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Honoring Our Ancestors
September 19, 2018


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

I'm pleased to say that this month's issue is heavy on soldier identifications which have been announced at an astounding rate lately. You'll also find my latest Seton Shields Genealogy Grant (take a bow, Lady Liberty!), a preview of an intriguing archaeology-genealogy mashup film, an article on genealogical tourism that features yours truly as well as photos shared by some of my awesome readers, good news about more New York City vital record indexes that will be coming online by early next year, and the latest genetic genealogy podcast launch. Phew! That should be plenty until October!

Until then, Happy Sleuthing!



7 Things You Didn’t Know about Prince’s Roots

It’s still hard to believe that Prince Rogers Nelson—better known simply as Prince—is no longer with us, though his music and talent will linger forever. As he would have turned 60 this year, it seems a fitting time for a modest tribute looking into his past—and by that, I mean his pre-Minnesota, pre-purple, ancestral past. Here are a few of the discoveries I found scattered in the branches of his family tree:

  • Among the surnames that appear in Prince’s family tree are Bonnell, Brooks, Hardy, Head, Jenkins, Nelson, Phillips and Shaw, so those sharing these names could be related.

List of Freedmen “that desire land under the provision of the homestead act” including Presley Shaw, Prince’s great-grandfather, Sept 1866, Bienville, Louisiana (FamilySearch). Please help transcribe these valuable records.

  • As with other gifted musicians such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Prince has a concentration of Louisiana roots. In fact, all four of his grandparents were born there, though Minnesota, Georgia, Arkansas, and North Carolina can also claim a piece of his heritage. Within Louisiana, Prince has roots in Claiborne, Webster, Bienville and Lincoln parishes. More specifically, the towns of Homer, Cotton Valley, Arcadia and Vienna, are all ancestral hometowns.
  • Twins run on both sides of Prince’s family. His mother was one, and there were also twins in the Nelson branch on his father’s side.

Click here to continue reading.

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Seton Shields Genealogy Grant #207: Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

I'm delighted to announce this quarter's grant in support of the Statue of Liberty Museum that's being constructed by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. So many of our ancestors' first glimpse of America was Lady Liberty and her iconic image has become a symbol of freedom admired around the world. I'm excited to make a modest contribution to a museum that will tell her story to our descendants for generations to come.

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, September 12

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Seth Coulter

Through fragments of long-lost lives, lab aims to give military families a measure of peace – Honored to have researched 1,332 soldiers to date for this repatriation initiative.

Korean War veteran’s remains identified 67 years later – Stunned. I did this case in 2003. Welcome home, 1st Lt. Herman L. Falk.

Soldier Accounted For From World War II (Fitzgerrell, R.) – Welcome home, Tech. Sgt. Robert J. Fitzgerrell. Honored to have researched your family.

His widow never remarried even though she outlived him by half a century, and it was necessary to research back to 1820 to find mtDNA. Grateful he's been identified.

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Genealogy Round Up, September 5

306 Hollywood Preview Clip – I'm intrigued. Archaeology-genealogy mashup. h/t Allison Gilbert

Genealogy tourism picks up as people set off in search of their roots – Remember the other day when I asked for photos of your genealogical travels? Well, congratulations, Mary Ann Dewees Moffett, you're now in a newspaper in India!

Congrats also to Joe Grandinetti whose image of the marriage record of his great-great-grandparents, John Quinn and Margaret Kielty - also made it in there!

Soldier Killed During World War II Accounted For (Boegli, W.) – Welcome home, Pvt. William Arnold Boegli. Honored to have researched your family.

Meet the GU272: A digital exploration of Georgetown's history of slavery – Check out this remarkable digital display/interpretation

Friendly Fire: The Unexpected Family History of the NRA’s Spokesperson

Tracing the Tribe: Jewish Genealogy on Facebook – Another awesome resource coming our way before long!

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Genealogy Round Up, August 22

Photo Credit: James Griffiths, Paula Hancocks and Sophie Jeong, CNN

Korean reunions: Tears as mother and son meet for first time in 68 years – I cannot imagine what it must be like for these families to be separated for so long.

Immigration hardliner Ron DeSantis’ great-great-grandmother was nearly barred from America – First time in my (newish) local paper.

Why UC Riverside, local students are writing life stories of veterans buried at Riverside National Cemetery – Worth a read! Thanks, Tara Penelope Calishain!

23andMe partners with iHeartRadio on celebrity podcast series – "Spit."

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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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