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Honoring Our Ancestors
October 22, 2020

www.megansmolenyak.com

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

This issue is jam-packed – partly because I got into quite a streak with genealogy-themed masks – but there's so much more! Irish pubs/funeral homes, bees, long-lasting toasters, a fellow who tried to marry his grandmother – and well, the list goes on. Here's hoping you'll enjoy browsing this roots-oriented potpourri!

Until next time, stay safe – and if you haven't already, please vote!

Megan

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Best Babyhood Ever

As the rest of the world commemorates what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, I celebrate my 60th. More or less confined at home. Not the circumstances I would have chosen, but just about all of us are apt to have pandemic-impaired birthdays, so no complaints. Still, a milestone like this makes one reflect, and the lack of distraction makes it even easier than usual to overthink, so I’ve been in mulling mode for a spell.

As a professional genealogist who’s spent the last few decades telling other people’s stories, I’ve decided that while I’ll continue doing so, it’s time to share some of my own. That may sound very ho-hum in a selfie-obsessed world, but it’s not a decision I reached lightly. Even as I type these words, the military-raised, Irish Catholic school girl in me is still harrumphing and wagging her finger for daring to place myself center stage. But 6–0. Tick tock. 217,000 extra deaths. TICK. TOCK.

As the hands of the clock continue to inch ever forward, I can’t help but recall lyrics from Lee Ann Womack’s Something Worth Leaving Behind:

I may not go down in history

I just want someone to remember me

That’s where I am today, but I doubt I’m an exception. If we’re honest with ourselves, I suspect all of us hope to be remembered, and particularly for the growing number of us with no children, leaving a trace won’t happen on its own. And so today I’m diving in as a birthday indulgence to share why I think I had the best babyhood ever.

Click here to continue reading.

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Genealogy Roundup, October 21


Photo Credit: Mark Mulville

Sean Kirst: For Audubon, forgotten handshake over honey turns into one sweet deal – Sean Kirst always finds the most intriguing people to profile.

"Charlie's conversation is filled with casual and admiring reflections about his bees, as if he were speaking of eccentric but determined neighbors." 🐝🐝🐝

Why Ireland’s Pub Owners Have Long Moonlighted as Undertakers – There's nothing not to like about this article. Also, this tradition needs to be resuscitated.

Joe Biden’s Irish clan hopes for White House triumph – Nice dive into Joe Biden's Irish roots and cousins! Lovely to get a shout-out as well.

Joe Biden could return to Irish roots as US president – BBC asked me about Joe Biden's Irish roots, but wound up quoting me about what sort of fellow he is, and I rather like that:

"And that right there gives you a little taste for Joe, he treats everybody the same. It doesn't matter what your station is in life. He really is the caring person that you see when you watch television."

Cuomo Unveils Statue of Mother Cabrini – patron saint of immigrants 🗽

Mary and the Púca – Where my fellow Irish Americans at? Or for that matter, anyone who just enjoys a good yarn? Give yourself a break and take a dive into this what-happened-next, Irish folk tale by Brendan Farrell! And while you're there, why not give him a follow on Medium, if you've joined? ☘️

Genealogy mask of the day #48: Tracing My Ancestors

Genealogy mask of the day #49: Seasonal offerings from an Irish millinery Little Rose Design

Genealogy mask of the day #50: Ancestor Whisperer

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Genealogy Roundup, October 14


Photo Credit: Seth Anderson

A county votes to rename Georgia elementary school after Michelle Obama – OMG! This is a school in the area Michelle Obama's great-great-great-grandmother, Melvina Magruder/Shields, came from! Honored to have discovered Melvina back in 2009. You can bet she's proud of her descendant!

Irish locals show their colours in Biden's ancestral home – Another fun piece on Joe Biden's Irish roots featuring his cousin, Laurita Blewitt.

Genealogy mask of the day #45: Sorry Can't Genealogy

Genealogy mask of the day #46: Nuyorican

Genealogy mask of the day #47: Lotus – (Thai)

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Genealogy Roundup, October 7


Photo Credit: Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times

After 71 years, their marriage — and that wedding gift of a toaster — endure – When marriages and toasters were built to last!

Genealogy mask of the day #40: DNA Test Says I'm 100% That Witch

Genealogy mask of the day #41: German Lederhosen

Genealogy mask of the day #42: Silently Judging Your Genealogy Skills

Genealogy mask of the day #43: Italian + Irish Perfection – (for my NJ peeps)

Genealogy mask of the day #44: Ghanian designs

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Genealogy Roundup, September 30

Genealogy mask of the day #35: Masked Family 1918

Genealogy mask of the day #36: Custom Flag Masks – (for my fellow Rusyns)

Genealogy mask of the day #37: Yukiwa (from vintage kimono)

Genealogy mask of the day #38: Where There's a Will There's a Genealogist

Genealogy mask of the day #39: Embroidered Flowers

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Genealogy Roundup, September 23


Photo Credit: Robert Ruffin Barrow, Jr., Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, La. / Public Domain

A Rare Day-by-Day Document of Life Aboard a Slave Ship

Greenway Conservancy Executive Director to become CEO of Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation – After 38 years, Ellis Island has a new CEO. As far as I'm concerned, Stephen Briganti is a miracle worker so I'm sad to see him go, but he's certainly earned his retirement. I wish Jesse Brackenbury much success. 🗽

In Lackawanna, a labor martyr's tombstone rises from the earth – Lovely update on one of Sean Kirst's stories.

Passenger Ship Posters – Cool! For those who subscribe to FindMyPast, they have a passenger ship poster search.

Genealogy mask of the day #30: Genome-01

Genealogy mask of the day #31: Tutankhamun – (for those with seriously deep roots)

Genealogy mask of the day #32: Eat Sleep Genealogy Repeat

Genealogy mask of the day #33: I Am My Ancestors Wildest Dream

Genealogy mask of the day #34: Woven Italy Flag

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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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