Recent Blog Posts

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J.K. Rowling on #WDYTYA

J.K. Rowling's episode of Who Do You Think You Are?. Originally aired in the U.K., this episode shows the Harry Potter mastermind learning about her own story.

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A Peek into my Own Past

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.

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Genealogy Roundup, July 29

Editing DNA is now cut-and-paste, rare African American family photo albums, a 17-year-old high school student proves professor wrong, celebrity genealogy, and much more!

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Ginnifer Goodwin on New Season of “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Ginnifer Goodwin unravels a tale including drugs, gambling, prison, and more on the new season of Who Do You Think You Are?

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|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.

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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?

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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?

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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.