< Go back to newsletter archive

Honoring Our Ancestors
December 22, 2021


Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Happy holidays, everyone! I have the perfect article for you if you manage to find a few minutes of downtime. It's all about the real world "It's a Wonderful Life" (see the first link under Dec 8th) and is one of the most meaningful tales I've had the opportunity to be a part of.

You'll also find a podcast interview I did about my more than 20 years of helping the Army, the New Jersey Birth Index (thanks to Reclaim the Records!), and a sprinkling of genealogical flashbacks.

Enjoy and be sure to make some lasting memories!



Thanks, Santa

For reasons I won’t bore you with, I had occasion this month to open a box of Christmas ornaments that had been stashed away for 18 years. My husband and I oohed and aahed over some of them such as the White House Historical Association ornaments my mother used to give each year.

Then I found a pair of bendy Santas with blank spaces to put in faces of loved ones. I didn’t remember them at first, but had fortunately saved the post-it that came with them.

Dear Megan & Brian,

Aren’t these a hoot? Now every year when you put these on your tree, you can chuckle and think of me.

Aunt Bea

We lost Aunt Bea last year, so to stumble across them now was startling, but at the same time, comforting. It was as if they had been sitting there all these years waiting for this moment when a simple post-it from her would be the best gift I could hope for.

I instantly knew what to do. Aunt Bea and my mother, Seton, were very close, so I went digging through photos to find their smiling faces.

So yes, Aunt Bea, you can be sure that each year we will chuckle and think of both of you. 🙏

Back to top^

A Fun Gift for Genies

Just a little reminder of a fun gift for your fellow genies...

In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Baby.

Back to top^

Genealogy Roundup, December 15

Image Credit: VirtualHistorians.com

Never Forgotten: Using DNA to Repatriate Soldiers with Megan Smolenyak – Hey, y'all, I chatted with David Allen Lambert and Terri O'Connell about my 20+ years of working with the military to identify those still unaccounted for from past conflicts. Please consider giving this a listen!

Back to top^

Genealogy Roundup, December 8

Photo Credit: Mark Mulville / The Buffalo News

Sean Kirst: In Seneca Falls, a desperate leap and real-life angel tie in to 'It's a Wonderful Life' – Sean Kirst invited me yet again to jump into the middle of another amazing story, but little did either of us know what was waiting to be discovered. Please give this a read because you'll enjoy it. And yeah, "It's A Wonderful Life!"

80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor brings end to victim-identification program – Hey, y'all, I thought I'd clarify this since many are regarding it as bad news. The title doesn't really serve the content. They are wrapping up a specific project geared toward identifying the remains of those who were on the USS Oklahoma. 355 of the 400 have been identified over the last few years. All other repatriation and identification efforts will continue as usual.

She got all four of her grandparents to draw a flower. Then surprised them with a tattoo. – Love this. 🌸 🌺 🌹 🌷

Back to top^

Genealogy Roundup, December 1

Photo Credit: Public Domain

The Panthéonisation of Josephine Baker, the world-renowned performer, civil rights activist, and French Résistance agent – She earned this so many times over.

Introducing the New Jersey Geographic Birth Index, 1901-1929 – Hey, y'all, this is a BIG deal for those with New Jersey roots (like yours truly)! If you can, please consider making a donation to Reclaim the Records to support this kind of genealogical magic!

Back to top^

Genealogy Roundup, November 24

Photo Credit: New York National Guard

Airman Accounted For From World War II (McMackin, C.) – Unknown no more. Welcome home, Staff Sgt. Charles Garvey McMackin. Honored to have researched your family. (2014)

Remains of US Airman Killed In Action During WWII Identified – Another article on SSG Charles Garvey McMackin. Interesting to see someone has colorized a photo of him. I researched a number of cases from this operation, so am hoping there might be some more identifications soon.

Back to top^