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Honoring Our Ancestors
June 26, 2019

www.megansmolenyak.com

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Wow, what a busy month! This issue as always is loaded to the gills with all sorts of genealogical goodies: traditional and genetic reunion tales, a flurry of past conflict soldier identifications, video of Oprah's remarks at the opening of the new Statue of Liberty Museum (yours truly was lucky enough to be there to capture it!), a pair of quirky articles about George Washington's genealogy and his personal interest in it (not to mention, who would be king or queen of America today if he had been king instead of president), and a fun podcast I did with Amy Johnson Crow. Folks have really been enjoying this interview, so please consider giving it a listen - ideally, while you're lazing about on the beach or by a pool somewhere!

Until next time, keep on sleuthing!

Megan

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Memorial Service of Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson (VIDEO)

Killed in a WWII plane crash on December 23,1944, Tuskegee Airman Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson was recently recovered in Europe and identified by DPAA 75 years after his loss. His daughter chose to have him buried at Arlington National Cemetery. She, family members, Tuskegee Airmen "Red Tails," and many others were on hand to honor his memory and service. I'm honored to have had the privilege of researching his family for the U.S. Army.

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The Louisiana Roots of Leah Chase, Queen of Creole Cuisine

We’re mourning our loss, but there’s a party in heaven because Leah Lange Chase has gone to join her ancestors, who are no doubt celebrating her arrival with a second line.

Even in her mid-90s, legendary chef, restaurateur, activist, and patron of the arts, Leah Chase, didn’t slow down. The New Orleans luminary could be found everywhere from the National Museum of African American History & Culture to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ video.

Though she was entirely self-made, an exploration of her heritage makes her seem almost pre-destined to be a stand-out representative of her home state. After all, her family history is the history of Louisiana.

Click here to continue reading.

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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, June 19

This Long-Ignored Document, Written by George Washington, Lays Bare the Legal Power of Genealogy – Fascinating on multiple levels

King Me! – Sharing this since George Washington's genealogy has been circulating recently. I was asked to figure out who would be king of America today if he had been king instead of president. Fried my brain, but I did it! All hail, King Paul.

Soldier Accounted For From World War II (Drovis, S.) – This case was extremely challenging, so I'm so glad he's been identified. Welcome home, 1st Lt. Seymour P. Drovis (originally Drozdowitz). Honored to have researched your family.

This reunited family's story begins with a romantic night at Crystal Beach – reunion with a little commentary from yours truly

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Genealogy Round Up, June 12


Photo Credit: Mississippi State Penitentiary Photo Collections

A Brutal Inheritance – This reminds me of a mystery in Cory Booker’s family tree that I solved with a combination of traditional and genetic genealogy. Interesting read.

Beer Is Just One Reason Everyone Gets Along At Sugar Creek's Annual Slavic Festival – OK, look. I'm happy to see them wearing kroje. But HELL TO THE NO, AN ELLIS ISLAND OFFICIAL DID NOT ADD THE O' IN FRONT OF YOUR SLAVIC SURNAME!!!

*This has been a public service announcement from a fed up genealogist.*

NatGeo Discontinues Genographic Ancestry Kit Sales, Will Shutter Service by End of 2020 – RIP, NatGeo Genographic.

Woman Uncovers Family History At Lansdale Vintage Store – Thank goodness she held on to these treasures.

Spanish-American War medal uncovered in Sarasota by man's metal detector – Another cool reunion tale.

Oprah's Keynote at Statue of Liberty Museum Opening – Oprah's speech at the opening of the Statue of Liberty Museum on May 15, 2019. Her initial comments pertained to Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) who spearheaded the efforts to raise funds for the museum.

She remarked on Lady Liberty's long-held association with immigration and the American dream, but also addressed the myth vs. the reality - citing the fact that women couldn't vote, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Jim Crow. "Make no mistake," she said, "Lady Liberty's spirit of inclusion did not extend to people of color."

Speaking of America's path, she stated, "The wheel is still in spin." Her speech is ultimately a call to action reminding us that the quest for freedom and the American dream are up to us: "Freedom is what our ancestors died for, and it's what they lived for, and what we must fight to preserve."

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Genealogy Round Up, June 5


Photo Credit: Carina Bergfeldt/SVT

A Swedish journalist lands her biggest story ever: Her secret American brother

Marie Kondo's advice for decluttering threatens the cultural heritage of refugees like me – Not just for refugees - save the heirlooms!

Reunited with family history – Diving for (family) treasure

O Say Can You See – Amazing resource for researching those who were enslaved in DC & MD, as well as others involved in their freedom lawsuits

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Genealogy Round Up, May 29

A Memorial Day Tribute to Dad for his Service in Vietnam

Army Repatriation: Bringing Them Home – I *loved* chatting with Amy Johnson Crow about my repatriation work with the Army, so hope you'll consider giving this podcast a listen. Thanks, Amy!

The Statue of Liberty was created to celebrate freed slaves, not immigrants, its new museum recounts

Remains of Korean War vet travel back home to Dublin – There has been a burst of identifications, so please bear with me as I post each of the recent IDs - starting with CPL James Cordie Rix who was only 17 when he died. He was one of my first cases. Believe it or not, I researched his family in 2000. Welcome home, CPL Rix.

Soldier Accounted For From Korean War (Woods, R.) – Welcome home, Pfc. Roger Lee Woods. Honored to have researched your family (2010).

Soldier Accounted For From World War II (Ross, D.) – Welcome home, Pfc. Dale W. Ross. Honored to have researched your family (2013).

Soldier Accounted For From Korean War (Lawler, C.) – Welcome home, Cpl. Charles "Chuck" Stanley Lawler. Honored to have researched your family (2005).

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Genealogy Round Up, May 22


Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias

DNA test uncovers D-Day love story 75 years later – THIS. This is the magic of genetic genealogy.

Below: An evening shot of the Statue of Liberty Museum. Note the torch in the windows area near the center. Off to the right is NYC. They've done an amazing job with the new Statue of Liberty Museum, so please visit when you can. You won't be disappointed, I promise!

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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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