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Honoring Our Ancestors
April 25, 2018


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

I hope you don't mind, but I just have to tell y'all that this has been a very special month for me in terms of the repatriation work I do with the Army to help identify soldiers still unaccounted for from past conflicts ranging from WWI to Vietnam. In the space of two weeks, eight soldiers I've researched - some recently, some years ago - were formally identified. In all my years of doing this, I've never experienced such a flurry. I'm so very grateful that all these heroes are finally coming home and getting their long overdue honors.

As if that weren't enough, I crossed another milestone by submitting my 1,300th case to the Army. Yes, 1,300. I am beyond fortunate to get to do this - to have the privilege of researching every state, every ethnicity, every nationality (so many of our soldiers are immigrants or children of), and every set of family dynamics - to help make good on our nation's "no man left behind" pledge.

Here's hoping that you will be genealogically blessed in some way this coming month!



Seton Shields Genealogy Grant #203: Vine Lake Preservation Trust

The first quarter of 2018 had multiple recipients and I'm pleased to introduce Vine Lake Preservation Trust as the first. (See below for the second.)

Vine Lake Preservation Trust is a nonprofit charitable organization promoting appreciation of the cultural, historical, and natural resources in Medfield, Massachusetts’ Vine Lake Cemetery founded in 1651. The Trust maintains an extensive database of persons buried in the four acre Old Section, which is frequently accessed by family historians from across the country researching relatives who earlier resided in the Medfield community. Today the Trust makes available on its website a burial search feature, as well as allowing folks to publish memories of the deceased. They also have a free app available for both Android and Apple users, Vine Lake Cemetery, to assist researchers to locate burial locations using GPS.

The grant will support enhancement of the website search feature and the app with photographs of 18th Century gravestones and their identified carvers. The edited photos will be uploaded from the Trust's photo database and linked to the corresponding burial sites.

To join me in supporting their efforts, please consider making a donation.

As a reminder, you can apply for a Seton Shields grant here. Don’t miss checking out the cool projects I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to over the years, plus an article that will give you a behind-the-scenes peek into my grants program (and might help you increase your odds of being selected when you apply)!

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Seton Shields Genealogy Grant #204: Judy Purkiss

I’m pleased to announce that Judy Purkiss, a professional genealogist based in Western Australia, is the second of multiple grant recipients in the first quarter of 2018. (See above for the first grant recipient and stay tuned to read about the third and final recipient in next month's newsletter.)

The grant will provide funds to assist with photographing and indexing the Busselton Letters Book, a record of police correspondence in the area covering 1902 - 1913. The book records incidents such as robberies, fires, accidents and murders and lists the names of those people involved and a summary of the incident and investigation. Once photographed and indexed, a copy will be sent to the Western Australian Genealogical Society so anyone researching Western Australian ancestors will have access to the information.

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.

And be sure to check out this article, which will give you a behind-the-scenes peek into my grants program (and might help you increase your odds of being selected when you apply)!

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Genealogy Round Up, April 18

25+ Times People Recreated Their Grandparents Photos, And The Result Was Amazing – Very cool! (h/t MessyNessyChic)

Boy George hopes he belongs to a ‘gypsy clan’ after discovering his grandma was found abandoned and walking the streets in Ireland aged 6 during Who Do You Think You Are? filming – Well, this should be interesting. You know who else was hoping for gypsy heritage? Brooke Shields.

Opinion: The Historians Versus the Genealogists – OK, folks, let me know what you think about this. My blink reaction is that he's creating a genealogist vs historian rift as a premise to help sell his book, but maybe I'm being too cynical.

“The Historians Versus the Genealogists.” Really? – Yup, I'm with Amy Johnson Crow on this. “The Historians Versus the Genealogists.” Really?

On the Prowl for Bruce Springsteen’s Irish Roots – In this piece, I get my geek on tracing some of Springsteen's Irish roots. There's also a charming video at the end (taken at Ellis Island) where he chats about his mother and aunts and shares his thoughts on immigrants - or as he refers to them, "hopeful wanderers."

As always, if you enjoy this, please "clap" by clicking on the little pair of hands at the end of the article on MEDIUM (you can click 1-50 times) - or consider sharing this piece with your friends. Thanks!

Signing Off on Signing Credit Card Receipts – The beginning of the end of signatures?? h/t Mary Beth Devine

The 6 Chinese Survivors of the Titanic That U.S. History Purposely Erased – I *need* to see the genealogy done for this. Sounds fascinating.

Just submitted my 1300th repatriation case to the Army – So grateful I get to do this. Have the privilege of researching every state, every ethnicity, every nationality (so many of our soldiers are immigrants or children of), every set of family dynamics - all to help make good on our nation's "no man left behind" pledge.

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Genealogy Round Up, April 11

Photo Credit: Bryan Anselm

After 73 years, the remains of a Tuskegee airman lost over Europe may have been found – What a privilege to research this case. An identification hasn't been made yet, but it's looking likely. His widow just passed away last December. Hoping to welcome Tuskegee airman Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson home soon.

I should mention that his brother was also a Tuskegee airman. Remarkable family.

US Woman Sells Home to Find Welsh Roots – Good for her! :-)

Wanted: Volunteers who like history ... and can read cursive – Yup, there's that handwriting issue again.

Remains of war vet found – Pleased to see another soldier I researched back where he belongs. Welcome home, CPL William C. McDowell. RIP.

Soldier Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Kipina, M.) – Staff Sgt. Marshall F. Kipina who gave his life in Vietnam has been identified. RIP, and welcome home, Sir. Honored to have researched your family.

Historian who stole WWII dog tags from the National Archives is sentenced to year in prison – He got off easy given what he did. Glad to hear of 95% recovery. Hoping for 100%.

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Genealogy Round Up, April 4

Photo Credit: megatick

Europe's emigration museums: Remembering the long goodbye – Europe’s departure ports - counterpoints to Ellis Island

Funeral Announcement For Soldier Missing From The Korean War (McDowell, W.) – This makes 8 in 2 weeks. I researched this soldier waaay back in 2006! RIP to Cpl. William C. McDowell of Arkansas who lost his life in Korea. Welcome home, Sir.

Tennessee soldier killed in North Korean camp identified and honored – More re: Cpl. Thomas H. Mullins of TN who gave his life in the Korean War.

The Amazing Women in Stephen Colbert’s Family Tree – As both Women's History Month and Irish American Heritage Month wound down, I thought I'd share this about the family tree of Stephen Colbert.

War Numbers: Counting the Irish-born Dead in WWI – Got my geek on!

The Immigrant Ancestors Ann Coulter Wishes She Didn’t Have – Well, this is a surprise. Medium decided to feature my article about Ann Coulter's immigrant roots. If you haven't seen this before and happen to read and like it, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd "clap" for it by clicking on the little pair of hands at the bottom left of the article on MEDIUM. Sorry to keep asking, but it helps with the visibility of my articles. In fact, it might be what helped them select this one to feature! Thanks so much!

Rick Steves' European Easter: Easter Egg Traditions

People reveal the unusual items they've found after a loved one's death

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Genealogy Round Up, March 28

Photo Credit: Michela Simoncini

Rudy's return: Arkansan who went missing during WWII to be laid to rest today – This article about one of the soldiers I researched for the Army is giving me all the feels.

"I just remember that he was a very loving brother and he was kind-hearted. The best way I can say it is, 'To know Rudy is to love Rudy.' He loved trying to please people. He was a very amazing young man."

Why Are Children and Grandchildren of Immigrants So Eager to Keep Immigrants Out? – So I wrote another article regarding immigration - this one featuring Rep. Bob Goodlatte. Turns out there was a really interesting immigration saga in his recent family tree.

As always, if you happen to like this, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this and/or scroll to the bottom of the article on MEDIUM and click on the little pair of grey hands (up to 50 times). Thanks!

From Yoga to Movie Nights: How Cemeteries Are Trying to Attract the Living – nobody wants a sedentary cemetery

Soldier Captured In The Korean War Accounted For (Mullins) – Welcome home, Cpl. Thomas Hays Mullins who lost his life in the Korean War. Honored to have researched your family. RIP.

This Is Me. Mandy Moore out to discover Irish roots on trip to Tipp – Mandy Moore to be on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Funeral Announcement For Airman Killed During World War II (Fazekas, F.) – I don't know what's going on, but there have now been 6 identifications of soldiers I've researched over the years in just the last 2 weeks. I can't explain it, but am very grateful. This case was really interesting and involved Hungarian research.

Welcome home to 1st Lt. Frank A. Fazekas.

I’ve Got a Crush on Steven Tyler’s Grandfather – So Steven Tyler was 70 last month and folks in Poland are working overtime to claim him on Twitter. Fair enough! Here's a piece I wrote some time ago about his Polish roots. Incidentally, he had a Polish great-uncle who emigrated to Argentina and became a best-selling author and this Italian great-uncle who came to America where he was described by the New York Times as a "young man of 19, with a mass of hair arranged in the fashion of musicians."

74 years later, a pilot who crashed in France returns home – Be still, my heart. Love this piece re: 1st Lt. Frank A. Fazekas, recently identified WII hero. Honored to have researched his family. Welcome home, Sir.

Actor Anthony Wong finds family who never knew him, after BBC report – Cool reunion story!

WWII veteran meets long-lost son at National Infantry Museum – And another multinational reunion.

Funeral Announcement For Soldier Killed During The Korean War (Simon, P.) – And still they come. This is now 7 soldiers I've researched who have been IDed in the last 2 weeks. Really odd, but also wonderful. Coincidentally, this soldier - like the one I shared yesterday - was from a Hungarian immigrant family.

Welcome home and RIP to Sgt. 1st Class Peter "Pete" William Simon who gave his life in the Korean War.

A Korean War MIA finally gets a name and a grave – An article about Sgt. First Class Peter "Pete" William Simon, the hero I posted about earlier today. Gave his life in the Korean War. RIP.

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Genealogy Round Up, March 21

Fort Bragg paratrooper, missing more than 70 years, is coming home – Honored to have researched Staff Sgt. David Rosenkrantz from WWII. RIP and welcome home, Sir.

Soldier Killed During World War II Accounted For (Johnson, R.) – OK, I don't know what's going on, but yet another soldier I researched has been identified. RIP and welcome home to Pvt Rudolph Johnson of Arkansas (WWII).

Soldier Killed During Korean War Accounted For (Jubb, J.) – This is really odd. Four soldiers I've researched have been identified in just the last week. This case was particularly daunting and involved on-the-ground research in three state archives (see? it isn't all online!).

RIP and welcome home to Cpl. James Ivory Jubb.

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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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