Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, had his family tree explored as part of a fundraising event for the California Genealogical Society and Library. He learned things about his family’s past that came as a surprise. His ancestors on his mother’s side were among the first settlers of French Canada. He is tied in the distant past to the family lines of other famous people such as Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Celine Dion, Hillary Clinton, and Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Just as notable is the other side of the family, which were described as illiterate farmers from North Carolina. Among the relatives in Beane’s distant past were some Civil War heroes.
Another relative, John Lisk, remains famous among North Carolina historians for an act of bravery during the Battle of Yellow Tavern in Virginia in May 1864. Under the cover of darkness, Col. Lisk ventured alone across Yankee enemy lines to retrieve a captain who had been killed in battle, hoisted the body upon his shoulders and returned to safety.
“This is more like it,” Beane said. “This is actually my family.”
Lisk was taken prisoner in fall 1864, becoming the first recorded man in the Beane lineage to be halted in October by a better-equipped Yankee squad.
Illiterate? sounds about right. Maybe we don’t have as many famous singers, but welcome to the family, Billy.