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Honoring Our Ancestors
February 20, 2019


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Welcome to this month's genealogical mish-mash of the usual tales (e.g., DNA, military, reunions) accompanied by random pieces on topics ranging from vintage dishware to an unexpected and moving Lockerbie connection. Especially if you're among those coping with an unusually frigid winter, I hope you'll find something here to curl up with and peruse. Please excuse me while I go get the cocoa...

Until next time!



Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Revolutionary Ancestors

It makes perfect sense that someone who has as much respect for history as Lin-Manuel Miranda would be well acquainted with his roots, but I couldn’t help but be curious about them myself, so decided to climb the branches of his family tree. And what I discovered is what everyone already knows – that he’s Nuyorican, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage. Well, mostly.

One of the things I love most about genealogy is tripping across the unexpected and getting sucked into a historical wormhole you might otherwise never have explored, and that’s exactly what happened here. Before I came up for air, I found myself following the trail of an early nineteenth century, interracial love story, peppered by war and rebellion, all interwoven with a decades-long struggle to outrun slavery that began in Virginia and ultimately unfolded under a handful of flags even though most of it occurred in one place – Nacogdoches.

Click here to continue reading.

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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.

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, February 13

Photo Credit: Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post

The dish: Why vintage tableware is making a comeback in restaurants and homes – Hang on to your china! (but don't tell Marie Kondo)

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Genealogy Round Up, February 6

Photo Credit: Tumi

Zoë Kravitz joins her dad Lenny as they trace their family history to 'where it all began' in Bahamas for heartwarming travel campaign – So now roots travel is common enough that it’s being used to sell luggage. Lovely little video here featuring Zoë and Lenny Kravitz.

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Genealogy Round Up, January 30

Photo Credit: srasteria

81-year-old Irish woman delighted to finally find birth mum after 61 years – In case you haven’t heard this story yet - one of the Tuam babies has found her 103-year-old mother through DNA testing. Would love to know who the genealogist behind this is. Anyone know?

Soldier Recently Returned From North Korea Accounted For (Suliman, F.) – Welcome home, Sgt. Frank J. Suliman. He gave his life in Korea & his brother in WWII. Honored to have researched this heroic family.

2019 Sundance Film Festival - Ancestry & SundanceTV Present: Railroad Ties (Full Film) | Ancestry – Yes, it’s 23 minutes. Yes, it’s worth it. Please watch.

Sean Kirst: A lasting lesson in handwritten promise to meet in Lockerbie – Read this. Just read this.

Interactive Map Shows Where on Earth You’d Be If You Dug Straight Through the Ground – Well, this brings new meaning to that expression “get in the sea” because I tried several places I’ve lived and kept winding up in the ocean. Anyone find themselves on dry land?

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Genealogy Round Up, January 23

Photo Credit: University of Michigan SEAS

Hackers send thousands of DNA test kits to random strangers – Because life isn’t weird enough already.

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love – What happened to author Dani Shapiro isn't unusual, and that's exactly why you should read her latest, Inheritance. As genetic genealogists well know, long held family secrets are being exposed through recreational DNA testing every day. This is how she dealt with it, a story that will undoubtedly help others wrestling with similar experiences.

Bonus points that Jennifer Mendelsohn plays a brief but key role!

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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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