Recent Blog Posts

  • Cold Play & Big Sean - Miracles video

Genealogy Roundup, July 19

In this week's Roundup: The official lyrics video of Miracles (Someone Special) by Coldplay & Big Sean. I love this! I'm very grateful to my great-grandparents who were brave enough to leave everything familiar and come to the USA.

  • Cecelia Chien with clansmen

Update on Q2 2016 Seton Shields Genealogy Grant: Cecilia Chien, West Chester, PA

It's always fun to get a peek at the outcome of one of my grants, so I was really happy to hear from Cecelia Chien, one of the Seton Shields Genealogy Grant recipients of 2016. Cecelia has given me permission to share her photos and the story of her research trip, so I'll let her take it from here, in her own words.

  • Goat Kids

Genealogy Roundup, July 12

In this week's Roundup: Goat yoga in cemeteries, two soldiers accounted for and returning home, gardening the graves of strangers in a historic cemetery, and more . . .

  • John Righetti, cofounder of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society

Genealogy Roundup, June 28

In this week's Roundup: a history of Rusyns, a great grandkids photo idea, the possible genetic predisposition toward wanderlust, 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

  • Seton Shields at work

Celebrating 200 Seton Shields Genealogy Grants Awarded

June 27th, 2017|0 Comments

Ever wondered how I choose who to award grants to each quarter – what makes an application stand out to me or be eliminated? As a way of celebrating the milestone of 200 Seton Shields Genealogy Grants awarded, here's a behind-the-scenes peek into my grants program and the woman who continues to inspire my life and work. Enjoy!

  • 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|12 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!