Sunday, July 30, 2017

Descendant of U.S. Founding Father is a Filipino American

Andrea Livingston sits fat the table shere the Declaration of Independence is ready to be signed or the Ancestry commercial, a recreation of the John Turnbull painting using descendants of the original signers.

A DESCENDANT of one of the Founding Fathers of the United States is an Asian/American, one more testament to the growing diversity of the nation and what an American looks like.

In the commercial aired on July 4th, a recreation of the famous painting of the historic document's signing. Andrea Diola Livingston, a Filipina/American, can be seen sitting in front of the other descendants of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence.

The office manager is the eighth great granddaughter of Philip Livingston, who represented of New York City and one of the signatories to that famous document.

“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.

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In the commercial, it is clear that the Founding Fathers and their descendants were open to interracial coupling. Among the multi-racial descendants we can see African, Latino and - in Livingston's case - Asian.

Besides promoting their service, Ancestry's commercial's underlying message is that change, openness and tolerance have always been part of what makes America unique.

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Andrea’s military father met her Cebuana mother while they were both in Japan.

A car accident claimed the life of both her parents when she was 18 years old.

To make their commercial, tracked down the descendants of the Founding Fathers, and had them recreate the famous painting by John Trumbull.

“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.”

How has the discovery of one of her famous ancestors impacted her? “Since I’m child of an immigrant and being mixed, it definitely shows what we look like now,” she told Balitang. “It makes me want to dig into my personal history, these are things I didn’t know about myself.”

Through the efforts of, she was able to make connections with long-lost relatives in the Livingston side of the family. It has inspired her to try and trace her mother's ancestral family tree.

Although she commercial has the right message, said Livingston, "I think we have a long way to go. The ideas that they were creating, the ideas that they were putting into words, we still need to strive to make those ideas real.

"We are so many different people. We look so different, we are so different, but we are all the same at the same time," she says.