< Go back to newsletter archive

Honoring Our Ancestors
August 21, 2019


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Those of you who have been following for a while - reading my stuff, watching my talks, or whatever - know that I often say that our ancestors want to be found as much as we find them, and that occasionally, they find a way to make themselves heard. A classic example just happened to me, so I thought I'd share it with you.

I was mulling over what to feature in this month's issue, and having realized recently that I'm not very good at reminding folks about my books and videos, decided to select a video from my YouTube channel. Immediately, I was drawn to Down Under: William & Nancy Ashley of Tampa, Florida, a touching tale that features renowned genealogists George Morgan and Drew Smith, the much beloved Genealogy Guys. We filmed this some years ago, but it remains one of my favorites.

Just minutes after I made this decision, I heard from George who wanted to share something he thought I'd be interested in - a fresh article about the very cemetery where we had taped. Its second sentence mentions half of the couple featured in our video. Clearly, William and Nancy Ashley approved of the video selection, and I hope you will, too!

Until next time, keep on sleuthing!


P.S. All the usual goodies are here as well - DNA, soldiers identified, happy reunions, and the like!


Down Under: William & Nancy Ashley of Tampa, Florida (VIDEO)

In this video, join The Genealogy Guys, George Morgan and Drew Smith, as they explore Oaklawn Cemetery in Tampa, Florida, and tell the story of William and Nancy Ashley, whose tombstone describes them as "master and servant," but goes on to reveal more about the true nature of their relationship:

"Faithful to each other in that relationship in life, in death, they are not separated. Stranger consider and be wiser, in the Grave, all human distinction of race or caste mingle together in one common dust. To commemorate their fidelity to each other, this stone was erected by their Executor, John Jackson."

What makes this especially remarkable is that this tombstone was erected in the 1870s.

Back to top^

Seton Shields Genealogy Grants

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)!

Seton Shields, pictured above, is my remarkable mother. Naming this grants program after her is one small way to keep her memory alive, though she’s no longer with us.

Back to top^

Genealogy Round Up, August 14

Photo Credit: Liu Hongbin for The L.A. Times

One is Chinese. One is American. How a journalist discovered and reunited identical twins – Remarkable reunion!

Back to top^

Genealogy Round Up, August 7

Photo Credit: Photography by Levi Mandel, Illustration by Ariel Davis

How Ancestry.com’s Find A Grave Encourages Bad Actors and Bad Data – How mostly non-genealogists see FindaGrave - but also, Amy Johnson Crow!

William & Mary gets $1M grant to research links to slavery – So that's Georgetown, University of Virginia, and William & Mary so far. Who else?

Soldier Accounted For From Korean War (Phy, H.) – So glad that Corporal Herman Raymond Phy has been identified. Had the opportunity to correct some previous research errors and find his relatives. Welcome home, Sir.

Sweden's 'Book Boat'

5 locations that are special to Irish-Americans in Ireland – I had a little something to do with two of the locations (Moneygall and Cobh) as it happens - not bad!

Mail-in DNA test results bring surprises about family history for many users – This and a number of other interesting stats about genetic genealogy

“About four-in-ten (38%) say they were surprised by what their DNA test results showed about what countries or continents their ancestors came from, while 27% express surprise at what these results indicated about their ancestors’ racial or ethnic background.”

Back to top^

Genealogy Round Up, July 31

Photo Credit: Enjoying a book and a snack in a Lower Manhattan cemetery. Library of Congress / LC-DIG-ggbain-19433

Remembering When Americans Picnicked in Cemeteries – Who's for resuscitating this pastime??

'Finding Your Roots’ enlists Melissa McCarthy, Eric Stonestreet

Back to top^

Genealogy Round Up, July 24

Photo Credit: Chambly Photos/Facebook

'He was the love of her life': Lost WW II love letter makes its way home

Found: 15 Wallets From the 1940s, Stolen and Stashed Behind a Bathroom Wall – Can't get enough of this kind of stuff.

5 Things You Didn’t Know about Megan Rapinoe’s Roots – "As to the Italian and Irish towns that get bragging rights for Megan Rapinoe, take a bow, Lanciano and Ripacandida, Italy, and Treanacally and Kilrooskey, Ireland!"

'It floored me': Women born in South Korea and adopted by two different Michigan families discover they are sisters on a genealogy website and grew up only 30 minutes apart – Cool reunion alert!

DC twins with names 'Lunar' and 'Apollo' born during moon landing, 50 years ago – History's embedded in their names.

60 descendants gathering to re-enact family photo from late 1800s – an idea worth borrowing

World War II soldier from Baltimore accounted for after going missing in combat in 1944 – Welcome home, Pfc. Raymond H. Middlekauff.

Ukraine’s Soviet archives are opening up – and changing memory politics – Wondering how many relatives I might have in these records.

Kate Winslet reveals her mother urged her to contact Who Do You Think You Are? as she lay dying

Back to top^

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.

Back to top^