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Honoring Our Ancestors
February 21, 2018


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

This month brings the usual random variety of genealogical topics including pirate ships, a custom shirt I designed to protest the tyranny of the names-changed-at-Ellis-Island myth, genealogy in Turkey and Bermuda, Victorian hair, and a Northern Ireland village knitted out of wool. And once again, several heroes from WWII and the Korean War were identified and finally received long overdue honors.

Here's hoping it's not too chilly wherever you might be, but if it is, why not curl up with a cup of cocoa and browse for a bit?!

Stay warm!



Seton Shields Genealogy Grants

In honor of Black History Month, I thought I'd feature a past grant recipient who sought books about famous African Americans from the South to share with her students. Through this project, the students learned about Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and George Washington Carver.

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.

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, February 14

Chain Migration: What's Changed? - Warning: Mostly genealogical piece, but with political overtones. Reader discretion is advised. P.S. Bonus: a few little known photos of immigrants arriving in NYC 1890-1892

Dead man may tell a tale: Cape Cod museum tests DNA from pirate ship - yet another genetic genealogy tale and attempt to solve a history mystery

10 Things You Didn't Know about Rachel Maddow's Roots - P.S. If you happen to like this, would greatly appreciate it if you'd "clap" by clicking on the little gray hands at the bottom left of the article. You can do so up to 50 times. Thanks!

Turkey shuts down genealogy service after overload of inquiries - I remember way back when this happened to the Ellis Island site upon launch.

Where Old, Unreadable Documents Go to Be Understood - Raise your hand if you think you're pretty good at reading messy handwriting in old documents, too.

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Genealogy Round Up, February 7

Image Credit: Gray's new map of Baltimore / Public Domain

The Grim History Hidden Under a Baltimore Parking Lot - A sad and infuriating story, but props to genealogist Alma Moore.

A Sardinian Town Is Selling Its Historic Homes for $1.25 - If I had roots in or near Ollolai, I would be there tomorrow. Husband is half-Italian, so still tempted!

Private Island off the coast of Shetland - So today's ancestral homeland offer is for those of Scottish descent. Bad news: It will cost GBP 250,000. Good news: You get a whole island!

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Genealogy Round Up, January 31

Ancestry's new campaign is a bold Brexit musical about Britain's ties to Europe - Ancestry has seriously upped its advertising game. P.S. Did not expect to see Brexit Rickrolled.

Mike Pence's Immigrant Saga Makes a Case for Compassion - I've decided that I have to occasionally speak up, even when it's uncomfortable. I have a problem with the mean, I-got-mine-too-bad-for-you attitude that seems so prevalent these days, so when I spot inconsistencies, inaccuracies, or hypocrisy, I'm going to point them out.

The Lost Art of Victorian Human Hair Shrines - just wondering - is this a tradition we should revive or nah?

The Multicultural Family Tree of Bruno Mars - Given all his Grammy wins last month, I thought it was time to freshen up my piece on his multicultural heritage.

How "chain migration" brought us the Trump White House - This piece includes a shout-out to the research efforts of Jennifer Mendelsohn and yours truly.

Poised to make history, Justin Fairfax got a powerful reminder of his own heritage - Determined genealogist makes for exquisite timing.

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Genealogy Round Up, January 24

See an Entire Northern Ireland Village Knitted Out of Wool

Airman Missing From World War II Accounted For (Keown, R.) - Delighted to learn that a soldier I researched back in 2012 has been identified. Welcome home, 2nd Lt. Robert Raynes Keown.

Genealogist donates life's work to Bermuda - Wow, Clara!

Jewish Refugee Reunites With Neighbor - 80 Years Later - Reminder re: this new genealogy series on PBS

Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For (McDowell, W.) - I researched his family way back in 2006, so am especially pleased that Cpl. William C. McDowell who gave his life in the Korean War has been identified. Welcome home.

Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For (Quintero, A.) - This soldier's family was challenging to research,so I'm especially delighted that Pfc. Albert E. Quintero (Korean War) has been identified. Welcome home, Sir.

This is my quiet protest against the tyranny and relentlessness of perhaps the most widespread of genealogical myths. I had a t-shirt made with the words from a chapter from one of my books entitled, "No, Your Name Wasn't Changed at Ellis Island." So be forewarned. The next time you see me, I might be silently shouting at you.

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Genealogy Round Up, January 17

Photo Credit: Michael Ciaglo, Houston Chronicle

Decades after dying in battle, a World War II soldier is buried in home soil - The person who wrote this article apparently doesn't know that he enlisted at 14 and died at 16. RIP and welcome home, Pfc. Lonnie B.C. Eichelberger.

As China rushes forward, more people seek their roots - When zupu exist, they can sometimes take lines back 4,000 years or so. Just one straight line of guys, tho.

Napoleon's Heirs Include a Wall Street Banker, the Founder of the FBI and a Star Trek Actor - Based on the top photo, I suspect that Justin Trudeau might be a cousin of the heir apparent.

Betty White: White-Hot in Cleveland or Not - Happy Birthday to Danish, Greek, Canadian, English, Welsh icon Betty White!

Michelle Obama's Ancestors: The First Lady's Multicultural, Great Migration Past - Back in 2009, I had the honor of researching the remarkable roots of Michelle Obama. She stands on strong shoulders and has made her ancestors proud. Wishing her a Happy Birthday!

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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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