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Honoring Our Ancestors
September 23, 2015


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Greetings from sunny Florida where my husband and I are living in temporary quarters and the genealogical community has already welcomed me with open arms! This month's issue explores the topic of moving and the advice I received to #LeaveATrace. It's also heavy on Irish content and reunion tales, so if any of those appeal to you, please read on. Also, I'd like to thank those of you who have been kind enough to leave reviews on Amazon for my latest book, In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection. Can't tell you how much I appreciate that! Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got more exploring to do in my new neighborhood!



Leaving a Trace Behind, a.k.a., If Walls Could Talk

Last month, I shared that my husband, Brian, and I were moving from New Jersey to Florida for his new job. There's something about starting a new chapter that makes you look back for a bit on the old and I thought it would be fun to post a picture on Facebook showing my packed-up office and reminiscing about all the genealogical work that had been done there. I also shared that Brian and my neighbors thought I should sign the wall inside one of the closets and asked my Facebook community what they thought. The response was overwhelming! You can see the signature I left above and the Facebook post that inspired it below.

The experience makes me curious about how others have left a trace of themselves behind when they've moved. I'd love to hear your stories in the comments on my blog! #LeaveATrace

If walls could talk

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Seton Shields Genealogy Grants

As a reminder, I'm now awarding a grant once each quarter, rather than monthly — but you can apply anytime and submissions remain active candidates for six months from the date I receive them.

To see the types of cool projects I've had the opportunity to contribute to over the years, check out the retrospective posts on my blog featuring a number of them (or just go to megansmolenyak.com and do a search for "grants").

You can apply for a Seton Shields grant by filling out and submitting the form here.

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Genealogy Round Up, September 16

Woman Thinks She Just Bought An Old Sewing Machine. That’s When She Finds It Hidden Inside

Two Twin Brothers Separated Since World War II Have Finally Been Reunited

Weekly Comment: Biden and Colbert’s Emotional Late Show Interview – Two of the most decent men I've ever met - both devout and kind, Irish Catholic, tested by tragedy, and raised by remarkable women. And both have been beyond gracious to me. Am privileged to have researched their roots.

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Genealogy Round Up, September 9

From Irish America Magazine – Stephen Colbert: One Last Report (It’s Genealogical) – That's young Stephen (wearing the jumper) in the photo above, with his parents and ten older siblings, 1968.

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Genealogy Round Up, September 2

Family of tragic Leeds war hero reunited with heart-wrenching letter

The Woman Who Held Hitler's Teeth – This is a new one on me . . .

First World War bracelet mystery solved after 30 years

Mary Pat Kelly on writing her way back to her roots

Irish American family saves their ancestors’ pub in Ireland

Malachi Kirby Joins 'Roots' Remake as Kunta Kinte – Not sure how I feel about this remaking-of-Roots . . .

Jimmy Fallon’s Irish roots uncovered

Family who have run the same pub for 100 years are raising a glass to their success and have no intention of calling last orders

Tom Bergeron speaking of one of his ancestors in his episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" - "Someone dead for over 300 years - if you're willing to listen - can teach you things about what you're doing now"

Farmers from Cork invented Irish dancing to kill mice* – According to John Oliver, “There is absolutely nothing more fun than lying confidently about history.”
*According to a new John Oliver book.

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Genealogy Round Up, August 19

Music video showing Irish people opening up about dead loved ones becomes instant hit – I almost shouldn't post this because it could break your heart, but I also thought it was pretty darn wonderful . . .

DNA said to prove President Warren Harding had love child – I had done some work on this case about a decade ago, back and forthing with John Dean who had written a book on President Harding, but at the time, there was an elderly family member alive who didn't want to go forward, so we honored that request - but can't say I'm surprised at the outcome.

Italian woman who was made to give up a baby she had with a Nazi soldier is reunited with her long lost daughter after 71 years – can never get enough reunion stories . . .

From Alias to Zeppelin, 57 words you won't believe have been used as baby names – fun for future genealogists!

Mayo baby creates unique family history – finally . . . a girl!

Virginia Beach man spent years looking for his biological mother – another happy reunion story!

Image Credit: Stephanie Rainey, via YouTube

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Upcoming Events

After traveling around and speaking in 40 states and half a dozen countries since 2000, 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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