Recent Blog Posts

  • DNA chart

Genealogy Roundup, July 1

Customers of commercial genomic testing services understand results more than expected, Bryan Cranston to be on Who Do You Think You Are?, and why one man took his wife's last name.

  • Japanese-American couple receive high-school diplomas

Genealogy Roundup, June 24

American star Jerry Hall traces her roots as part of BBC series Who Do You think You Are and a formerly interned Japanese-American couple finally got High School diplomas

  • LeBron James' great great grandparents marriage record

LeBron James Is Making His Cleveland Ancestors Proud

Few realize that when he rebounded to Cleveland last year, LeBron James was - in a very real sense - going back to his roots.

  • LeBron James genealogy

Genealogy Roundup, June 17

Medal of Honor recipient's story finally comes to light, LeBron James Cleveland ancestors, Dale Earnhardt Jr. to explore roots, and 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, 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!


  • Sgt. (William) Henry Johnson

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

June 8th, 2015|0 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.

  • Historical Selfie genealogy quote

World’s Largest Family Reunion: Genealogy or Preen-ealogy?

June 2nd, 2015|0 Comments

To me, the heart and soul of genealogy is uncovering and learning the stories of our ancestors. It's about them, but if your end goal is name collecting or name dropping, you're making it all about you. Should the success of the Global Family Renuion allow the luxury of a recurring event, wouldn't it be wonderful if our ancestors could take center stage?

  • Merge Your Family Tree lg

Hillary Clinton Family Tree a Wake-Up Call for Genealogy

April 8th, 2015|0 Comments

If everyone got a quarter of Hillary Clinton's tree wrong, what about yours? Are the names adorning your family tree really your ancestors or just crowd-sourced fiction?

  • naturalization

The Gift of #ThrowbackThursday

April 7th, 2015|0 Comments

One random #ThrowbackThursday post revealed a milestone moment to my sister, sent us down memory lane and gave us stories we had never heard about our mom.