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Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter

January 15, 2009

By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Megan Smolenyak SmolenyakGreetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Hope you all enjoyed your holiday season! Here are a few of the gifts I received -- a genie cup, Family Tree, and of course, a black sheep! Now that I have these tools, I'm more than ready for 2009!

I'll be doing a lot of traveling this year, so hope to meet you in New Zealand, New Jersey, London, British Columbia, Alaska, New Hampshire, Indiana, Kansas or wherever! Here's wishing you an unexpected genealogical discovery to start the new year off right!


In this newsletter. . .

Genealogical Round Up, December 4

I'm participating in the Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative (CPMC) and thought folks involved in genetic genealogy might be interested in this update.
CPMC Update - 12/3/08

More serious pondering on the genetic genealogy front.
racismreview.com » Blog Archive » Race, Genomics & Health

Long-ish article, but worth it! Give it a read if you have a few minutes.
Lifetime, no see -- chicagotribune.com

A recent article I wrote for Ancestry Magazine about finding Barack Obama's Irish roots.
Ancestry Magazine » Found » The Quest for Obama’s Irish Roots

New CFO at Ancestry.com.
The Generations Network Appoints New Chief Financial Officer and Creates Corporate Development Group

Sounds like a great event -- maybe even for those who don't sport Scottish ancestry!

This seems to be a growing trend . . .
Searching For My Donor Dad - Forbes.com

Off the shelf DNA kits? Will have to check this out the next time I'm in London!
National Geographic Society Press Room: Press Release Detail

There have been a handful of articles about Michelle Obama's Carolina roots, but this notion of a bit of a clamp-down on her roots was news to me. Can't say how accurate it is, but share it simply because it's interesting.

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Genealogical Round Up, December 11

An Irish tease! I can see that the 1911 census for Counties Kerry and Antrim (and another -- think it might be Down) are joining Dublin shortly. Sometimes when I go to this site, it's just Dublin, but every once in a while, I can get in there and search the streets of Ballymoney for my missing Shields-folk. Can't wait until it stops playing hide-and-seek! (update: it's there now!)

Feeling artsy? Here's a creative family tree . . .

New videos on RootsTelevision.com - one on a Jewish family in Venezuela (Una historia, dos países: la saga de la familia Yecutieli) and another on Dan Lynch's new book, Google Your Family Tree. Enjoy!
Roots Television | Og Blog: New Roots Tuesday, December 9

Hmmm . . . maybe tri-generational households are making a comeback.
Washington Times - Grannies take top jobs at White House

Shades of Jurassic Park . . .
NewsHour Extra: DNA Discovery May Bring Long-extinct Wooly Mammoth Back to Life | December 9, 2008|

Talk about a small world . . .
The Genealogue: Hey, That's My Car!

Genographic Legacy Fund accepting applications for upcoming grants - Genographica

I wish this would happen to me! Might make all the traveling I do a tad more enjoyable!
In an Absolut World, Everyone Would be Welcomed Home

A remarkable resource. I found myself captivated by the names in the African Names Database.
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

I seem to post this about once a year. Haven't splurged myself, but I suppose it could make an interesting and highly personal gift for that person who has everything.
DNA Portraits: as Personal as Art Can Get - PC World

Thanks to Jimmy Kavanaugh for bring this to my attention!

Look what Chris Dunham (aka The Genealogue) has been up to!
The Genealogue: Who's Blogging Where

Juliana says it all!
24-7 Family History Circle » First World Archives Project Rolls Live: Wisconsin Mortality Schedules 

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Genealogical Round Up, December 18

Economists: Ancestral history explains roots of income inequality

I LOVE this article. Cameron is one smart, little boy.
globeandmail.com: Deck the tree in family history

No commercials on RootsTelevision.com for the holiday season!
Roots Television | Og Blog: We're Going Commercial-Free on RTV!

Hmmm . . . interesting concept!
Genealogy Insider - Search Burials and Cemetery Maps on New Site

If you're in the mood for a brief distraction, here's a 5-minute video about one of my orphan heirloom cases. It involved a photo album from the 1930s-40s that was found on the streets of Jerusalem and how it made it back to its original owner in . . . well, watch the video and you'll see!
Megan TV

Wonder if this is what Annie looked like . . .
From Ellis Island to eBay, it's a doll world - BloggingStocks

Captain Orr was one of the more challenging cases I've worked on.
Remains of Six Americans Killed in Vietnam War Come Home - Salem-News.Com

My kind of people!
A sailor's stone returns The Republican-American

Here's a case of genetic genealogy intermingling with genetic testing done largely for medical purposes.
DeCODE turning genes into medical practice | ZDNet Healthcare | ZDNet.com

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Mora. Anyone over 100 years old using the Internet is clearly a remarkable person. I extend both my sympathies and admiration to her family.
GenealogyBank - The Official Blog: Mora Evelyn Boone (1901-2008) world's oldest genealogist

I can't take any credit for working on this case, but this is why I love the work I do for JPAC.
Local News: A patriot's return - Charleston.net

Og offers ideas for genealogical gifting!
Roots Television | Og Blog: Og's Genealogy Gift Guide

Looks like Ukraine is getting cranky with my people. An independent Rusyn state of 700,000 -- now that would be a place I'd have to visit!
RT: Features : Ukraine gets tough with minority 

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DNA at Who Do You Think You Are? Live

The 2009 Who Do You Think You Are? Live event is taking place from February 27 through March 1, 2009 in London. And I'll be speaking on DNA. Click here for the details and to register!

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Genealogical Round Up, December 26

Interesting -- it looks as if we've got that last-survivors phenomenon going on here. You know how the general public tends to become interested when they realize there are only a few WWI survivors left (pick any conflict for that matter)? Now it's happening with orphan train riders. Whatever the cause, though, I'm glad this is getting attention beyond the genealogical world.
He rode the 'Orphan Train' across the country - CNN.com

Very interesting site that was new to me.
Funeral Planning / Memorial Help: Free Tributes, Community, Funeral Home Rating - Otrib.com

Long overdue honors . . .
Army to honor soldiers enslaved by Nazis - CNN.com

A Christmas shout-out to all my Slavic brethren!
Genealogy - Tourist Guide - Slovakia - Kosice - Bratislava - Guide to Travel Trip Hotel Info Roots F

Congrats to my Canadian cousin, Michael Zavacky!
O Toe-nenbaum!

IrishCentral.com - Irish America - Hibernia/ A New Dawn in American Politics

IrishCentral.com - Irish America - Hibernia/ A Celtic Cross for Annie Moore

Enjoyed this except for the missing website at the end -- a bit of a tease!
North Bay Editorials, Columns and Opinions on BayToday.ca

Have long been a big fan of Joe Beine!
Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records

The X chromosome is really tricky, but Blaine does a nice job with this summary.
Unlocking the Genealogical Secrets of the X Chromosome » The Genetic Genealogist

Chris finds the best stories . . .
The Genealogue: Piecing Together the Past

Just like to remind folks about this worthy group from time to time . . .
Unclaimed Persons

More genealogical goodies . . .
Genealogy gifts--totes, journals, t-shirts & more

See you in London!

That's an impressive majority!
80 Percent of Americans Favor Making Genetic Testing MORE Available » The Genetic Genealogist

Check out the article on Unclaimed Persons in the new issue of Ancestry Magazine (just click on the .pdf link here). If you'd care to join us, everything you need is on the Facebook page.
Unclaimed Persons - locate the next of kin for unclaimed persons - every life is worth remembering

What folks are saying about the terrific Bob Velke article.
Genea-Musings: "Making history personal" article about Bob Velke

Tim's happy we're commercial-free for the holiday season.
Genealogy Reviews Online: Roots TV - Commercial Free!

Read this. You won't regret it.
Old document's recovery yields clues to man's storied start - The Boston Globe

Bob Velke with his tools -- baltimoresun.com

Lucky Floridians!
Ancestry.com Launches New Florida Census Collection to Help Floridians Unearth Sunshine State Roots

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Honoring Our Ancestors Grants

Congrats to our recent grant recipients! Don't forget that you can apply here.  

October 2008
Pam Smith of Evanston, IL was so motivated by Alex Haley's "Roots," she started what would become thirty years of research into her family history. Pam discovered that she shared heritage with the Tikar tribe of Cameroon, Africa and will be taking a group with her for her second trip to the country in July 2009. Traveling with the group will be a Cameroonian video crew who will archive the experience. The grant award will support the creation of DVDs for each traveler with highlights from the trip. Congrats and good luck, Pam!

November 2008
The Germans from Russia Heritage Society in North Dakota is currently purchasing archival records from the former Soviet Union in an effort to gather information pertaining to the Germans that settled in the Black Sea region during the 1800s before migrating to North America. The grant award will go toward the purchase of a digital camera and computer system to handle records obtained from the Simperopol Archive.

December 2008
Yvonne Henriksson of SWEDENROOTS in Vegby, Sweden helps people in the U.S. find their Swedish ancestors. The grant award will be used to further her work in connecting people with information about the Swedish ancestors.

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Upcoming Events

If you plan to be near any of the events where I'll be speaking, I would love to meet you. It's always a kick for me when folks mention that they read this newsletter, my blog, Ancestry Daily News or whatever, so don't be shy about introducing yourself!

For more information on these events, please see my Events Calendar. And if you're interested in scheduling me, just click here.

  • January 16-20, 2009 - Auckland, New Zealand - Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations 12th Australasian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry - "Which DNA Test is Right For You?," "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt" and "Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options"
  • February 14, 2009 - Secaucus, NJ - Hudson County Genealogical Society - "Trace Your Roots with DNA"
  • March 7, 2009 - Surrey, BC - Surrey Public Library - "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "Introduction to Ancestry.com" and "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt"
  • April 18, 2009 - Anchorage, AK - Anchorage Genealogical Society - "Introduction to Ancestry.com," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "Find that Obituary! Online Newspaper Research" and "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt"
  • April 22-26, 2009 - Manchester, NH - The New England Regional Genealogical Conference 2009 - Topics TBD
  • May 30, 2009 - Marion, IN - Marion Public Library - "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "No Man Left Behind" and "Mini-Film Festival"
  • June 20, 2009 - Wichita, KS - Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies - "Trace your Roots with DNA," "Welcome to Roots Television," "Reverse Genealogy" and "Find that Obituary!"
  • September 11-13, 2009 - Spokane, WA - Eastern Washington Genealogical Society - Topics TBD

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Please forward this newsletter to your family and friends who are interested in genealogy -- thank you!

Wishing you an abundance of genealogical serendipity!
Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak


Note: You are receiving this because you have demonstrated an interest (e.g., you have a story in one of my books, applied for a grant, attended previous events, etc.) or subscribed via my website, but please let me know if you do not want to receive any further emails, and I will promptly remove you from my list. And rest assured, this is my personal list and not shared with anyone else! Thanks, Megan

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