Cooper Burns Smith

Welcome to the Cooper Burns Smith episode of "Finding Your Roots". Anderson Cooper is a television journalist and world reporter.  Ken Burns is a film maker specializing in documentaries.  Anna Smith is an actress in television. Appeared in West Wing, mimics voices and does one woman shows.

Anderson Hays Cooper

Mr. Cooper has been a world reporter and is a television journalist.  Anderson's father was  Wyatt Cooper raised in Mississippi. His well known mother is Gloria Vanderbilt, known as an actress fashion designer and socialite.  Ms. Vanderbilt is still living at age 90 years.

We learn on the Vanderbilt line his immigrant ancestor was Jan Artsen Vanderbilt, came from the Netherlands.

Mr. Cooper wants to know about his southern family the Coopers from Mississippi. William Preston Cooper,
(4th great grandfather to Anderson Cooper)born in 1864 was not raised in the South.  Moved to Mississippi as an adult. He became what was called a small cotton planter. There were no big plantations at this time.

Another gr-grandfather was Robert Fletcher Campbell who served on behalf of the South.

Watch the Cooper Burns Smith video there is more about a 4th gr-grandfather Burwell Boykin. Also hear of the tragedies in Anderson Cooper's life.


Ken Burns

Mr. Burns is a film maker, producer of many documentaries and story teller.  Ken Burns has been interested in the Civil War since he was a child. Ken's father was Robert Burns, mother was Lilya Tupper who died when Ken was 11 years old.

Mr. Burns wants to know if he is related to the poet, writer Robert Burns of Scotland. Along the way we learn about Ken Burns' great-grandfathers.  First is Abraham W. Burns born-1833 (2nd gr-grandfather)
served in the Civil War for the South. Mr. Abraham Burns was 1 of 200,000.00 men imprisoned.  To be
let free he had to sign an Oath of Allegiance.

Next is Abraham Smith also served in the Civil War and he owned 6 slaves. We next learn of his American Revolution ancestors.

Gerardus Clarkson, 5th gr-grandfather was a doctor surgeon for Board of War in 1776-1777. Learn
how he modernized medicine to be what it is today.

Another 5th gr-grandfather was Eldad Tupper born-1754. Mr. Tupper was notorious for what?

Watch the video to learn more about the men who are mentioned above.  Also learn who was Ken's 5th cousin 4 times removed.  Will give you a clue: first name Abraham! Don't forget poet Robert Burns.


Anna Deavere Smith

Ms Smith is an actress in television. She appeared in West Wing, Nurse Jackson. She mimics voices.
She does one woman shows and more. Anna's parents are Anna Young a teacher and her father is Deavere Smith a coffee merchant.

We learn about her 2nd gr-grandfather Basil Biggs. Mr. Biggs moved from the slave state of Maryland  to the non-slave state of Pennsylvania. Mr. Biggs was a veterinarian and served in the American Revolution.
The family was told to leave their farm to avoid the on slot of the Confederates moving in.

Basil Biggs was in the Battle of Gettysburg. When the war was over they tried to go back home, but their farm was totally destroyed.  Watch the Cooper Burns Smith video to see how Mr. Biggs became a wealthy man and
his connections to the Underground Railroad and more.


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