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Honoring Our Ancestors
August 19, 2020


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

I'm really tickled with this month's newsletter because it has such a glorious mix of all things genealogical. Orphan heirloom reunion? Check (not just one). Kilts and tartan? Check. Serendipity (again, not just one)? Check. An interview I did with BBC radio about my own roots? Check again.

And the beginning of my mask series! I figure we've got to wear them, so let's make it fun. I've been diving all over the Internet to find masks with some sort of genealogical aspect and this issue has links to the first six. Here's hoping you find something that speaks to you - both among the stories in this newsletter and the genie masks!

Until next time, stay safe!



Finding Adelia, Val Demings’s Great-Great-Grandmother

Fellow roots-enthusiasts know that when you research a family tree — even when it’s not your own — there are always one or two ancestors who call the loudest, and in this instance, it was Adelia. This is what I’ve been able to unearth of her story.

Adelia didn’t even make it to 30, but experienced more in that short span than most do in lifetimes that last twice as long. And if she hadn’t existed, neither would her great-great-granddaughter, congresswoman and vice-presidential contender, Val Demings.

Adelia, who sometimes went by Delia, was born in Florida around 1843, and I first encountered her in the 1870 census with her husband and their daughter Melvina. Melvina would one day become Rep. Demings’s great-grandmother, but at this moment in time captured in the first post-Emancipation census, she was a toddler of three. The family resided in Mandarin, a citrus-producing village that would eventually become part of Jacksonville.

Fast forward a decade to the 1880 census and Melvina was living with her father and had acquired seven siblings, but Adelia was gone. In her place was Lourania, so what had happened to Adelia? I had to know.

Click here to continue reading.

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Genealogy Round Up, August 12

Photo Credit: New York’s Little Italy, c. 1900–10. Library of Congress/LC-D418-9351

How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained – "For whatever reason, foods and curse words linger longer in a disrupted language...If you can’t eat them or yell them, foreign words don’t often stick around."

Blue Jays make big league history in Buffalo, even if few see it – Did a bit of sleuthing with my friend Sean Kirst again. Fun baseball tale!

Genealogy mask of the day #1: I want 1890 back!

Genealogy mask of the day #2: Ellis Island

Genealogy mask of the day #3: Humorous Headstones

Genealogy mask of the day #4: Chromosomes

Genealogy mask of the day #5: Ancestors

Genealogy mask of the day #6: History Has Its Eyes On Us

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Genealogy Round Up, August 5

Photo Credit: John Michael Thomson / Unsplash

This woman hunts for photos and other treasures left in used books–then returns them to their owners – Fun piece about a woman who does orphan heirloom reunions!

Kiltmaker Kinloch Anderson's long history in tartan reveals a fascinating success story – My genie friends of Scottish heritage might find this of interest.

BBC Radio Ulster: Finding a playwright in the family tree – I did an interview with BBC Radio Ulster (about my own roots for once!), so now I'm apparently Marian Smolenyak! 😆 My bit runs from 12:03 to 12:10.

A woman was hospitalized with covid-19. One of her aides turned out to be her long-lost sister – Even pandemics have their silver linings!

Blackstone Reaches $4.7 Billion Deal to Buy Ancestry.com – Wonder how this will play out in the genealogy world 🤔

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Genealogy Round Up, July 29

Photo Credit: Walevska family

The mystery of a stolen rare cello has a surprise ending – Sometimes precious lost items come back into your life. 🙂

One of the original 'Rosie the Riveters' is now making masks to help defeat coronavirus – 94 and still serving her country!

Tenacious Mountie returns Surrey family’s heirloom – My kind of reunion story!

New York’s Tenement Museum, Indefinitely Closed, Lays Off 76 Employees – Nooooo... I love this place. Hope it can bounce back down the road.

How Many Records in the World have been digitized? A Cautionary Tale – Repeat after me: It’s not all online.

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Genealogy Round Up, July 22

The Deep Roots of an Italian Song That Sounds Like English—But Is Just Nonsense – Scroll down for what's one of the weirdest videos ever. And yeah, it does kind of sound like English.

What a towering figure of a man and what a loss to us all:

France: Old Storefront in Nimes Mask – For my fellow genies with French roots 😷 🇫🇷

The stuff genealogists trip across while researching. 🙄 This was from 1998. Odds that he's still swinging by himself? 99.8%

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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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