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Honoring Our Ancestors
October 17, 2018


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

This month, I've got a typical (for me, at least!) random, genealogical mishmash of military identifications, NYC and Baltimore Catholic records, a library for sale, and the bold genealogist who stared down Russian hackers and won. I also give you a sense of my mother, the namesake of my grants program, and a delightful video featuring a Y-DNA history mystery. Here's hoping you'll find something interesting to peruse while you're sipping that morning coffee.

Happy Fall!



DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Fathers

Bob Zins grew up believing that the man who raised him wasn't his father, but was that really true? Would DNA testing confirm or disprove the whispered tales? See how he used Y-DNA testing to get an answer long after his maybe-father passed away.

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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 I shared the image above just before the 10th anniversary of the day we lost her. I hope these little life lessons she left me with will give you at least a hint of the kind of person she was. Very fortunate to have been her daughter.

I'll be considering applications for my next genealogy grant before long, 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.

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, October 10

Photo Credit: Jeff Stvan

Chance encounter with train guard helps widow, 85, solve mystery of where her grandfather was buried after he was killed during World War One

Content for Humans About the Content of Humans – While I agree that this Ancestry-Spotify pairing isn’t much more than a cute marketing ploy (and I say that as someone who uses both independently on a daily basis), I’m also surprised it’s being taken so seriously.

I tried it the day it appeared, quickly realized it was generic, and moved on. But some folks are analyzing this as if it’s some sort of serious social phenomenon.

That said, I really wish they had used this opportunity to find hybrid songs that had some blended aspect like our ancestry. As someone who’s part Irish and part-Slavic, for instance, I would have been charmed to find songs from “Once” on my playlist instead of just a bunch of Irish and a bunch of Russian ones. Spotify already made that kind of thing easy.

Me with American caretaker of Aisne Marne American Cemetery near Belleau Wood. (Photo below) He served in WWI, married a French woman, and stayed to "take care of my buddies." With 100th anniversary of Armistice Day approaching, seemed a good time to share.

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Genealogy Round Up, October 3

Photo Credit: Daniel Huizinga

Coming Home – Interesting perspective of memorial service for Pvt. Willard Jenkins, a soldier from Scranton I researched for the Army (WWII). Now he's truly home.

A Grandmother’s Clutter Is Transformed into Intricate Dioramas in This Magical Realist Film – I've posted about this before, but thought it was worth sharing.

Rohrabacher Rewind: He’s Even Stranger Than You Think

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Genealogy Round Up, September 26

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michael O'Neal

US identifies first two US soldiers from Korean War remains – One of the two sets of remains just identified from Korea was a soldier I researched way back in 2004. A short while ago, his sons (one of whom is a retired Army chaplain) received his dog tag. And now, they have him back. Welcome home, Master Sgt. Charles Hobart McDaniel.

Scranton native killed in 1944 identified, will be buried Sept. 26 – Welcome home, Pfc. Willard Jenkins. Honored to have researched your family.

Here's what's new on Findmypast – Hey, genealogy peeps with any Catholic heritage, this is kind of a big deal - especially if you have Baltimore or NYC roots.

Nevada woman has new reason for hope on MIA/POW Day – Briana Erickson and I spoke for over an hour as part of her research for this article. Am delighted to be included.

Stop Everything, Check out this Forgotten Library For Sale – If I lived in Indiana, it would be hard to resist this!

Russian hackers no match for digital archivist – Tom Tryniski is even more amazing than we all thought.

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Genealogy Round Up, September 19

Photo Credit: Pierre Ducharme/The Ledger

Family mystery solved in Polk County – Lovely reunion tale

One Less Secret for Rick Scott – My latest piece. Curiously, I couldn't find any source ever mentioning even Rick Scott's birth name - in spite of the fact that he's been Florida's governor for almost 8 years.

The Roots Recipe for Betty White

U.S. Citizen Deaths Overseas – OK, this is a bit morbid, but still interesting. There's a database of non-natural deaths of Americans abroad - not their names - but place and cause of death. It starts in Oct 2002 and goes through June of this year at the moment. I selected June 2018 just to get a feel for it, but was brought up short when I spotted what was clearly Anthony Bourdain's entry. :( It's mostly accidents, drowning, drugs, homicide, and yes, suicide. Also things like disaster and execution (only spotted one of them so far). And not surprisingly, if you focus on places like Iraq and Afghanistan, you get a lot of "terrorist action" due to the presence of our military.

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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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