GLENDALE, CA — Office manager Andrea Diola Livingston was enjoying the Southern California life, when about a month ago, the half Filipino, half-American millennial found out that she is the eighth great grand-daughter of the man in one of the most iconic portraits in American history.
Philip Livingston was a New York City statesman, and one of the many who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Genealogy site Ancestry.com recently tracked down the descendants of the founding fathers, and had them recreate the portrait.
“It’s interesting, it took me a while to really let it sink in that this is my ancestor, but as I’ve grown use to it, it’s become a thing that I’m proud of,” she says.
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Andrea’s military father met her Cebuana mother while they were both in Japan.
A car accident had claimed the life of both her parents when she was 18 years old.
“There’s a connection I can make to things that I didn’t know about, especially my mom’s side, because we never got the chance to really discuss in depth the family history. There were things we would talk about, but little things here and there, but there’s a lot of oral history that we didn’t talk about, so this will be a good opportunity to fill in the gaps.”
What the ancestry project found was that many of the descendants of the founding fathers, mostly who came from Europe, to establish America’s early colonies are now mixed race — like Livingston.
“Since I’m child of an immigrant and being mixed, it definitely shows what we look like now,” she says. “It makes me want to dig into my personal history, these are things I didn’t know about myself.”
Out of curiosity Livingston, who still has relatives in the Philippines, is now hoping to be able to trace her mother’s side of the family tree.
She says the journey never ends. Her and her brother are carrying it on, while they were born and raised in Nebraska, she’s in California where she also moonlights as a DJ, while her brother is in Kansas.
“It’s kind of just in our nature, even on our mom’s side. I know I had a great grandfather who was Spanish, so he moved to the Philippines, even my Lola was mestiza, so it’s in our blood probably a little bit of wanderlust.”
This project has helped connect her to a few long lost cousins, and has even started a group of friends with the other founding fathers descendants.