Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter
March 10, 2009
By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
Catching my breath from a pair of whirlwind trips to Vancouver/Surrey, Canada and London, England (both of them were lots of fun!), so will keep this short. Please take a few minutes to watch the RootsTelevision.com video about the Haley family (yes, the Haleys of Roots fame) and their experience with DNA testing that led to the discovery of their Scottish cousins. I don't think you'll regret it. And if you enjoy it, please tell others about it! Thanks!
In this newsletter. . .
It was an exciting time this past week at WDYTYA? Live! Chris Haley, nephew of the late Alex Haley (author of Roots) and Director of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives, discovered he has ancestors in Scotland! Here’s the story.
At the 2007 FGS Conference, Chris Haley took a DNA test from Ancestry.com at the suggestion of Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. It was a fun test that produced one immediate match for Chris, although this person was listed as anonymous. Fast-forward about 18 months to the WDYTYA? Live! event in London last week.
Right before the event, Chris received word that his DNA test received another match, which led to the opportunity to meet his newly discovered Scottish cousin, June Baff Black. So the Haley family of Roots fame is Scottish! June, new to genealogy, had been exploring her family history for a mere three weeks when this connection was made! The two met for the first time in London.
The day after Barack Obama's inauguration, the New York Times published an article by Jodi Kantor about the "we are the world" aspect of the extended Obama family:
I was fortunate enough to get a fleeting mention in the article, making a few remarks about Michelle Obama's roots. And I always get a kick out of watching something I've played even a tiny role in popping up around the globe. Here, then, is the same article in:
Where our future is headed. Time to start getting smart about it.
Loved this. Thanks for posting, Laura and Cyndi.
Check out this contest to win an autographed copy of In Search of Our Roots by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.!
See you in Marion, IN. I think this will be the fifth year in a row I've spoken in Indiana!
Check out this line up of talks at Pratt Library in Baltimore, MD! I have the opportunity to speak there a year or so ago and had a great time. If you're anywhere in the area, you'll want to consider putting one or more of these talks in your schedule!
Wow, props to Highmark Blue Shield. Half a million for 150 oral histories.
My heart goes out to this family. 140 years of family history gone -- and likely because of some arsonist.
Getting excited about this as I'm a participant -- as is my physician!
Cool exhibit shedding light on Japanese-American family history.
Remember doing this local news segment, but didn't know there was an article until a gentleman mentioned in it contacted me!
Makes me sort of wistful. If only I had the time! Interesting find, Paula!
You can't make this stuff up.
I've kind of figured that this would be one of the fall outs of our current economic situation. If this describes you and you're into genealogy, be sure to check out www.RootsTelevision.com. Plenty of free videos for your enjoyment!
Unclaimed Persons is looking for volunteers to step into the role of Case Administrator. Please consider it!
If you're like me and enjoy history mysteries -- or if you're a Civil War buff -- check out this video about the attempt to identify the skeletons found in the turret of the USS Monitor. You'll have to turn to BBC's timewatch to see the whole thing (look for the episode called The Iron Coffin), but you'll see a few highlights here.
The amazing thing to me is that -- with only about a month for research -- it was possible to learn some things about James R. Fenwick that had been missed all these years. I especially enjoyed speaking with his great-niece in Scotland who had heard of a family member who went to America, but had no clue what had become of him. With something on the order of 60,000 books on the Civil War, I didn't think there was much new to discover, but I was definitely wrong about that!
Wow! Thanks to all the kind mentions we've been getting the last few days, we're up to 529 members!
If you'd like to help, please either visit www.unclaimedpersons.org to learn more or go directly to our group here on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1057803118&ref=name#/group.php?gid=24101365049&ref=ts. We have 493 volunteers at the moment. Perhaps you can help us get to 500! More importantly, we've solved 44 cases since last June.
Searching for relatives of unclaimed dead
Have to do see this the next time I'm in the area.
Congrats to our recent grant recipients! Don't forget that you can apply here.
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