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Honoring Our Ancestors
November 28, 2018


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

I hope everyone reading this had a lovely Thanksgiving and took the opportunity to swap family tales with assorted relatives! In keeping with a theme of gratitude, this month's featured article is about the women in Stephen Colbert's family tree. Give it a read and you'll see what I mean. And as always, other topics include a genealogical smorgasbord of DNA, Army cases, TV shows, grants, and more.

I'm just back from a delightful trip to Hong Kong and Macau, and you probably won't be surprised to hear that I managed to sneak in a little research while there (what kind of genealogist would I be if I didn't?)! We also had the chance to attend Hong Kong's centennial commemoration of the armistice, a moving ceremony even if I weren't an Army brat with a grandfather who served in WWI. Speaking of travel, I'll be doing my first talk in a long time in California next year, so if you're in the area, please consider coming.

And finally, I hope you'll forgive the plug, but if you're looking for a fun gift for any of your genie friends, I hope you'll consider In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection, a feel-good book that will have any genealogist smiling and nodding in recognition.

Happy Sleuthing!



The Amazing Women in Stephen Colbert’s Family Tree

His mother, Lorna Elizabeth (Tuck) Colbert, bore and raised 11 children, the youngest of whom was Stephen. Tragically losing her only brother in the immediate aftermath of World War II and then her husband and two sons, Paul and Peter, in a plane crash in 1974, Lorna was able to do far more than persevere. As Stephen explained at the time of her passing, “Her love for her family and her faith in God somehow gave her the strength not only to go on, but to love life without bitterness, and to instill in all of us a gratitude for every day we have together.” Giving us a sense of her spirit and joie de vivre, he continued, “I know that it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, but the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish. It only magnifies the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut.”

The secret sauce of Stephen Colbert’s family tree is one of amazing women and the men who were smart enough to find and marry them.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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Seton Shields Genealogy Grants

Stay tuned for my announcement of the next grant recipient. Meanwhile, here's a reminder to get your grant application 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.

And be sure to check out this article, which 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, November 21

Photo Credit: PBS/Nova

Last B-24 – PBS documentary about CPT Lawrence Everett Dickson, a Tuskegee airman I researched for the Army. He brought an electric guitar to battle, so I especially appreciate his daughter's musical selection for his burial.

Who’s Behind That Beard? – Well, Facebook is still convinced that I'm my sister, but this is still cool!

Jeff Goldblum Is Going Back to His Roots – Who's going to watch?

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Genealogy Round Up, November 14

American caretaker at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial near Belleau Woods. I'm told that the photo was situated this way because he had lost his other ear in WWI. I'm the little girl and the photographer is my Dad, Col. George C. Smolenyak, USA (Ret.) and Vietnam vet.

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Genealogy Round Up, November 7

Photo Credit: Regional Command East

HBO sets Sareen Hairabedian’s “We Are Not Done Yet” for November – Veterans Day film that aired on HBO and was directed by a friend's close relative. Please check it out!

"The 40-minute film, which held its world premiere at the 2018 GI Film Festival San Diego, profiles a group of U.S. veterans and active-duty service members as they come together through a United Service Organizations workshop, led by poet Seema Reza, to combat current and past military traumas through the written word."

WWII veteran to be buried in Nebraska after 73 years – Welcome home, Sgt. Eugene G. McBride. Honored to have researched your family.

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Genealogy Round Up, October 31

Photo Credit: David Clow

20 of the Most Shocking DNA Test Discoveries—Exposed – Well, the title is unnecessarily sensationalistic, but this is a reasonably good summary of the kind of surprises you can get when you DNA test.

Merriam-Webster Time Traveler – fun toy alert!

Funeral Announcement For Soldier Killed During Korean War (McDaniel, C.) – Master Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel was buried October 27, 2018. He was one of the first two to be identified from the remains recently repatriated from North Korea. He was also the one whose dog tags were found. I researched his case back in 2004 and found his sons and other family members. One is a retired Army chaplain, so I suspect/hope he had a role in his father's memorial service.

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Genealogy Round Up, October 24

Photo Credit: Jen Rynda / The Capital

Our Say: Thoughts upon the long-delayed return of a native son – Can't tell you how happy I am to learn about this. Researching Cpl. James Ivory Jubb's case was daunting, and his family is so pleased. Welcome home, Sir.

P.S. Lovely photo sequence and this article is worth a read (as it happens in the Capital Gazette).

Using Machine Learning and Optimization to Improve Refugee Integration – 1st, very cool idea

2nd, they named it after Annie Moore of Ellis Island!

"a computational tool to help humanitarian aid organizations significantly improve refugees’ chances of successfully resettling and integrating into a new country"

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Genealogy Round Up, October 17

A Map of Every Building in America – Fun toy alert

Why Ted Cruz Should Welcome Immigrants

Veteran Kipina to be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery – Welcome home, Staff Sgt. Marhsall Kipina. Honored to have researched your family.

5 Things You Didn’t Know about Andrew Gillum’s Roots

Most White Americans’ DNA Can Be Identified Through Genealogy Databases – I doubt many of my fellow genies are surprised by this, but I wonder if any are concerned.

Cantor Arts Center and Stanford Libraries collaborate to make Warhol photography archives publicly available – Where my fellow Rusyns at?? Thanks, Tara Penelope Calishain!

ABC Nabs ‘Family History’ Genealogy Drama From Deborah Schoeneman & Mandeville As Put Pilot – It was just a matter of time, eh?

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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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