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Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter

November 15, 2008

By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Megan Smolenyak SmolenyakGreetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Is it just me or is everything going by in a blur? November already? Not surprisingly – since the election is now only recently over -- this issue is heavy on the candidates' roots, but also Ellis Island's Annie Moore and the King of America. Yup, the King of America -- read on!


In this newsletter. . .

Genealogical Round Up - October 2nd

Come join me on Facebook, if you haven't already!

A look at one branch of Michelle Robinson Obama's family history . . . amazing how much is still standing.
A Family Tree Rooted In American Soil - washingtonpost.com

Getting my Irish on . . .
Newsweek - National News, World News, Health, Technology, Entertainment and more...

Thoughts on the future of the personal g(e)nome . . .
More on 23andMe and the Future of Personal Genomics | Health Care Industry Blog | BNET

The genealogical fever spreads to Ireland!
Now we're all barking up family trees - Lifestyle, Frontpage - Herald.ie

Leland's back! And he's on RootsTelevision.com being interviewed by Dick Eastman:
GenealogyBlog is Back! - Genealogy Blog

Louise is apparently voting her bloodline.

Wow! Thanks, Tim!
Genealogy Reviews Online: Everyone's Turning 2 This Year

Hmmm . . . will be interesting to watch down the road a bit.
TGN CEO promises to open Ancestry.com to developers | The Industry Standard

Thanks a million, Juliana!
24-7 Family History Circle - Happy 2nd Birthday Roots Television!

Come join us in New Zealand in January!
12th AFFHO Congress in Auckland - more education in one place than you'll see anywhere else! | Genea

I LOVE this article. When I tell folks that I'm half-Irish and half-Carpatho-Rusyn, I always have to explain what the heck a Rusyn is. This article -- by a fellow who's not Rusyn himself -- does a remarkable job of answering that question.
How the Rusyns Could Save Civilization - Main Feature - Main Feature - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pitts

I can't wait until I have time to go digging for all my Canadian cousins in this collection! I've played with it briefly and it's reaaaallly promising!
24-7 Family History Circle - Cousins via Canada? by Juliana Smith

Cool stuff! Makes you wonder what might be possible in the world of genetic genealogy in the future!

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Obama Ohio and Irish Roots

There's an article by Margaret Bernstein in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer that takes a close look at Barack Obama's pile of cousins in Ohio, as well as the Irish ancestors who brought them to Ohio in the first place. She really did her homework! Very insightful. And check out the .pdf chart you can click on.

Presidential candidate Obama has Irish kin in southern Ohio

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Genealogical Round Up - October 9th

Now here's a different kind of application of DNA testing spearheaded by none other than Ugo Perego!

Annie's day is coming!
Irish Echo Online - News

GW's kin on CNN . . .
Washington family descendant could've been king - CNN.com

Juliana's right. I don't get much sleep. But then, neither does Juliana!
24-7 Family History Circle - Ancestry.com Reveals Who Would be King of America and Candidate Roots as Presidential Election Approaches

Roger Kearney and I found each other last year when I revealed Barack Obama's Irish roots and he's turning into a bit of a rock star in Ohio these days!

A few thoughts on famous cousins . . .
Palin may be related to Princess Diana and Roosevelt | Top News | Reuters

More on my adventures climbing George Washington's family tree . . .
The Associated Press: Texan is Washington's kin, and could've been king

Meet King Paul of America . . .
America's "Lost Monarchy": The Man Who Would Be King | Newsweek Culture

I LOVE this. Amazing stuff.

Where the Smolenyaks come from. They've got us as Gorale (well, a few folks in the village were, but that better describes the folks in the neighboring village of Velka Frankova) and Lemkov (yes, we are Lemko Rusyns). Welcome to my little corner of the world.

"The Graveyard Book follows the misadventures of a young orphaned boy named Nobody who lives in a graveyard. All of Nobody's friends are dead (or undead), so he's bound to get in a bit of bother here and there.";
OK, I'm curious.
Neil Gaiman Gives Away The Graveyard | The Underwire from Wired.com

Spotted by Joe Beine, the amazing genealogist behind deathindexes.com and other great resources . . .
Are You My Cousin?

This is blowing my mind!
Complete Genomics Will Sequence Your Entire Genome for $5,000 Starting in 2009 - The Genetic Genealogist

Presidential candidate Obama has Irish kin in southern Ohio - Openers - cleveland.com

More on Jefferson and Hemings . . .
Annette Gordon-Reed on the Sally Hemings Saga | Newsweek Books

Yikes! I'm an old-timer! Actually, that's a good thing . . .
kinexxions: A Salute to the Old Timers!

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview of Mark Halpern and David Mink

Leland's a hoot!
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview of Leland Meitzler

Angie's List Magazine

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview of David Lambert

Wow! What a story!
Laid to rest...after 65 years

It's a sign!
A lucky glimpse leads to piece of family history | TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA

Cool! This sounds like a terrific conference!
International Black Genealogy Summit

Thanks, Randy!
Genea-Musings: Happy 2nd Birthday, RootsTelevision!

Thanks for the shout-out, Blaine!
RootsTelevision Turns Two - The Genetic Genealogist

We let Annie in, but her memorial is locked out . . .
Irish Echo Online - News


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Ellis Island's Annie Moore Honored in Cork and New York

Annie Moore of Ellis Island fame was finally and properly commemorated in both Cork and New York last Friday and Saturday.

On October 10, 2008, a plaque was installed on the last house she lived in before coming to America. You can watch the reveal of the plaque and remarks made by the Lord Mayor of Cork and the U.S. General Consul in the following video. And you can see a charming rendition of what I think of as Annie's song by local children. Tim McCoy, who guided local school children in making a film about Annie last year, was also instrumental in this event.

Annie's Cork ceremony

On the following day, October 11, 2008, a memorial was dedicated to Annie in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, NY. Her family orchestrated a lovely event that included, among other highlights, Ronan Tynan singing Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears. The songwriter, Brendan Graham, came from Ireland especially for the event. Also present were about a dozen of Annie's descendants, the memorial designer, radio personality Adrian Fennelly, and Bishop Sullivan of New York. I was given the honor of speaking and had the unusual experience of reading a letter from Barack Obama who paid tribute to Annie on her special day.

Annie's New York ceremony

On a personal note, my life has been so hectic of late that I find that I'm only now absorbing the impact of these twin events as I write these words. Until two years ago, the wrong Annie had accidentally usurped the true Annie's place, but now, thanks to the efforts of her descendants, many of our descendants will remember Annie.

And though Brian Andersson and I tend to get most or even all of the credit for uncovering Annie's real story, the fact is that this came about due to the efforts of many genealogists who contributed their skills and talents. Tracy Stencil, Sharon Elliott and ProGenealogists.com all come to mind. I've touted them in talks and interviews, but they typically don't make it to the final version -- and heaven knows how many others were involved when we all blogged and surfed our way to the true Annie a couple of years ago. So to all those who contributed, thank you for literally correcting history.

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Geneological Round Up - October 16th

Like this naturalization index from Cook County, IL!
Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court: Search the Naturalization Declarations of Intention

Another fun toy to play with!
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Footnote.com Releases Civil War Widows' Pension Records

Wow! I'm a huge fan of 23andMe, so am delighted with this kind shout-out to RootsTelevision.com!
The Spittoon - Roots Television: The Internet TV Channel for Genealogists

Irish Echo Online - News

New Roots Tuesday, October 14 (Roots Television | Og Blog)

Annie Moore's memorial in Queens on October 11, 2008. Hope you enjoy it!
Free Immigration Genealogy Videos on Roots Television: family history, Ellis Island, Europe, Germany

Angel Island mostly saved by heroic firefighters!
Angel Island's 740 acres hold a lot of history

I agree with Blaine that the stats are what makes this interesting.
DNA Could Reveal Your Surname, Of Course - The Genetic Genealogist

Check out this video from Tim McCoy. It shows the ceremony that just took place on October 10th, 2008 (last Friday) in Cork, Ireland to honor Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island. A plaque was placed on the last house she lived in before coming to America. The Lord Mayor of Cork is there as is the General Consul from the American Embassy, and a charming bunch of school kids singing -- you guessed it -- Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears.
Free Genealogy Videos on Roots Television: New and featured family history video

Genealogy Today Launches Live Roots Meta Search Website

DNA Ancestry Blog: Ancestry.com DNA partners with 23andMe

My great-grandfather did something like this when he snuck my grandfather to his favorite church and had him baptized as James Patrick rather than James Vincent, but he never had the nerve to tell his wife because my grandfather spent his whole life thinking his name was James Vincent. Wonder how this fellow's wife is going to react?
Carter County man surprises wife, names baby Sarah McCain Palin

I've seen Dave's pottery on Antiques Roadshow a couple of times, so was intrigued to learn of this book.
Book Gives Master Potter--and Slave--His Due | Newsweek Books

This puts a smile on my face!
KPTH FOX 44: Local News and Entertainment for Sioux City and Siouxland | Unbelievable Discovery Keep

Snagged an interview with Sen. Paula Benoit during a recent conference I spoke at in Maine (go, if you're ever invited!). Sen. Benoit has a fascinating personal and legislative tale of adoption, topped off with a dash of serendipity. It's long -- over 20 minutes -- but check it out if you have time.
Free Genealogy Conference Videos on Roots Television: Lectures, education, presentations, workshops,

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Geneological Round Up - October 24th

Pringles urn. I'm not kidding.
Junk Food Container Urns - Inventor of Pringles Can Buried in One (GALLERY)

Folks are getting creative with their tombstones -- the last chance at self-expression, I guess.
Strange Graves - Very Unusual Tombstones (GALLERY)

Register here to be a DNA pioneer (but read about it first!)
Personal Genome Project - Homepage

Grady's "tickled to death."
Man wins prize for building his own coffin

Here's hoping lots of folks join me in British Columbia next March!
BCGS Blog » Blog Archive » Register now for Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak seminar, March 2009

Sounds like an interesting read.
China's New Working Class - washingtonpost.com

This caught my attention because I was asked about this just last week by someone who thought that perhaps I had been too free with my own genetic information. And what I share is nothing compare to what these ten are sharing with the world.
Meet my genome: 10 people release their DNA on the Web: Scientific American Blog

This just makes me smile.
He found a link to history in a wooden crate | TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA

Making a Living as a Personal Historian

For those who ask about adoptees being able to use DNA testing to learn about their roots . . .
More On Revealing Surnames Using Genetic Genealogy » The Genetic Genealogist

A thoughtful consideration of the role of genealogy and Facebook in our lives . . .
Genealogy, Death and Facebook - Government Technology

Thanks for the kind words, Randy! It was an honor to take part in the New York ceremony.
Genea-Musings: Absolutely beautiful - Annie Moore

. . . and Annie in New York (videos of both ceremonies).
Free Immigration Genealogy Videos on Roots Television: family history, Ellis Island, Europe, Germany

Annie in Cork . . .
Free Immigration Genealogy Videos on Roots Television: family history, Ellis Island, Europe, Germany

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White Night Rescue

I write a column for Ancestry Magazine called Found! and this is my latest article involving a slightly post-WWII romance. The photo below is the couple at the heart of the story.  I hope you enjoy this tale -- I sure did!

White Knight Rescue


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Upcoming Events

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!

For more information on these events, please see my Events Calendar. And if you're interested in scheduling me, just click here.

  • January 16-20, 2009 - Auckland, New Zealand - Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations 12th Australasian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry - Topics TBD
  • February 14, 2009 - Secaucus, NJ - Hudson County Genealogical Society - "Trace Your Roots with DNA"
  • March 7, 2009 - Surrey, BC - Surrey Public Library - "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "Introduction to Ancestry.com" and "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt"
  • April 18, 2009 - Anchorage, AK - Anchorage Genealogical Society - "Introduction to Ancestry.com," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "Find that Obituary! Online Newspaper Research" and "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt"
  • April 22-26, 2009 - Manchester, NH - The New England Regional Genealogical Conference 2009 - Topics TBD
  • May 30, 2009 - Marion, IN - Marion Public Library - "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "No Man Left Behind" and "Mini-Film Festival"
  • June 20, 2009 - Wichita, KS - Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies - "Trace your Roots with DNA," "Welcome to Roots Television," "Reverse Genealogy" and "Find that Obituary!"
  • September 11-13, 2009 - Spokane, WA - Eastern Washington Genealogical Society - Topics TBD

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Please forward this newsletter to your family and friends who are interested in genealogy -- thank you!

Wishing you an abundance of genealogical serendipity!
Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak


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