Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter
July 18, 2007
By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
Showing up in your mail box a few days late because I took a vacation! Here's hoping many of you are also taking time for a little R&R this summer -- even if it's to explore ancestral cemeteries (that counts!).
In this newsletter. . .
Check out this series of articles on genetics in Forbes, including this photo series on celebrity DNA. It's funny -- this stuff has been around for about half a dozen years, but the whole world seems to be waking up to it now!
The globe-trotting genealogist will be delighted in these latest developments -- genealogical concierges in Scotland and butlers in Ireland. What a great idea! Wonder how long have to wait for this to catch on in Slovakia??
From the latest issue of Nu? What's New?, The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy by Gary Mokotoff, comes this promising news:
The article goes on to list the types of records that will be available under this new program:
This is going to be a real treasure trove for the 40% of Americans with Ellis Island roots. Thank goodness for Marian Smith and her persistence! I can't wait!
If anyone gets to Wolfson College in Oxford anytime soon, I'd love to see what these look like -- especially Helena, the daughter of Eve I descend from (along with a huge chunk of those of European maternal origin):
Mixing painting and DNA. Hmmm . . . wonder what other creative uses of DNA we'll see in the not-too-distant future?
Who'd have thought that genetic genealogy would make Vanity Fair, but it has. Bono is guest editor for the July issue (out on stands now) and has included this little gem from Spencer Wells. As a bonus, in case you're curious, you get a photo of baby Bono, whose paternal ancestors were apparently among the first to wander out of Africa.
If you're an avid genealogist, you've probably been there. There you are overseas exploring your old country roots, and you've just encountered a local with the same surname as you. Coincidence? Well, if you're traveling in Scotland, the pair of you can snag some DNA tests and find out. These folks in Scotland have hit on DNA testing as a means of encouraging ancestral tourism.
Actually, as someone who has traveled abroad with a bunch of DNA kits at the ready, I really like this notion. Now you've got a safety net if you find lots of willing test-takers -- sort of like being able to snag one of those disposable cameras in a pinch.
You know, genetic genealogy has become so trendy, it almost makes me nostalgic about the days when I took bullets for being a proponent. Just a few years ago, you were accused of cheating or trying to take shortcuts if you dabbled in it. Look how far we've come!
Roots Television ventured out in June for the second time (our first outing was London's Who Do You Think You Are LIVE! event -- just go here and type in "who do you think" to see the 8 videos we have so far), and man, do these folks know how to throw an event! Thanks especially to Paula Hinkel and Charlotte Bocage for all they did for us!
Thanks to kind reader Diana Gilman Maurer, I learned that Golden Door was indeed showing in my area, so I went to see it. It's the kind of movie that probably couldn't be made in America due to its deliberate pace, but I enjoyed it as the whole two hours follows an Italian family dealing with emigration and all it entails. You follow them as they make their decision to emigrate on through their arrival and processing at Ellis Island. With 6 of my 8 great-grandparents being Ellis Island-era arrivals, it gave me a chance to journey with them in a sense -- and I suspect fellow genealogists would appreciate this opportunity as well.
The movie also features remarkable imagery (click on the gallery here to get a sampling) -- and that's where the reference to carrots and milk comes from. But I don't want to ruin it for you, so you'll have to go watch it yourself to see what I mean!
Here's a little catch up from the end of June -- a radio interview I did for NPR, a podcast with the Genealogy Guys, and a fun article on black sheep that includes Rhonda McClure, Leland Meitzler and yours truly. This last one sure contradicts that genealogy-as-bunk article from the Smithsonian Magazine that's getting so much play. Apparently, the writer still thinks we're after illustrious roots -- very 1927 of him.
-- NPR's Talk of the Nation: Putting the "Genes" Back in Genealogy
-- Black sheep, good sheep in the Globe and Mail
If you plan to be near any of the events where I'll be speaking, I would love to meet you. It's always a kick for me when folks mention that they read this newsletter, my blog, Ancestry Daily News or whatever, so don't be shy about introducing yourself!
Please forward this newsletter to your family and friends who are interested in genealogy -- thank you!
Wishing you an abundance of genealogical serendipity!
Note: You are receiving this because you have demonstrated an interest (e.g., you have a story in one of my books, applied for a grant, attended previous events, etc.) or subscribed via my website, but please let me know if you do not want to receive any further emails, and I will promptly remove you from my list. And rest assured, this is my personal list and not shared with anyone else! Thanks, Megan