< Go back to newsletter archive

Honoring Our Ancestors
February 19, 2013

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Genealogy truly has gone international, hasn't it? At the moment, I'm juggling cases in Ukraine, Kuwait and Northern Ireland. What would have been extraordinary a decade ago is just another week at the office now. But if you're looking for something extraordinary – and international – why not join us on the Legacy Family Tree Panama Canal cruise later this year? I, for one, am already in countdown mode!

In the interim, please join us for my (free) Feb 27th webinar about Annie Moore of Ellis Island, also hosted by our Legacy friends. That way, you can do a bit of traveling without even leaving your chair!



Hey, Prince, Your Roots Are Showing

Prince Rogers Nelson, better known simply as Prince, has the music world intrigued with the series of singles he's been releasing -- most recently, Breakfast Can Wait. Will a full-fledged album be far behind? We can only hope. But while we're in wait-and-see mode, I thought I'd take a peek into his past -- and by that, I mean his pre-Minnesota, pre-purple, ancestral past.

Click the link below to read the full article and see a few of the discoveries I found scattered in the branches of his family tree.

Read full article here.

Back to top^

What If Ed Koch's Father Had Been Turned Back?

As we mourn the passing of larger-than-life mayor, Ed Koch, who loved New York City so much that he spent $20,000 to ensure he would be buried there and never have to leave, it's worth remembering that his immigrant father, Leib (later Louis) Koch, was detained upon arrival at Ellis Island.

For whatever reasons, this furrier from Horodenka, now located in Ukraine, was regarded as potentially "LPC" - likely to become a public charge. In other words, officials feared that he wouldn't be able to support himself. Fortunately, he made it through his special inquiry and was released after just one day on June 19, 1910. Fourteen years later, he welcomed the son who would eventually become mayor of New York City. Imagine the impact if he had been denied entry. Ellis Island inspector, Joseph DiMiceli, who had come to America from Italy a quarter of a century earlier, made the right call that day.

Back to top^

Genealogy Round Up, FeBruary 7

Got Swedish roots? Then this is for you! 
Great Swedish Adventure

Master of discoveries: an interview with Megan Smolenyak

Pls join me on March 14th in NYC at the Glucksman Ireland House (NYU) to talk about Annie Moore of Ellis Island! 
NYU > Ireland House > Spring 2013 Events Calendar

Got some Irish heritage? Check out this seriously cool site!
Emigration Isle

The Heart of Sol Legare

Back to top^

Genealogy Round Up, January 24

More from Sue Shellenbarger of @WSJ on genealogy! 
"Grandma Did What?" Digging Up the Roots of Family Lore 

Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to have been interviewed many times, but I was blown away by this article, which feels a little like looking in a mirror constructed of words. Sheila Langan of Irish America Magazine knows me better than I know myself! 
Calling Up the Ancestors: Genealogist Megan Smolenyak | Irish America

Researched some of these cases and am hoping for identifications along with the families. 
Families still awaiting closure as military dissects 1952 Alaska glacier crash

Love this video! 8 minutes, if you have the time. Those who love old stuff or have Irish hertiage will especially appreciate it. 

Back to top^

Genealogy Round Up, January 17

Check out this book review by Terri O'Connell of The In-Depth Genealogist: 
Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing | The In-Depth Genealogist

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I posted saying someone in the media was looking for surprising genealogical stories and asking you to send me emails to forward? Well, here's the resulting Wall Street Journal article - and a few of you are in there! Congrats! And thanks for sharing your experiences!
When a Genealogy Hobby Digs Up Unwanted Secrets

A video to go with the WSJ article! Heather Quinlan and journalist, Sue Shellenbarger both in there! 
Video - DNA Testing, Online Genealogical Data Help Americans Discover Their Ancestry - WSJ.com

In honor of Michelle Obama's birthday - everything you ever wanted to know about her family tree 
Michelle Obama's Roots - Five generations, from slavery to the White House - Megan Smolenyak's research

Back to top^

Seton Shields Genealogical Grants

January 2013
I wonder how many know that Wikipedia is a non-profit organization that operates off of donations. I didn't, and yet I use it all the time. And yes, as genealogists, we know that it's a good idea to double check information found here, but what a terrific resource for getting a running start on just about any topic. I know I hit it up for everything from 19th century politicians to obscure Ukrainian villages, so this month's grant goes to the Wikipedia Foundation in gratitude for a resource that's often taken for granted. 

December 2012

Like so many genealogists, I hold a special place in my heart for Ellis Island, so when it was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, it seemed a fitting time to make a donation to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF). If you had one or more ancestors who came to America via Ellis Island, please consider making a donation in their name to help this national landmark re-open as soon as possible. 

Back to top^

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, Huffington Post 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.

  • February 27, 2013 - Legacy Family Tree Webinar - "Annie Moore of Ellis Island - A Case of Historical Identity Theft"
  • March 14, 2013 - New York, NY - Glucksman Ireland House/NYU - "The Quest for Annie Moore"
  • April 18, 2013 - Cedar Falls, IA (delivered live via Skype) - Cedar Falls Public Library - "Cold Cases: Genealogists, Coroners and the FBI"
  • April 27, 2013 - Charlevoix, MI - Charlevoix Public Library - "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "Find That Obituary," "Right Annie, Wrong Annie" and "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt"
  • May 8-11, 2013 - Las Vegas, NV - NGS 2013 Family History Conference - "Solving Historical and Family Mysteries with DNA" and "Lucky 13: A Modest Proposal Regarding Genealogy Grants and Pawn Stores (with Mark Hall-Patton of Pawn Stars)"
  • September 22 - October 7, 2013 - Legacy Family Tree 2013 Genealogy Cruise - Panama Canal Cruise
  • November 9, 2013 - Pensacola, FL - West Florida Genealogical Society - "Right Annie, Wrong Annie," "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Find That Obituary! Online Newspaper Research" and "Honoring Our Ancestors"

Back to top^