Sarah Jessica Parker's Cincinnati OH Roots

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Sarah Jessica Parker's Cincinnati OH Roots Empty Sarah Jessica Parker's Cincinnati OH Roots

Post by Piper on Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:44 pm

Parker Traces Local Roots
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker visited Museum Center and the Clifton library branch while researching her mother's Cincinnati German roots on NBC's new genealogy show.

Sarah Jessica Parker's Cincinnati OH Roots Sarah10


Actress Sarah Jessica Parker admits she didn't know much about her mother's Cincinnati German roots before appearing on NBC's new genealogy show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" (8 p.m. Friday).




"My mother was born and raised in Cincinnati's German community, like her parents and grandparents," says Parker, 44, on Friday's premiere.

"But I don't think she knows much more about her side of the family than that," says Parker, who started her career as a Cincinnati child actress in the 1970s.

• Photos: Sarah Jessica Parker through the years

TV's former "Sex and the City" star came back to Cincinnati last year to find out more about her roots at the request of Lisa Kudrow, the former "Friends" actress whose company produces the NBC genealogy series.

Parker, born in Nelsonville in southeastern Ohio in 1965, lived in Cincinnati from 1969 to 1976.

She attended Clifton Elementary School and the School for Creative & Performing Arts. Parker studied with the Cincinnati Ballet and made her professional acting debut in a 1974 WLWT-TV "Young People's Special."

At age 11, Parker left for New York when she landed a Broadway role in "The Innocents" in 1976. She joined the Broadway cast of "Annie" in 1978, and took over the title role in 1979, at age 14.

But that's not what this TV show is about.

Parker came here to trace the German ancestors of her mother, Barbara Keck Forste, who lives in New Jersey.

Parker was ecstatic to come "home," as she refers to the Queen City.

"I'm thrilled that help I need is here. Any excuse to come back!" says Parker, who lives in Manhattan with her husband, actor Matthew Broderick, and their three children.

On the show, Parker meets with genealogist Natalie Cottrill at the Clifton Public Library branch, and UCLA history professor Stephen Aron at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Aron, an American West expert, shows records revealing that Parker's fourth great-grandfather, John S. Hodge, headed to California during the 1849 gold rush.

Cottrill tells her the Hodge name could be related to one of the nation's oldest New England families.

For the remaining 45 minutes of Friday's show, Parker heads to the West Coast, then to the East Coast. (We're about to give away some of the show's mysteries, so if you don't want the surprises spoiled, don't read any further.)

In California's El Dorado County, 45 miles west of Sacramento, Parker finds confirmation that Hodge was a miner.

"It's extraordinary to think that one of my relatives was part of such a major event in American history," she says.

Next, she travels to Boston, where a historian said John S. Hodge's family goes back to the first generation of Americans. She also learns that her 10th great-grandmother, Esther Ewell, lived in Salem, Mass., at the height of the 1692 witch trials.

At the Massachusetts Historical Society, Parker finds a warrant for Esther's arrest in 1692 for "grounded suspicion... of acts of witchcraft" in the death of Mary Fitch.

Parker, who was not available for an interview for this story, says on the show that she started her quest with low expectations.

"The truth is that we're... not that extraordinary," says Parker, who has seven siblings, including Broadway actor Timothy Britten Parker.

Several startling revelations changed her mind.

"What I learned is that I have real stock in this country, and real roots," she says.

"This has changed everything about who I thought I was. ... It completely flipped it upside down and inside out."

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/AB/20100303/ENT/3040301/0/NEWS0103/Sarah-Jessica-traces-local-roots
Piper
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