Recent Blog Posts

  • Schoolboy in Denmark finds downed Messerschmitt on family farm

Genealogy Roundup, March 22

In this week's Roundup: A school assignment leads to the discovery of a WWII plane on the family farm, an orphan heirloom rescue, WDYTYA goodies, and much more.

  • Latin Bible

Genealogy Roundup, March 8

This week: An orphaned heirloom returns to its roots, an app that will let you take a selfie with a deceased ancestor, an African American Colonel who has traced his family history back to 1634 and shared, "I needed to know my own family history to motivate me to do the things in my life. You need to know where you come from. This is something that I can pass onto my children and grandchildren," WDYTYA goodies, and much more!

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr

Genealogy Roundup, March 1

This week, Dale Earnhardt shared some thoughts after learning his family's immigration story; the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors; play with a fun tool to see how the world has changed in your lifetime, and more.

  • 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.

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.