Recent Blog Posts

  • Christian Fuchs ancestors portrait reenactments

Genealogy Roundup, February 22

In this week's Roundup: the Peruvian artist who painstakingly recreates portraits of his ancestors, news on the upcoming season of WDYTYA, a fun quiz that (may) identify where you live by your speech patterns, and more.

  • Trinity Church New York NY

Genealogy Roundup, February 15

In this week's Roundup: An amateur genealogist "who can trace his family tree to the founding of Manhattan and the New York Stock Exchange" shares an important insight about what genealogy is (and isn't), a unique map designed to illustrate "that difference is something to be celebrated," and much more.

  • George Peabody Library

Genealogy Roundup, February 8

This week: explore DNA travel, the George Peabody Library, a fun history mystery book, the story of the researcher who discovered and mapped out more than 3,000 burials of black people in nearly 30 cemeteries, most hidden in secluded woods near sugar cane fields, and more.

  • Gustave Eiffel's secret apartment

Genealogy Roundup, February 1

This week, explore two stories concerning WWI Medal of Honor recipients, secret gems hiding in well-known places like the Eiffel Tower and Trafalgar Square, a few of the 200+ synonyms for being tipsy published by Benjamin Franklin, and much more!

Megan Smolenyak2

Megan Smolenyak2 is a real life history detective who loves to solve mysteries. You might have spotted Megan or her handiwork on Top Chef, Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots, Faces of America, Good Morning America, the Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, PBS and NPR.

Her news-making discoveries include uncovering Michelle Obama’s family tree, revealing the true story of Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island, and tracing Barack Obama’s roots to Moneygall, Ireland. Formerly Chief Family Historian for Ancestry.com, she also founded Unclaimed Persons.

Megan is the author of 6 books, including Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing and Who Do You Think You Are? (companion to the TV series), and conducts forensic research for the Army, BIA, coroners, NCIS and the FBI.

Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing!

Featured

  • Annie Moore

125th Anniversary of Annie Moore and Ellis Island

January 10th, 2017|0 Comments

On January 1, 1892, 17-year-old Annie Moore from Cork, Ireland became the first immigrant to ever arrive at Ellis Island, so both Annie and Ellis Island celebrated their 125th anniversary on January 1, 2017. Now is an especially relevant time to reflect on the Annie Moores in our own family trees – those pioneers who made a leap that so drastically altered the trajectories of their descendants’ lives for the better.

  • Miranda family tree quote 2

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Revolutionary Ancestors

June 27th, 2016|11 Comments

In climbing the branches of Lin-Manuel Miranda's family tree, I found myself following the trail of an early nineteenth century, interracial love story, peppered by war and rebellion, all interwoven with a decades-long struggle to outrun slavery that began in Virginia and ultimately unfolded under a handful of flags even though most of it occurred in one place – Nacogdoches.

  • Joe Biden and Megan Smolenyak

Joey From Scranton – Vice President Biden’s Irish Roots

June 14th, 2016|0 Comments

Given Vice President Biden's forthcoming trip to Ireland to explore his roots, I thought this would be a good time to re-share an article I'd previously written about his ancestry. Enjoy!

  • Sgt. (William) Henry Johnson

WWI Hero Sgt. Henry Johnson Receives Long Overdue Medal of Honor

June 8th, 2015|2 Comments

Almost a century after their service, Sgt. Henry Johnson* and Sgt. William Shemin were finally awarded the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony for their heroics in World War I. As the genealogist who had the privilege of researching both of these Medal of Honor cases for the Army, I had the opportunity to seek out and steep myself in more than 1,300 pages of Sgt. Johnson's paper trail, so I'd like to clarify some misconceptions.