People who search genealogy websites often find birth and marriage records, newspaper clippings, faded photographs or maybe a long-lost relative.
Hopwood DePree found a 60-room English manor.
As a child growing up in Holland, Mich., in the 1970s, Mr. DePree was transfixed when his beloved maternal grandfather, Pap, a history buff, told him about a huge slice of rolling land across the ocean where his forebears had a grand house called Hopwood Castle.
YouTube channel, posting videos for friends and supporters to chart the progress of the restoration. He also wrote a one-man show about his travails and triumphs, and toured it at comedy festivals around the country.
The price tag for the home improvement is $13 million, with annual operating costs estimated at $800,000, Mr. DePree said. Proceeds from his show have been contributed to the cause; a chunk of the royalties from his book will go toward it, too.
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