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Living History: David Morenus

What it's like to be a Roosevelt, using Jefferson's name to pick up women, and other stories of famous ancestors.

David Morenus ninth great-grandson of Pocahontas

“The Difference Between the Movie and the Person”

My grandmother typed up the family tree, and my dad showed it to me when I was a boy. I thought it was special to have someone I’d heard of be my eighth great-grandmother. Someone’s tried to find all of her descendants, and they estimated more than 100,000.

In 1995, my officemate persuaded me to learn HTML to format Web pages. I put up a personal one but thought, “Why would anyone read this?” It was right after the Disney movie about Pocahontas and the 400th anniversary of her birth. I thought if I did a site that emphasized the difference between the movie and the person, I’d draw more readers, so that’s what I did. It’s pocahontas.morenus.org.

I’ve been e-mailed by lots of descendants. Fifth-grade girls identify with Pocahontas. I get older people researching family trees.

I surf the Web for Pocahontas stuff. There’s a statue in Pocahontas County, Iowa. It shows her as a Plains Indian coming out of a tepee. It looks like something a fourth-grader did but 20 feet high.

Now the line continues with my son, Bennett. He’s already seen the Disney movie.

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