Bill Griffeth was born and raised in Los Angeles. Since 1991 he and his wife, Cindy, and their two children, Chad and Carlee, have lived in New Jersey where Bill anchors for CNBC.
In the summer of 2003, Bill made the startling discovery that he was a direct descendent of a woman who was executed during the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692. That lead him to do further research on the history of his family, a history that dated back to the 17th century English Puritans and Separatists who fled to North America and an uncertain future.
For three years, from 2003 to 2006, his family tree was his obsession. Even as he continued his daily anchor duties at CNBC he read dozens of history books, spent hours on the Internet searching genealogical websites for tidbits about various family members, and he traveled tens of thousands of miles through Europe and parts of the United States seeing firsthand the towns and villages where his ancestors lived.
His journey took him to the ancient English fishing village of Great Yarmouth where his earliest ancestors lived and worshipped; to the Netherlands where they sought refuge from religious persecution; and to the sites in New England and New York where they were members of colonial villages with legendary names: Salem, Plymouth, and New Amsterdam. They were Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Methodists, and they had a startling connection to the founder of the Mormon Church.
In the process Bill took hundreds of photographs, and he kept a journal that filled five spiral-bound notebooks. The result is By Faith Alone: One Family's Epic Journey Through 400 Years of American Protestantism.