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Honoring Our Ancestors
March 22, 2017

www.megansmolenyak.com

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Happy Spring! I'm just back from New York and Washington, D.C. where I did my best to honor my maternal ancestors by celebrating St. Patrick's Day! I suspect that more than a few of you reading these words did the same in your own way.

This month's issue is the usual genealogical potpourri - Judy Collins, grants, orphan heirlooms, "Who Do You Think You Are?," random celebrity roots (Dale Earnhardt, Steven Tyler, Melissa McCarthy), and for good measure, a man who dresses like his ancestors - because, why not?

Enjoy the lovely weather and see you next month!

Megan


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Songs for the Ancestors


Photo Credit: Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com

Shortly before Judy Collins was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in New Ross, County Wexford, this magazine interviewed her. In the article entitled El Troubadour she cited her father as her inspiration. She said that Charles Thomas Collins was a great singer and musician who graduated summa cum laude from the University of Idaho and was an adventurous reader. Because of his blindness he relied on Braille and talking books. "My dad could read in the dark," Collins said.

She learned "Danny Boy" and “Kerry Dances” from him. Judy Collins planned to sing the songs in her upcoming PBS Special to be recorded in Ireland. Well, now the special is airing across the country to excellent reviews (and can be found on Amazon and other sources for cord-cutters), high ratings and delighted audiences. And one piece that gets a great response from the crowd is a song Collins herself wrote called “New Moon Over the Hudson,” her anthem to immigrants inspired by the stories of her own ancestors.

Click here to continue reading this article by Mary Pat Kelly on pages 94-95 of the December/January 2015 issue of Irish America or click here to continue reading the blog version.

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Seton Shields Genealogy Grants

I'll be considering applications for my next genealogy grant before long, so here's a reminder to get yours in if you've been intending to. Submissions remain active candidates for six months from the date I receive them.

To apply for a Seton Shields grant, fill out and submit the form here. To see the types of cool projects I've had the opportunity to contribute to over the years, look here.

Seton Shields, pictured above, is my remarkable mother. Naming this grants program after her is one small way to keep her memory alive, though she’s no longer with us

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Genealogy Round Up, March 8


Photo Credit: Robert Cheaib

Chesapeake woman buys 1868 Bible for $5, researches its history and is now sending it "home" – Another orphan heirloom goes home.

Genealogy, history will suffer if State Archives moves – Potentially bad news for those of us with NJ roots. UPDATE: Speaking up works! They changed their minds and the NJSA will stay put!

App lets people easily take photos with any dead person they like and bring them 'back to life' – Anyone want a selfie with a deceased ancestor?

Taran Killam's Connection to Actor Robert Stack – So Taran Killam is Robert Stack's great-nephew.

Courteney Cox Uncovers Shocking Royal Family Drama in 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Premiere – Understated reaction to castles and archives, eh?

With roots in America’s earliest free black settlement, resident retraces history with purpose – My kind of story. Bonus points for Williamsburg!

Working Out—in a Museum – OK, this could actually get me to exercise.

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Genealogy Round Up, March 1


Photo Credit: Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com

Dale Earnhardt Jr. explains immigration tweet – In case you didn't know, he's about as obsessed with his genealogy as the rest of us.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Revolutionary Ancestors – For those who haven't seen this, it's an unexpected pocket of African American history - Lin-Manuel Miranda's roots

U.S. Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For – Welcome home, Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Cummings, and thank you for your service in Korea. Had the privilege of researching this soldier's case back in 2008. So pleased to see this outcome for his son and the rest of the family!

How Will History Remember Your Lifetime? – A little historical perspective toy to play with.

Ricker Basin: The remains of a deserted 1800s farming community can be found in Little River State Park – I'm always fascinated by these abandoned communities.

Lisa Kudrow Spills The Beans On Courteney Cox's Genealogy Test – So Courtney Cox's ancestors murdered the king, eh?

P.S. Was fun to see this as I oddly did the roots of both Lisa Kudrow and Stephen Colbert before either was on these celeb roots shows. I did Lisa's waaay back when she was trying to bring the show to the U.S. and then some more for her #WDYTYA episode.

Same with Stephen. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (aka Skip) called me one day when he was about to appear on "The Colbert Report" and asked whether I happened to know anything about Stephen's heritage. I said, "Well, I have 200 years." That's how he wound up on what was then called "Faces of America" (now "Finding Your Roots").

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Genealogy Round Up, February 22


Photo Credit: Christian Fuchs

The man who dresses up as his ancestors – OK, this totally needs to be a thing. Also, how did this fellow get so lucky to have so many images of his ancestors??

Courteney Cox, Jessica Biel, John Stamos to appear on Who Do You Think You Are?

Would You Turn Your Loved One's Ashes Into A Vinyl Record? – Would you?

How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk – This is fun, but doesn't work for Army brats. Pegged me for an area in which I've never lived, but others claim it's very accurate.

I’ve Got a Crush on Steven Tyler’s Grandfather – Did you know that Steven Tyler's grandfather (Liv's great-grandfather) changed his name from black to white when he immigrated?

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Genealogy Roundup, February 15


Photo Credit: apasciuto

Restoring centuries-old family treasure below the streets of Manhattan – This is an intriguing read.

The Powerful 1940 Map That Depicts America as a Nation of Immigrants – The more things change, the more it's the same thing

5 Things You Didn’t Know about Melissa McCarthy’s Family Tree – Just heard from an Irish media outlet asking about Melissa McCarthy, so this seems a good time to re-share this about her roots.

Well Read: Somewhere my love – I *must* get this book - partly because I love "Dr. Zhivago" and partly because I'm part-Pasternak (though no reason to think I'm related to Boris).

Reclaim the Records: An Interview – Learn more about the important work of Reclaim the Records and Brooke Schreier Ganz here (VIDEO)

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Upcoming Events

After traveling around and speaking in 40 states and half a dozen countries, I decided to take a breather from the road to tend to some projects. That said, I'm sharing exceptions here. And by the way, you can see if I’ll be in your area any time by checking my Events Calendar.

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