Tag: Music


A few weeks ago, WikiTree sent out it’s weekly email. As always, it has a list of notable people that you can click on to view their ancestry. You can also see how you’re related to these people and other fun things. I’m almost always connected through my wife’s ancestry, so not directly genealogically.

That specific week it was notable musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I was also curious about other musicians I enjoyed growing up. One that came to mind was Cliff Burton. He was the bassist in my favorite band of all time, Metallica. He played with them on their first three albums, but tragically died when Metallica’s tour bus crashed in rural Sweden during their 1986 Master of Puppets tour.

Missing Profile

It was sad to find out that Cliff didn’t have a WikiTree profile. His father’s name was known since Cliff’s father Ray Burton was still very visible to fans of the band and he passed away last year in January 2020. It was enough to work with.

I’ve always wanted to do some genealogy research on a notable person and Cliff was good option. He wasn’t too famous where I’d feel like I was treading over already researched information, but he was still notable. He is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and listed as the ninth greatest bassist of all-time according to Rolling Stone.

Start At the Beginning

I started by creating the profile for Clifford Lee Burton and worked from there. Fortunately, his parents were already linked to him on Find-A-Grave, so I had names to work with: Ray Burton and Janette Morgenstern.

Ray’s family was traced to Rutherford County, Tennessee where he was born to Paul and Mary (Lenoir) Burton.

Janette’s was a bit tougher. I found her in the census records and her birth entry. Though, it only listed her mother and mother’s maiden name. Her parents were divorced sometime between her birth and the 1930 Census. So, I have her mother, Marion Rosenthal, but not her father (though I have some leads.)

There is currently only one more generation back for both lines as I want to make sure they are the right ancestors before adding. The Burton line goes deep into Tennessee, while the Morgenstern mainly stays in California. Though his great-grandfather, Sigmund Rosenthal, was born in Germany.

This is fun and interesting project. Hopefully, it will be able to connect Cliff’s line into the main connected family tree so other people can see how they’re connected!

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings posted his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and I’m going to do it on a Monday. Why? Because I can.

1. What is your all-time favorite song? Yep, number 1. It’s hard to choose sometimes. If you made your favorite all-time Top 40 music selections, what would be #1?

2. Tell us about it. Why is it a favorite? Do you have special memories attached to this song?

My favorite song of all-time is a pretty simple choice. It’s something I have thought about in the past. It seems I’m constantly trying to figure out my favorite musicians and songs. Overall, it’s a tough thing to choose, but my Top 1 or 2 are usually pretty well cemented. My taste in music is probably a lot heavier than most of the genealogy community, but even though my favorite band is pretty heavy, the song is not.

My all-time favorite song is “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica. Metallica has been my favorite band since I started to enjoy music. I remember listening to them on my older brother’s cassette tapes in the 1980s. When I came into my own musically at about 11 or 12, it was some of the first music I bought.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Metallica? So this must be some heavy metal song about worshiping the devil or something, right? Not even close. Due to the fact that Metallica has very few songs mentioning the devil and none of those actually say anything about worshiping him, that’s unlikely. “Nothing Else Matters” is actually a very slow and melodic song. According to Wikipedia, “some say it meant that “no matter how far” away he [singer, James Hetfield] was, he was still “so close” with the heart.”

I originally enjoyed the song because I liked how it sounded and I liked the lyrics. It felt like it had a lot of emotion behind it. When I heard it on the radio in April of 1999, the song gained new meaning. I was sitting in my father’s truck on a chilly, rainy April morning outside of St. Francis-Borgia church in Cedarburg. I was waiting for my grandfather’s funeral procession and the song came on the radio. I felt I was holding my emotions pretty steady for most of the day, but that song seemed to force me to let it all out.

I bet some of you would even enjoy the song. I even have a link that will allow you to listen to it, so you can make your own assessment. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even like it. Listen to it here.