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Honoring Our Ancestors
June 21, 2017


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Here's hoping this finds you already immersing yourself in summertime fun! While you're at the beach or traveling to some far away spot, why not take a few minutes to browse this issue? You'll learn about two new books that will appeal to genealogists (those interested in WWI/WWII and/or France will find them especially intriguing), one of the best genetic genealogy tales I've ever come across, heritage tourism, and a restaurant that features the specialties of a rotating staff of grandmas of every ethnicity you can imagine! And stay tuned - my 200th genealogical grant will be awarded soon!

Until next time!



My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War

2017 marks the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, a conflict often neglected in favor of World War II, which is unfortunate given that WWII is, in some respects, the offspring of the earlier conflict. Andrew Carroll’s My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War is the ideal book to help rectify this balance.

History buffs will know Carroll from his previous books including War Letters, Behind the Lines, and Here Is Where, and his personal mission to rescue combat-related correspondence, resulting in his founding of The Center for American War Letters.

In My Fellow Soldiers, he tells the story of America’s involvement in World War I by constructing a narrative timeline with General John Pershing as its backbone. Not surprisingly, he does this by turning to Pershing’s letters, which reveal a very different version of a man mostly regarded as stern and unflinching.

But this is far from a biography. Constantly interlacing with Pershing’s tale are snippets of letters and experiences from a wide array of other American participants. Some were fellow soldiers (e.g., Patton, MacArthur) while some were unknowns who would later become famous (e.g., Truman). Perhaps the most compelling are those we rarely hear from – African American soldiers and nurses, for instance – and Carroll devotes particular attention to them.

Those with a sanitized, movie version of World War I in their minds will also be confronted with the gritty realities of trench and chemical warfare, the designated “jaw ward” of hospitals, and recovery of remains after armistice.

The end result is a fascinating and humanizing overview of WWI and, one hopes, a healthy respect for our grandfathers and great-grandmothers who served.

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Seton Shields Genealogy Grants

When some people hear about my Seton Shields Genealogy Grant program, they ask who Seton Shields is. She was my mother and in her later years, she went on to become the rarest of creatures — a female CEO in the 1980s. To this day, she’s the only CEO I’ve heard of who could run a corporation by day and whip up a feast for a dozen or sew Halloween costumes for her grandchildren by night. The photo above shows Mom with the first of her grandchildren.

Watch for information about the next grant recipient (my 200th!) shortly. And then, I'll be considering applications for the third quarter of 2017, so here's a reminder to get yours in if you've been intending to. Submissions remain active candidates for six months from the date I receive them.

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.

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Genealogy Round Up, June 14

Image Credit: YouTube Screen Capture

Pixar's new film is a colourful celebration of family – Not-so-stealth genealogy in an upcoming movie

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Genealogy Round Up, June 7

Cape Girardeau, MO bride's 'something blue' makes internet say 'aww' – awww....

The 65 Symbols on US Military Tombstones

Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate – Marcel's Letters, that book I told y'all about a few months back when I blurbed it, has been released

Droga5 picked to take Ancestry.com's creative into the future – Any ideas? "tasked with shifting the brand's conversation from celebrating family origins to showing how consumers can use that information to help them make decisions about their futures."

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Genealogy Round Up, May 31

This Is the Winning Design for the New World War I Memorial – A century later...

No Man Left Behind: So grateful to be given a chance to become involved. LOVE doing this!

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Genealogy Roundup, May 24

Photo Credit: Underwood & Underwood [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War – Another great book from Andrew Carroll. Please consider reading it to gain a better understanding of American involvement in WWI, and what the experience would have been like for your grandfather, great-grandmother, or great-great-uncle.

Stories of New Orleans: As Monuments Go Down, Family Histories Emerge

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Genealogy Roundup, May 17

Dinner at Grandma's: The Restaurant Where Nonnas Rule – omigosh, I LOVE this! I would be at this restaurant 5-6 nights/week! (h/t Messy Nessy Chic)

Toronto woman unlocks identity of her father using genetic genealogy – One of the better genetic genealogy adoption tales I've read.

Why Heritage Tourism Is More Popular Than Ever – Not the best of articles (doesn't really deliver on the how-to bit), but still very relevant to our world

WWII Veteran United With Lost Love Letter From His Late Wife, Hidden Away in Cracks of NJ Home

Genealogist who helps heirs obtain fortunes in estate cases accused of using forged documents – Here's a rarity - a possibly crooked genealogist

Book Review Megan Smolenyak Who Do You Think You Are? – kind words about one of my books

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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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