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Press Release

Stars of "Monuments Men" Share Connection With Film Characters' Real-Life Inspirations

PROVO, UT--(Marketwired - Jan 31, 2014) - To celebrate the release of the movie "Monuments Men" (expected in theaters February 7), looked into the family histories of the movie's award-winning stars and found inspiring ancestral ties to the real-life war heroes their characters are based on. Featuring Hollywood heavyweights George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Matt Damon, the film brings to the screen the true story of an unlikely platoon of soldiers brought together to save priceless pieces of art from being destroyed by the Nazis during World War II.

"With any historical film like 'Monuments Men', it is interesting to see the links between the actors and the characters they are portraying on the big screen. But what's fascinating about family history as a whole is that you don't have to be a George Clooney or a Matt Damon to find these kinds of connections," said Michelle Ercanbrack, family historian for "Everyone has a story, and by researching your family history you can learn more about the times in which your ancestors lived, and get a better sense of a historic event a family member may have been involved in or impacted by."

While researching the inspirations for the characters of "Monuments Men," discovered a bevy of interesting connections between the film's stars who portray them.

By George!
According to the family historians, a love for the arts runs in George Clooney's family as he is second cousins, three times removed with George Leslie Stout, the man his character is based on. A Harvard art conservation expert and museum director who gave lectures and created pamphlets on how to protect European art before the United States entered the war, Stout was one of the first men recruited for the "Monuments" program and supervised its efforts in both Europe and Japan. 

Cate the Great
The woman Cate Blanchett's character is based on, Rose Valland, served as a spy for the Allied Forces, keeping her fluent German skills a secret and spying on the Nazis during her time as the volunteer museum curator of the Jeu de Paume in Paris. Blanchett has a connection to art conservation through one of her ancestors, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee. Lee was responsible for securing the silver plate and paintings at Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic estate, before the Civil War broke out.

Heroes Connected by Harvard
Matt Damon's character is based on James Rorimer, a Harvard graduate, curator and director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rorimer worked directly with Valland as well as the Director of the French National Museums to locate the Nazi's main repository for stolen artwork, furniture, silver and jewels: Neuschwanstein Castle. Damon and Rorimer share a Harvard connection, both having attended the prestigious university. Another interesting coincidence is Damon's great-uncle, Lieutenant Colonel Kent Fay, who was part of the 5th Armored Division of the Army, which was likely in Paris at the same time as Rorimer.

You don't have to wait for "Monuments Men" to hit theaters to find out more about the looted valuables of World War II. Visit Fold3, the U.S. military records site in the family of brands, at Or, to get started on your own family history journey visit

About is the world's largest online family history resource with approximately 2.7 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 12 billion records have been added to the sites and users have created more than 55 million family trees containing more than 5 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, the company operates several Ancestry international websites along with a suite of online family history brands, including, and and offers the AncestryDNA product, sold by its subsidiary, DNA, LLC, all of which are designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond the Company's control. In particular, such risks and uncertainties include the Company's ability to provide value to satisfy customer demand. Information concerning additional factors that could cause events or results to differ materially is contained under the caption "Risk Factors" in Exhibit 99.3 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 29, 2014, and in discussions in other of our Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.

Media Contact:
John Paolo Canton
Sr. Public Relations Manager
(415) 744-1795

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