Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter
December 16, 2005
By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
Boy, is this a great time to be a genealogist or what?! It seems every time I turn around, there are some new toys available for us. In this issue, I'll highlight a few recent arrivals as well as a couple we can look forward to. Here's hoping that at least one is just what you've been waiting for – and that you and yours have a terrific holiday season!
In this newsletter. . .
In no particular order, here are a few new toys you might want to check out, depending on your particular interests:
"Ellis Island was created to let Europeans in," said Robert Barde, deputy director of the Institute of Business and Economic Research at the University of California, Berkeley, who is writing a book on immigration. "Angel Island was created to keep the Chinese out." Between 1910 and 1940, some 175,000 Chinese immigrants (approximately 75% of Chinese immigrants to the West Coast) were detained and interrogated here.
That sums up why it's so important that the President just signed the Angel Island Immigration Station Restoration and Preservation Act into law – after a 35-year effort by the nonprofit Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. The funding (up to $15 million) will be used to create a museum and research center, as well as for the preservation of several structures. At present, the immigration station is closed to the public, although it is a national historic landmark.
We'll have to be patient – it's going to take one to three years – but thanks to an agreement between the Irish and Canadian archive offices, the Irish 1901 and 1911 Census Records are all going to be put online – and made available for free! It's estimated that 70 million people around the world claim Irish roots and all of us will be chomping at the bit for December 2006, when the first phase of the 1911 Dublin census will be released. The records include name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, county and country of birth, literacy level, ability to speak Irish, the number of years women were married, and the total number of children born. For those of us who have struggled with Irish research, having these records in easy reach will be a tremendous benefit. Learn more by reading this article.
We've made some changes at the Honoring Our Ancestors site and invite you to check it out. You'll find cleaner pages and drop-down menus across the top to help you find what you're looking for a little more quickly than before.
Also, you might enjoy taking a peek at the new photo gallery that includes snaps of everyone from Colin Powell to Flat Stanley. We've also added a map to show where I've spoken (19 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada – and counting!). And if you're interested in submitting a story for possible use in an article, book or TV show, you'll find submission forms for tales involving DNA, orphan heirlooms, lost loved ones and brick walls.
And of course, the old stand-bys – such as the Honoring Our Ancestors grant program and the Library of many of my articles are still there. I hope you'll find something useful and come back to visit from time to time.
I need your help. As I just mentioned above, we've just completed a bit of a revamp of the Honoring Our Ancestors site. I'd like to thoroughly road-test it, so if you've got a few minutes to surf the internet, I'd like to invite you to explore the site and email me telling me:
To make it worth your while, I'm offering two prizes. One is a copy of the hot-off-the-presses book, The Genealogist's Glossary, by Christopher Dunham, cited above.
The other – as a small tribute to the Angel Island Museum and Genealogical Research Center legislation – is a copy of On Gold Mountain, signed by best-selling author, Lisa See (the inscription reads, "I hope my family history inspires you to think about your own. Lisa See”). If you haven't read this book, you'll want to. It's perhaps the most amazing true family history tale you'll ever encounter. I know folks say this all the time, but you really won't be able to put it down.
Winners will be selected randomly, but please specify your preference between the two books if you have one. Thanks in advance for your help and feedback!
Congratulations to the November and December Honoring Our Ancestors grant awardees – Friends of the Garden City Historical Museum in Garden City, Michigan and the Holder DNA Project Forum. I decided to deviate from my recent cemetery kick and donate to a new museum in support of their annual calendar fundraising initiative and to a DNA surname project.
Please visit the Honoring Our Ancestors Grants page to read about our awardee projects, and how you can apply for a grant to support your genealogical project.
December 15, 2005: DNA Database Diving
December 8, 2005: Have You Already Been DNA-Tested?
November 21, 2005: Let Your Fingers Do the Shopping
November 11, 2005: Where's Parmo?
You can read many more articles of genealogical interest, by category, at the Honoring Our Ancestors Library.
I had a great time speaking at State Farm Insurance in NJ and at the Monmouth County Genealogical Society in NJ recently.
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 tell me they read this newsletter, 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