Sunday, June 9, 2013

If They're the Famous Side of the Family, Does That Make Us the Infamous Ones?

The other night I watched a movie on television specifically because it starred an actor named Troy Garity. Oh, and Sissy Spacek, you probably all know her. Now, if you don't know who Troy Garity is, you may be wondering why I decided to tell you about his movie here on a blog that's dedicated to my Grandma Audrey. I'll explain:

Troy Garity is the son of actress Jane Fonda and grandson of her equally famous father, Henry Fonda. And if you're related to Audrey Smith Barclay, then you're also related, albeit very distantly, to Troy and Jane and Henry and Jane's actor brother, Peter, and Peter's actress daughter, Bridget.

I discovered our connection to the Fonda family a few years ago when I was reading Peter Fonda's autobiography, Don't Tell Dad: A Memoir, and came across a name that was familiar to me from studying our own family history. That name sent me running down a trail that eventually led back to one Douwe Jellise Fonda and his wife, Rebecca Conyn, who turned out to be Audrey's seventh-great-grandparents on her father's side. Among Douwe and Rebecca's children were a daughter, Hester (Audrey's sixth-great-grandmother), and a son, Jillis (the sixth-great-grandfather of Jane Fonda). That makes Audrey Lou Smith Barclay and Jane (Lady Jayne Seymour) Fonda eighth cousins--no "removes" despite the difference in their ages. (Jane's ancestors evidently didn't "go forth and multiply" as rapidly as ours did.)

Here's a little chart I put together to show you the lineage of both Audrey and Jane. You'll probably need to click on it to enlarge it:

Note:  To print a full-page copy of this descendant chart, click here.
When the chart appears in a new window, click on its little printer icon.

Does this information suddenly pique your interest in Fonda films? I thought it might. If you'd like to know more about Henry Fonda, you can click here. If you want to know more about Jane, you can click here to read a bio or here to watch an interview she did three months ago. As for Cousin Troy, who unknowingly prompted this post, he's a fine young actor. His movie, Lake City, was very good, and you can watch the trailer for it by clicking right here.

One more thing:  if this is the first time you've heard about this family connection, please don't feel as if you've been left out of the loop. I'm pretty sure the Fondas aren't aware of it yet, either. They're gonna be so excited!


  1. First Katherine Swynford and now Jane Fonda. Will I need to make an appointment with your social secretary to send you an email?

    1. Of course not, Annette. I love your emails. I'd love a visit, too--although you'd have to be prepared to deal with all the paparazzi.


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