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

Recent Blog Posts

Genealogy Roundup, September 11

In this week's Roundup: Two soldiers returning home from WWII and the Korean War and a new genealogy TV show, featuring "regular" folks, to premiere next month.

20 Years of Genealogy Grants Winding Down in 2020

May of next year will be the 20th anniversary of my grants program, and since next year will be 2020, I thought that might be a fitting time to wrap up. 20 years in 2020. I'm sharing this decision now so that any folks who've been considering applying for a grant but haven't yet done so will have a heads up that the clock is now ticking.

Genealogy Roundup, August 28

In this week's roundup: Share the joy of a woman whose stolen purse, containing the only photo she had of her father along with other memorabilia, was returned 60 years later.

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

  • Diane von Furstenburg and Statue of Liberty

Genealogy Roundup, May 15

May 15th, 2019|1 Comment

When asked what she wanted people to take away from a visit to the Statue of Liberty Museum, Diane von Furstenberg answered, "The importance of liberty and the importance of freedom. The museum is directly across from Ellis Island, so it’s also about the importance of welcoming people."

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

Genealogy Roundup, April 3

April 3rd, 2019|0 Comments

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!

  • 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!

  • 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.