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Honoring Our Ancestors
July 25, 2018

www.megansmolenyak.com

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

I know this month will find many of you pummeled by heat and/or rain (yeah, me too), so I hope this newsletter will serve as a temporary diversion! This issue has my latest Seton Shields Genealogy Grant for a fascinating Irish-Basque project, a deep dive into Jimmy Fallon's roots, and the usual mix of stories featuring soldier identifications from WWII and the Korean War, DNA discoveries, and a promising new old-photo technique, as well as lots of other genealogical goodies. Here's hoping that one of these tidbits is exactly what you need to help you on your next roots adventure!

Megan

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Jimmy Fallon’s Family Tree


Photo Credit: Montclair Film Festival

Still in his early 40s, Jimmy Fallon has an impressive track record to look back on. His combined tenure at Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Tonight Show means he’s already logged two decades on air. Not bad for a Brooklyn-born, Saugerties-raised kid who launched his career at the Bananas Comedy Club in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Husband to Nancy Juvonen and proud daddy of Winnie Rose and Frances Cole, he’s a third generation James Fallon whose entire family tree was firmly planted in Brooklyn until his parents moved their branch about a hundred miles to the north. In the shadow of the Catskills, Jimmy and his sister, Gloria, enjoyed an all-American childhood complete with pets, visits with Santa, Catholic school, lots of snowman-building, trips to Lake George, proms, and grandparents (who also made the out-of-the-city trek) essentially in their backyard.

Perhaps his name and the proximity of his grandparents help explain why Jimmy self-identifies as Irish. Fans are frequently treated to light-hearted references to his heritage, such as this remark that’s familiar territory for many: “I try to get tan, but I’m Irish so I burn bright red?—?lobster red. But then it becomes a nice cinnamon toast color.”

But just how Irish is this affable guy-next-door who comes into our homes on a nightly basis? As a professional genealogist who’s peered into the Irish past of everyone from Joe Biden to Beyoncé, I decided to take a closer look.

Click here to continue reading.

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Seton Shields Genealogy Grant #206: Oisín Breatnach


Image Credit: SanchoPanzaXXI

My latest grant has been awarded to Oisín Breatnach.

Oisín sought and received funding to support him with the research, digitizing, processing of and archiving of information relating to the Irish between 1570 and 1920 from old documents in archives of the Basque country.

In his own words:

"Much of this information is unique and invaluable to researchers, both of Basque history and of the Irish diaspora. Many documents contain valuable information which does not exist in Ireland anymore because of successive centuries of wars and repression, and the ravages of time.

The files fill in important gaps in Irish and Basque genealogies and history. They contain for example, original birth and baptism certificates, genealogies going back in history, trade records, bills of exchange, information on merchants of the time, attestations by religious and civic members, wills, original signatures and more.

As the Catholic religion was repressed from the late 16th - late 18th centuries, records of births, marriages and deaths of the mainly Catholic population practically ceased. Some were recorded in secret for those hoping to start a new life abroad. The priest themselves risked being hunted, tortured and killed if discovered. They also contain information on the subsequent connection between the Irish and the Basques, through commerce, intermarriage and social interaction.

Many of these files are now in grave danger (due to bad storage in the past and at present, bad handling and the effects of time). Some of the documents are already badly deteriorated, others are reaching that state and will not bear much more handling. Lack of a restoration programme (as is the case in the Basque Country), and failure to fund documentation will result in the irretrievable loss of the information. Digitization and documentation NOW will protect them for future generations and students."

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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Genealogy Round Up, July 18


Photo Credit: The U.S. Army

Funeral Announcement For Soldier Killed During World War II (Rosenkrantz, D.) – Welcome home, Staff Sgt. David Rosenkrantz. Honored to have researched your family.

Soldier Killed During World War II Accounted For (Jenkins, W.) – Welcome home, Pfc. Willard Jenkins. Honored to have researched your family.

Three Myths About Your Immigrant Ancestors – Nicely summarized, Family Tree Magazine. Includes often overlooked "birds of passage."

Century-old messy divorce records unsealed – Ah, the old, fake caught-ya-in-a-brothel set-up...

Sean Kirst: A century ago, Western New Yorker helped turn tide in world war – Love sleuthing on tales that give a voice to the forgotten

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Genealogy Round Up, July 11


Photo Credit: The Gfeller Collection

The Mystery Man Who Spent 20 Years Photographing North American Buildings – Intriguing! You might want to check and see if any of your family towns are in this collection.

Bibliographical data and working with Special Collections – a list of links for white glove debaters

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Genealogy Round Up, July 5

Declaration Descendants – What Judy G. Russell said. “I said it before and I'll say it again: BEST GENEALOGY AD EVER.”

X-ray beam illuminates long-forgotten faces on damaged daguerreotypes – H/T Pat Richley-Erickson

Could DNA Testing Reunite Immigrant Families? Get the Facts.

Six decades after being told her mother was dead, she found her – ??????

Remains of Korean War veteran arrive in Houston – Welcome home, Sgt. John W. Hall. Honored to have researched your family.

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Genealogy Round Up, June 27


Image Credit: Ricardo Vidal

MyHeritage Offers Free DNA Tests to Help Reunite Separated Migrant Children with their Parents

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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.

  • May 7, 2019 – Morning Forum, Los Altos, CA

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