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Who Was Marilyn Monroe's
Biological Father?

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Photoshop Heals All Wounds 

On the left is a photo of Charles Stanley Gifford (1898 - 1965) that I downloaded from Find-A-Grave. As you can see, it's in bad shape. But by using a little Photoshop Wizardry you can see how I fixed the photo of Charles Gifford, the man who is most likely Marilyn Monroe's biological father.


Who Was Norma Jeane's
Biological Father?

by Matt Moody, Ph.D. 

According to Marilyn Monroe's Wikipedia entry, "The identity of Monroe's father is unknown." Still, there is a most likely candidate that Marilyn Monroe herself came up with. Even though Norma Jeane legally bears the last name of "Mortensen" on her Birth Certificate, we can safely rule out Martin E. Mortensen as being the biological father of Norma Jeane. Why so?

Here's the timeline: Martin Edward Mortensen married Gladys Pearl Monroe on 11 October 1924. The couple separated 7 months later on 26 May 1925, and then, they were divorced 3 months after the separation on 15 August 1925.

This timeline is central to knowing that Mr. Mortensen could not be Marilyn Monroe's father, because Norma Jeane was born 1 June 1926; this means Marilyn was conceived 40 weeks prior to that date, about 25 August 1925 -- and this time of conception occurred 10 days after Gladys Pearl Monroe was officially divorced from Mr. Mortensen, but more significantly the conception occurred 3 - 1/2 months after Gladys and Edward were separated.

Couples get divorced because they don't desire further contact, and especially, they don't desire the intimate contact necessary to conceive a child.

Edward Mortensen's name appears on Norma Jean's birth certificate solely to avoid the stigma of "illegitimacy." This is why Marilyn 's mom, Gladys Pearl Monroe, decided to put Norma Jeane's last name as "Mortenson," a surname that Gladys misspelled with an "o" instead of an "e" -- Mortenson.

Many years later, on the Marriage Certificate with her first husband, James Dougherty, Norma Jeane identified "E. Mortensen" as her father. After all, "Mortensen" was her legal surname. But Norma Jeane's biological father was most likely Charles Stanley Gifford because he had the physical proximity, and the opportunity to be intimate with Gladys.

Charles Gifford was Gladys Pearl Monroe's shift foreman at Consolidated Film Industries where Gladys worked as a film cutter. In an interview with Lifetime TV, James Dougherty (Marilyn's first husband) said that Marilyn believed Charles Gifford was her biological father.

Again, the timeline for Gladys Pearl's separation and divorce from Mr. Mortensen makes it virtually impossible for him to even be in physical proximity of Gladys, let alone be intimate with her. Norma Jeane was conceived 3-1/2 months after Gladys separated from Edward Mortensen -- so that rules out Edward as Marilyn's biological father. Therefore, the most likely suspect becomes Gladys Pearl's boss, with whom she had daily contact.

Finally, simply compare photos of Marilyn to Mr. Gifford and Mr. Mortensen. These photos of Charles Stanley Gifford and Edward E. Mortensen strongly suggest the identity of Marilyn Monroe's biological father.

Compare Marilyn's facial features to the faces of these two men!

The rounded facial structure of Charles Gifford looks similar to Marilyn's. In contrast, Edward Mortensen's square face, doesn't look much like Norma Jean.


Here's Marilyn Monroe when she was a Toddler:


And here's Marilyn standing above the same
New York City subway grate, a few years later:


The publicity photos were taken in front of media and onlookers more than 60 years ago on Sept. 15, 1954. The photographer was Sam Shaw, and according to Sam's granddaughter there were actually two photo shoots. One, on a public street in New York above a real subway grate; then a second photo shoot in the privacy of closed soundstage in Los Angeles. The photo above was taken in Los Angeles. The photos below were taken in New York.



The Ross Sisters: 10th Cousins Two Ways!

The Ross Sisters were a trio of American singers and dancers: Betsy Ann Ross (1926 - 1996), Veda Victoria Ross (1927 - 2002), and Dixie Jewell Ross (1929 - 1963). They used the stage names Aggie, Maggie, and Elmira. They were particularly noted for their acrobatic feats of flexibility!

A Youtube video featuring the Ross Sisters, entitled "Solid Potato Salad," has gone viral with 2.5 million views. The Youtube video is an excerpt from the 1944 movie "Broadway Rhythm." It's a fun 5-minute video that's worth watching!

I am related to the Ross Sisters through their father and their mother -- 10th cousins two ways: through Charles Adolphus Ross (1902 - 1955) and Veda Cordelia Lipham (1905 - 2000). Here's a photo of the sisters that I fixed with photoshop:


King Charlemagne is My 29th Great Grandfather
and You're Likely Related to Him, Too!
by Matt Moody, Ph.D. 

While on a trip to New York, I saw the Broadway play "Pippin." It's a story about how the son of King Charlemagne, Prince Pippin, is trying to find the meaning of life ... to find his "Corner of the Sky" as the song goes. He tries to find life's meaning through money, fame, pleasure, and power -- but none of these pursuits bring him happiness. He finally discovers joy in a love relationship with a single mother.

Ever since I saw this Broadway play, I've been fascinated with King Charlemagne and his son, Prince Pippin. Recently, I started climbing my Family Tree, and just kept climbing through family lines that kept going back and back -- 1600's and then the 1300's and the 900's and then finally found Prince Pippin (785 A.D.) and King Charlemagne (742 A.D.), both born in France.

I found this connection through a random Tree Climbing, and I've since discovered 5 separate family lines that trace back to Prince Pippin and his father King Charlemagne: Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Truth is, most everyone who has ancestors in Great Britain will likely find ancestors across the Channel in France, and also be related to Pippin and Charlemagne! Let me explain why.

If you were born about 1966, then your parents, on average, would be born about 1933, and your grandparents 1900. So every hundred years, there are at least 3 generations in an individual's Family ancestry. Now, it's possible that there could be 4 generations in a hundred years period ... IF each child is near the top of the birth order, and each set of parents married early by age 20.

For example: You are born about 1975, your parent are born about 1950, and your grandparents are born about 1925, and finally your great grandparents are born about 1900. But some parents marry later than age 20, and some children are born deeper into the birth order, 10 or more years after a couple has been married. My mother gave birth to me when she was 44 years old.

The following estimates the number of great grandparents you might have in each century:

                                                                  You                   1
                                                           Parents                    2
                                                Grandparents                    4             born in the 1900's
                                   Great-Grandparents                       8
                           2nd Great-Grandparents                    16
                           3rd Great-Grandparents                     32              born in the 1800's
                           4th Great-Grandparents                     64
                           5th Great-Grandparents                   128
                           6th Great-Grandparents                   256             born in the 1700's
                           7th Great-Grandparents                   512
                          8th Great-Grandparents               1,024
                          9th Great-Grandparents                2,048               born in the 1600's
                        10th Great-Grandparents                4,096
                        11th Great-Grandparents                 8,192
                        12th Great-Grandparents               16,384               born in the 1500's
                        13th Great-Grandparents               32,768
                        14th Great-Grandparents                65,536
                        15th Great-Grandparents              131,072               born in the 1400's
                        16th Great-Grandparents              262,144
                        17th Great-Grandparents               524,288
                        18th Great-Grandparents            1,048,576               born in the 1300's  
                       19th Great-Grandparents             2,097,152  
                       20th Great-Grandparents              4,194,304  
                       21st Great-Grandparents               8,388,608               born in the 1200's
                      22nd Great-Grandparents            16,777,216
                       23rd Great-Grandparents            33,554,432
                       24th Great-Grandparents             67,108,864                 born in the 1100's 
                       25th Great-Grandparents           134,217,728
                  *  26th Great-Grandparents             268,415,456  
                       27th Great-Grandparents             536,830,912                born in the 1000's
                       28th Great-Grandparents           1,073,662,834
                       29th Great-Grandparents            2,147,325,668
                       30th Great-Grandparents            4,294,651,336                 born in the 900's
                        31st Great-Grandparents            8,589,302,672 
                        32nd Great-Grandparents          17,178,605,344 
                         33rd Great-Grandparents           34,357,210,688                born in the 800's

* The earth's population in 1000 AD was about 250,000,000 -- so the geometric doubling of
great-grandparents hits a bottle neck; which means, the SAME great-grandparents actually overlap multiple times in a person's Family Tree, as 4th, 5th, and 6th (etc.) cousins marry.

Even though one person could theoretically have 1 Million 18th great grandparents from the early 1300's, the fact is, because distant cousins DO inevitably marry each other, the same Great-Grant Parents will appear in the Family Tree multiple times. For example, here's a Relationship Path Chart that shows how my youngest son Devin is an 11th cousin to his wife:

In earlier eras of time it is was typical for men to marry in their early 20's, with women marrying in their late teens; thus, in many cases the geometric doubling would happen at a faster rate than I've shown above. Assuming 4 generations occurring per century, this means by the early 1300's there could be 134 Million 25th great-grandparents. And since the population of the earth was about 400 million in the 1300's, that means up to 1/3rd of the population of the earth may have contributed to your DNA.

But the number of contributing Great-great grandparents is actually less, because 3rd or 4th or 5th counsins end up marrying -- simply because of geographic proximity constrains marriage partner choices -- and this creates many duplications of Great Grand-parents in a person's family tree.

So as you climb higher and higher up a Family Tree, your ancestry will naturally begin to narrow, because the SAME 20th great grandparents can appear at the top of your Family Tree multiple times.

We know that the ancestral line MUST NARROW at the top of the Family Tree. Why? Because the Human Family began with just 2 people, Adam and Eve, so the Family Tree will necessarily get narrower and narrower the further you go back in time, to the very top of of the Human Family Tree!

If we just kept doubling the number of grandparents every generation, by the early 800's the number of 33rd great grandparents, for one person living in 2014, would be about 34 billion -- but that's impossible, because the population of the earth in the 800's was about 200 million. And the population of the earth in 2015 is 7.3 Billion.

Again, this means that the ancestral doubling, from one generation to the next, hits a bottle-neck at the year 1000 A.D., where the a person would theoretically have 250 million 26th great grandparents, AND the population of the earth is about 250 million.

The reason why most Caucasians in North America and Europe will have Family Lines that travel through Prince Pippin and King Charlemagne of France, is because there are 10's of Millions of contribuing Great-Grand Parents in every person's Family Tree.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Enriching Family History Stories with Vital & Census Information
Teaching People How To Do Family History Research Online
Determined and Dependable: Dr Matt's Family Heritage
Family History Therapy Premise: Why It Works
Excerpts from Changing Your Stripes
Tell-Tale Signs of Betrayal

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Other Articles of Interest:   What does the Bible Say about Same-Sex Marriage?
New Age Philosophy: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Doing Genealogy at FamilySearch.org

Principles of Emotional Healing

* * * * * * *

The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!

~ Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, p. 274 

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the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

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is ultimately a matter of
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~ Matt Moody 

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Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor

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