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Honoring Our Ancestors
September 22, 2021

www.megansmolenyak.com

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

This month's issue is shorter than usual, but I hope you'll enjoy the fun I had playing with our ancestors' names, the lovely deep-dive by Sean Kirst (a journalist I occasionally do some sleuthing for) about a remarkable WWII vet, and the "huh, I didn't know that" story about Filipino Louisianans who have seriously deep roots in the state. You'll also find a smattering of assorted genealogical flashbacks that I hope will bring a smile.

Here's wishing all of you uncover an unexpected family history gem between now and the next issue!

Megan

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Name Game: Celebrities Have Nothing on the Rest of Us

Much has been made in recent years of the proclivity of celebrities to give their children unusual names. Who among us wasn’t at least a little befuddled upon first encountering the names Moon Unit Zappa, Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran, and Moxie Crimefighter Jillette? Contrary to popular belief, though, celebrities have nothing on the rest of us. Distinctive names have been with us through the ages. Want proof? I submit the following:

  • Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were far from the first to add an Apple to their family tree. A quick search reveals 76 Apples in the 1940 census and 28 in the Social Security Death Index (including Apple Pie Willis).
  • Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf named their son Pilot Inspekter in 2003, but Pilot Light of Tennessee was born 101 years earlier.
  • Paris? Dallas? Brooklyn? Naming offspring after locations is so 19th century. In fact, there were a whopping 2,323 people named Paris in the 1900 census, along with New Jersey Cannon, New Orleans Boice, Newark Berkowitz, Prague Sherman, Moscow Beard, Cairo Izard, Munich Miller, and Bombay Pasquale. Detroit Foreman, Detroit Francisco and Detroit Fausenfriend are listed in alphabetical order in one database I perused, and both England Bobo and London England liked their names so much that they passed them on to their sons.
  • One name that must have been hard to live up is Brilliant Victory, and I can’t help but wonder if folks consulted Gift King (now deceased) each holiday season for shopping advice. Several people named Prince Charming scattered across the U.S. likely also deal with name pressure from time to time.

Click here to continue reading.

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Genealogy Roundup, September 15


Photo Credit: Rhonda Richoux

The Challenges of Reclaiming Filipino Louisiana’s Centuries-Old History – I find these neglected pockets of our history fascinating. Glad to see some are making an effort to research, capture, and preserve the history of Filipino Louisiana.

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Genealogy Roundup, September 8


Photo Credits: Lea Bowie / Mark Mulville of The Buffalo News

Sean Kirst: Infant in wartime photo offers goodbye from afar, to an old soldier – Always fun to ferret out snippets of history that Sean Kirst then weaves into fascinating stories about "ordinary" people who are anything but. Give this one a read. You'll be glad you did.

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Genealogy Roundup, September 1


Image Credit: Ian O'Byrne

Why Readers Love Quebec Crime Writer Louise Penny – Just the other day, I was saying that I wished someone could “Vera” or “Shetland” Louise Penny’s series. Turns out it’s happening!

“There’s a television series for Amazon in the works, from the producers of The Crown.”

P.S. Her latest is brilliant and almost painfully relevant.

New POW/MIA Records Added! – It's a little strange to see these lists on Ancestry/Fold3 as they've been available online elsewhere for years, but perhaps it will help with awareness. This announcement features one of the tragic POW/Shinyo Maru cases, and I'm pleased to say that many of these men's families have been found - sometimes including relatives in the Philippines. Would be wonderful if it's possible to identify some of them. 🙏

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Genealogy Roundup, August 25

The only American to help lead a resistance group against the Nazis was a woman, executed in 1943. Her great-great niece unearths her story. – Imagine having this woman in your family tree.

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