A Movie Star…..

Richard Semier Barthelmess was a movie star during the silent era. His last name obviously brings to mind the importance of the Bartelmess name in our family tree. But there appears to be no linkage between Richard and the rest of the Bartelmess clan. Amazingly, research of the name shows quite a few Bartelmess families through the southern states with many in Georgia.

Our connection to the Bartelmess is because of Anna Justina Bartelmess who was born August 28 ,1853 in Fremont,New York. My research has yet to find out why this Bartelmess family went to Fremont New York. Hopefully, I’ll find something that clarifies why Anna Justina’s family came to upper New York State. Hints of origin do show that Bavaria, Germany was given as place of origin. And I think the family very much saw the parallel in the landscape of the two places. With many rolling hills with lots of farm land, the Fremont area had to remind them of Bavaria.

As for Richard the movie star, he was born May 9, 1895 in New York City, to Caroline W. Harris, a stage actress, and Alfred W. Barthelmess. With Alfred dying a year after Richard was born, Richard was very much influenced by his mother’s stage work. Richard got early “walk on” spots in plays. He eventually found his way to Hollywood to star in many silent movies. He had a major role opposite Lillian Gish in BrokenBlossoms”(1919). His acting life continued to 1942. And he did play roles in sound era movies. But his stardom of the silent era lessened leading him to leave acting. He moved back to New York and lived off of his investments. He died in Southampton, New York. He was interned in Ferncliff cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.Barthelmess’s legacy found in Wikipedia shows how he influenced the world of movies including being a founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also received a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Relative or not, Richard Barthelmess was an important character and still to this day one aspect of his legacy -AcademyAwards- is something we all seem to have an interest in. So as you see my interest in tracing the lives of our ancestors can lead me to find some interesting history. The lives of everyone in our family tree provides for a study of life decisions made and being made. Future posts will include descriptions of life’s lived by many-whether in the movies or in the field of nursing or being a motherly father. Again if you have suggestions for these future posts please let me know.

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