Recent Blog Posts

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Genealogy Roundup, October 7

Bruce Springsteen's Irish roots and the part the National Library of Ireland's online Catholic parish registers played in finding them, the origins of Dead Fred, a victory for genealogists, and more!

  • Kindra Crick and DNA Sculpture

Genealogy Roundup, September 30

This week, enjoy DNA designs honoring Francis Crick and helping to fund the fight against cancer, the story of a wedding gown that's been handed down for 120 years and the woman who'll be the 11th member of her family to get married in it, and more.

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Q3 2015 Seton Shields Genealogy Grant

This quarter, I'm awarding two grants--one to Rich Custer to support his work preserving Carpatho-Rusyn records and the other to help defray the initial costs of a book series produced by the White Lake Area Historical Society that will showcase area families and notable people, places, and events.

  • Titanic Musicians Fund

Genealogy Roundup, September 23

This week we have one of the best genealogical sagas I've read in a long time, what your DNA says about medieval history, two young people who traced their roots, family reunions, 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, 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!


  • megan stacy seton birthday CU

A Peek into my Own Past

July 31st, 2015|0 Comments

It was daunting to think of trying to capture even a hint of my mother in 500 words, but here's a little peek into my own family history.

  • 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.

  • 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?