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  • postmans-park-london

Genealogy Roundup, September 21

Lots of inspiration this week! Start with a look at a memorial which had as its genesis this thought: "The character of a nation as a people of great deeds is one, it appears to me, that should never be lost sight of." Explore the story of Lucy Lee Shirley, a woman who transcended the shadows of slavery and domestic abuse and who, among other things, was able to educate herself and her family and leave her children more than $23,000 in today’s money; check out the update on the DNA of long-lived Italians which was previously reported as stolen, and more.

  • Help Refugees

Genealogy Roundup, September 14

Lots of goodies in this week's Roundup! British celebrities highlight their "refugenes" in an effort to help refugees. We also have two stories around DNA, two stories in which blacksmiths play a part -- one forging awards from pieces of the Statue of Liberty and the other performing marriage ceremonies(!) -- two stories about segregation in cemeteries, and more.

  • Long Island Genealogy

Q3 2016 Seton Shields Genealogy Grant

This quarter, I'm awarding a grant to Mac Titmus and his co-volunteers of Long Island Genealogy. Long Island research can actually be quite challenging, so I'm really happy to support a resource I've found to be so helpful. Since they never charge for information, the group would like to file for not-for-profit status, which has a number of costs associated with it. The post explains how you can join me in supporting them.

  • Elizabeth Rynecki Chasing Portraits

Genealogy Roundup, September 7

In this week's Roundup, read about a woman who, inspired by a memoir of her grandfather found after his death, delved deeply into the world of her great-grandfather, a prominent portrait painter in Warsaw in the early-to-mid-20th century. Also this week: old documents which had lain in a bottle for more than 60 years tell about life, death, and love as seen through the eyes of a young girl called Hanna, a Who Do You Think You Are? retrospective, Melissa McCarthy, Irish Civil Registration records, 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 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

  • Miranda family tree quote 2

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Revolutionary Ancestors

June 27th, 2016|10 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!

  • no girls allowed

When It Comes to Genetic Genealogy, Women Need Not Apply

May 5th, 2016|0 Comments

Television producers frequently reach out to pick my brains about forthcoming shows, and I generally do my best to help because I have a conspicuous bias: I’d like to see as much genealogy on air as possible. But yesterday I received an inquiry that made me check the calendar to be sure it was 2016.

  • 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.