Megan Smolenyak – Home2018-09-22T17:20:32-04:00

Recent Blog Posts

  • DNA Kit

Genealogy Roundup, April 17

In this week's Roundup: A peek into the genetic genealogy sleuthing process, organizing your family history research, two soldiers lost in past conflicts coming home, and more.

  • Story Indiana

Genealogy Roundup, April 10

In this week's Roundup: A town for sale (with the tempting name of Story), a perfectly preserved baby boot from the 14th century, using genetic genealogy to catch criminals, a mother-daughter reunion after 82 years apart, and more.

  • Flag presented to daughter of Capt. Lawrence Dickson at Arlington National Cemetery

Genealogy Roundup, April 3

Are you ready for some good news reading? You'll find an orphan heirloom rescue, a WWII veteran still going strong (and in the workforce, no less!) at 97, a Reclaim the Records victory, and last but far from least, photos from the memorial service for Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson in this week's Roundup. Enjoy!

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.