Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter
December 15, 2008
By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
Wow, another busy month! I know you're all busy with holiday preparations so I'll keep this short. Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful remainder of 2008, heartwarming family gatherings, and maybe another genealogical discovery or two!
In this newsletter. . .
Little did I know what I was starting when I traced Barack Obama's Irish roots to Moneygall in Co. Offaly. Plumbing and renewable energy -- looks as if they were following the election. Imagine if folks in every town where he has roots were to start doing this -- yikes!
Wisdom from a 106-year-old: "After a time, we will all be one."
must . . . get . . . this . . . issue!
What a smart idea -- take your ancestors to lunch. Might want to borrow that.
A little about Michelle Obama's roots . . .
More online newspapers available . . .
Check out UnclaimedPersons.org or our group here on Facebook. I think we're at 24 cases solved, but I'm probably behind a bit since I just got back in town.
Really impressed with this automatic tagging from MyHeritage.com -- not to mention their "face clouds"!
Tis the time to load up on holiday genealogy gear!
So blogging is now old school . . .
More evidence that the genomics age is upon us . . .
Scissor Sisters and Stephen Colbert -- how could you not laugh?
Blaine's in Wired!
Huh! Didn't know this . . .
DNA testing is trendy among Latinos?
Hmmm . . . mtDNA?
New book by Dan Lynch!
Interviews with Elizabeth Shown Mills and
Irish guru John Grenham done during the recent Wholly Genes cruise. And get a
look at one of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? episodes.
Your chance to get up close and personal
with Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Big charts on present lists this year . . .
I think those of us who dwell in
genealogy-land are very familiar with this issue, but I was startled to find it
among the top stories on CNN.
We need more folks like David De Jonge.
More good stuff coming for those
researching Canadian roots.
I knew this was coming. If you meet anyone
named Barack a few decades from now, there's a good chance he was born in 2008.
Oh . . . my . . . gosh. Where does Chris
(The Genealogue) find this stuff?
A great summary of where the Genographic
Cyndi Howells told me about this remarkable
memorial to the Irish Famine which I definitely have to go check out the next
time I'm in NYC. She and her son Evan explored it shortly before the recent
Wholly Genes cruise. And while you're taking a look, check out the website these photos are hosted
on -- by a fellow who walked every single street of New York City. Pretty cool.
This is the kind of story I like to read.
Wow, I have to admit this is blowing my mind just a bit. I decided to check out 123people.com, and of course, did a vanity search on my own name. And was I surprised at everything that popped up! There are blog postings, videos, photos, news stories, bios, Amazon links -- you name it.
It took me a while to figure out some of the items included. For instance, one of the images is a cover of OK Magazine with Britney Spears on it. Turns out that a blogger had posted something about that mag, and followed that with another posting about Palin's roots -- an article in which I was quoted. So it apparently uses proximity as one indicator.
What was especially interesting to me was this customized tag cloud. Seems the internet associates me heavily with genetic genealogy. That's where words like Trace, Ann and Turner come in -- Ann Turner, M.D. is my co-author on Trace Your Roots with DNA. While I love gg, I guess I'll have to do a better job of letting the world know that I do other stuff, too!
23andMe on Oprah!
You can also watch an interview I conducted with Sen. Paula Benoit
about this legislation here: http://rootstelevision.com/players/player_conferences.php?bctid=1840812394.
Her own story is pretty darn remarkable.
I like hearing about undertakings like this
Check out the latest partnership in the
Every Tuesday on RootsTelevision.com, we
post new videos. In fact, we call it New Roots Tuesdays. Here's this week's
Oh, man. This is a nice story on the
surface, but as much as I'm into genetic genealogy, I have to say that the
results have been exaggerated here. I was especially amused by the comment that
this is the first time that "people from two continents have been matched
Buzzy Jackson's writing a book (to be
published in 2010) about her genealogical odyssey -- both her personal quest
for roots as well as her foray into the genealogical world. Check out this
RootsTelevision.com interview conducted by Dick Eastman to learn more.
Check out Cyndi on RootsTelevision.com!
If you like RootsTelevision.com, please
help spread the word by linking to it! Here's how.
Didn't know Doctor Lissa before this, but
appreciate the shout-out!
Blaine's always up on the latest in the
world of genetic genealogy. Agree with him across the board.
I'm not exactly sure how, but this family
of twins and twins and sextuplets is related to me via our Figler/Figlyar line.
Their grandad Bernie Figler (or Dziadzi of 14, as he describes himself) told me
that the show will air at 10:00 pm on TLC. And the family will be on Good
Morning America that morning. This family is unusual in that they truly
resisted the urge to share to go public, but circumstances caused them to move
forward with this. So check out 10 of my little cousins!
RootsTelevision.com gets a shout-out and
the Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ!
There's just something about the notion of
Barack Obama doing river dance that tickles my imagination . . .
Here we go again in the realm of genetic
genealogy . . .
OK, I clearly said that the Finnegan tie to
Carlingford was less than certain, so I'm prepared to be contradicted if I'm
wrong, but all that's said about this challenge is that someone thinks the
Finnegans might be from Derry or Mayo. That's it. No other substantiation.
Margaret, give us some specifics if someone's found something else! As best as
I can tell, Biden's Blewitt line is probably Mayo-based, but what's led some
mystery person or entity to determine the Finnegans hail from Mayo or Kerry?
This is a tease!
Most of the other words are fairly obvious. Annie and Ellis clearly come from the story of Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island.
And That's?? Well, that had me baffled for a bit until I realized that almost everything written about me includes a remark about my Smolenyak Smolenyak name -- "yes, that's her real name."
Anyway, try it out with your own name and see what you find!
Here's a great idea from Dick Eastman. He found himself pinch-hitting at the Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ over the weekend, speaking about Footnote for Beau Sharbrough, who wasn't able to make it. On the fly, he decided to use a video on RootsTelevision.com to get his presentation going and it worked brilliantly!
You can read all about Dick's experiment and how he did it here.
l've shown videos on RootsTelevision.com at assorted events -- sometimes to demo the site itself and sometimes in the format of mini-film festivals on topics such as DNA or Annie Moore. But I had never thought about others doing this and I have to say that I like the idea!
Societies often tell us that they're now using RootsTelevision.com to pre-screen speakers, and I suppose we have enough videos up there from various conferences now (check out the Conference channel) that speakers could check out conferences as well!
If you have any other creative ideas for using RootsTelevision.com, I'd sure like to hear them!
I feel the same way about genealogy.
Apparently one bad apple spoils the whole
name . . .
Dee Welborn brought this one to my
attention (thanks, Dee!). Times, they are a-changin'...
More videos from RootsTelevision.com --
Craig Scott and John Titford!
Interesting. I didn't know the National
Parks Service was against this.
Dick Eastman blogged the other day about
how you could search Life Magazine images via google, so I had to check out
whether they had the photos from the 1951 article I snagged while researching
who would be king of America if George Washington had been king instead of
president (see this link for the article: http://www.ancestrymagazine.com/2008/09/cover-story/the-man-or-woman-who-would-be-king.).
At any rate, sure enough! Here's one of the potential monarchs -- although he
had passed away by the time I started climbing the Washington family tree.
A multi-generational GM family . . .
Now the Swiss want to claim Obama!
A new magazine for those with Scottish
More than 100 of his descendants! This is
the kind of story I like to stumble across.
Ireland finally coming into its own in the
Hmmm . . . a new book on genealogy with a
twist. The writers aren't genealogists. They're technology writers. I'm kind of
curious, aren't you?
Oprah and Abigail Thomas weigh in on how to
write your memoir.
I remember a few years back getting a call
asking me to find Bob Hope in the Ellis Island database (search on Leslie
Hape), so I'm delighted both that he's getting a stamp and that the Ellis
Island library is being named after him!
Genealogy charts designed specifically for
weddings to show how the bride and groom are related to all their guests. What
will they think of next?
In my book, this qualifies her as a cool
mom, but I don't know how many would agree with me!
City directories online! Let's have more!
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