|Samuel Brainin (z''l), USC, 1966|
It was still fun to poke around in the index. I have a photo (left) of my cousin when he graduated from the University of Southern California with his Ph.D. Now I know that it was in 1966, his dissertation topic was "The Estimation of Randomly Varying Parameters in Linear Systems", and it was in Electrical Engineering. I also found my sister-in-law's Mathematics dissertation from Howard University. And that's about it for my family that I know of (although my sister is threatening to go for a Ph.D.).
In the San Francisco Bay area, we have three Steve's with Ph.D.'s who are involved with genealogy (Danko, Harris, and Morse). All of them are in the database.
Finding a relative's dissertation topic usually isn't going to take your research back further generations, but it adds richness to the information you have. So who are the academics in your family?