Town in St. Louis. Between 1950 and 1957 he led five different jazz vocal groups.
He started Rex Middleton’s Hi-Fi’s in October 1955. They produced one a self-titled album in 1957 and several EPs. The album can be listened to for free on The Internet Archive. Their first public performance was at the Riviera in St. Louis on the same bill as the celebrated jazz vocalist Dinah Washington who later invited the Hi-Fi’s to tour with her.
Rex was also a member of an “Ink Spots” group known as Al Rivers’ Ink Spots (there is some debate as to whether or not this was a legitimate Ink Spots group).
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Rex didn’t become widely known. There is no Wikipedia page about him and I’m unable to find any information about his career past 1959 except for this photo of Al Rivers’ Ink Spots taken in 1981 that may have Rex in it.
Finding him did not connect me to the global tree, but there will be other opportunities.
This isn’t long enough for a separate post, but I very recently had another experience with thinking I would be able to connect to the global tree after I attempted to add the brother of my 2nd-great-grandmother (father’s side) Johnson Herod to WikiTree and discovered that someone else already had. Johnson existed in a little bubble, though, with the only connections to him being his two wives and one son. I connected him to his parents, siblings, and the rest of his children.