Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter
April 15, 2008
By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
Well, April 15th doesn't have the happiest of connotations for most Americans, at any rate, but I'm thinking good thoughts that many reading these words will actually get a tax refund that can be wisely invested in a new online subscription, book purchase or perhaps a DNA test! And here's hoping that April also brings a fresh family history discovery or two!
In this newsletter. . .
I don't know how Joe Beine keeps on top of all these online resources, but I'm sure glad he does! Here's his latest update to online death indexes. If you haven't already, be sure to bookmark www.deathindexes.com. That way, you'll always have access to the latest and greatest!
Yeah, I didn't know what this meant either, but I wish I had time for it. It's an Irish language weekend on Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Here are a few more details:
25 - 27 APRIL 2008, KINGSTON, ON, CANADA
BEGINNER TO CAINTEOIR LÍOFA:
SIAMSA, DANCING, SINGING, IRISH MUSIC, CÉILÍ
$200.00 CDN, $200 US
If you're interested, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, now you can volunteer to index records for Ancestry.com. Read more here:
Is anyone keeping count? I've lost track . . .
This is the kind of story that reminds us that the stash in our own attics could contain national treasures:
A couple of months ago, Ancestry.com was approached by Fox News to have someone on to answer questions about the candidates' roots. At the time, there were a lot more candidates -- about eight, as I recall. At any rate, I was selected to do the spot, so had to study up on everyone. I was pretty darn sure I would get asked about Huckabee since he had just won Iowa earlier that week, but in fact, I was only asked about Obama and Clinton.
With Huckabee now out of the race, I thought it might be time to share one of the vignettes I had ready to go if asked that evening in the studio. It concerns his grandfather, William Elder (appropriately named), who leaned toward younger ladies. When he was 36 years old, he married a 17-year-old, and then when he was 57, he married a 21-year-old. He's must have felt a little sheepish, though, because as this doc shows (his second marriage), he only admitted to being 52.
Was delighted to read this from Juliana Smith at the 24/7 Family History Circle:
How would you like a free, 28-page book that answers this question? Well, check out this generous offer from The Genetic Genealogist (aka Blaine Bettinger)!
Well, his real name was Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, but he entered this country as Bela Lugosi, probably because he was from a place then known as Lugos, located in present-day Romania. His Ellis Island record is interesting because it shows him arriving in New Orleans and details about his inspection. And now there's a play about this well known immigrant at Ellis Island:
She's 100% Irish, and I happen to be a fan, so that's enough reason to write about Kathy Griffin when St. Patty's Day is rapidly approaching. Poking around in her roots, my fancy was captured by her Irish-born grandfather, Patrick J. Griffin (actually, both of her grandfathers were Irish-born).
But here's something you don't see everyday. You know how there's a question about military service in the 1930 census? Here's his response. Apparently, he served in both the Boer War and the Spanish-American War. His obit claims he was a captain for the British in the former, and a second lieutenant in the latter. How's that for a one-two punch?
Obama: They're Celebrating in Moneygall!
It took some elbow grease, but as I blogged last year, we were finally able to determine that Moneygall gets the bragging rights:
Finding Barack Obama's Irish Roots (click to see the tombstone that pointed me in the right direction)
That's why I was delighted to come across these videos:
WWII Pilot Remembered on Both Sides of the Pond
There's a little bit of a postscript that's not in the article itself since it occurred more recently. Lt. Bell's plane was recovered in 1998 and there's an exhibit about it at the General Patton Museum in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg. As part of my research, I located a family member who had just recently come into possession of a photo of Lt. Bell and was kind enough to email me a scanned copy. When the article came out, Jim Gilmer, who had submitted the case to me, saw the photo -- and informed me that the museum had been looking for a photo of the pilot to complete the exhibit. And now, thanks to the family and Jim, the museum has it. Here's part of the exhibit that Jim generously sent me images of. It's nice to know that Lt. Bell's pen has been returned to his family, that his image has been sent to Luxembourg, and that his memory is being protected on both sides of the pond.
Not Again! Potential Records Restriction in NJ
Here’s a relevant article that Dick Eastman wrote that might be used to help educate Quigley and others:
And this might also be useful. Folks trying to gain greater access to records in PA have created this site to get across the message that many states are actually making access to records easier, even to the point of making digitized, searchable records available online (often for free):
Yeah, I know that might sound a little strange that I'm excited that the International Society of Genetic Genealogy has a newsletter, but based on the first issue, this one is a keeper. Go check it out here and be sure to scroll to the bottom to learn how to subscribe.
PROVO, UT, March 26, 2008 -- RootsTelevision.com, an online channel dedicated to all aspects of genealogy and family history, has been recognized in the 29th Annual Telly Awards for four of its original productions. Selected from more than 14,000 shows were "DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Fathers" (documentary), "Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy" (entertainment), "Roots Books: Psychic Roots" (talk show), and "Flat Stanley's Family Tree" (children's audience).
"We're delighted," said RootsTelevision.com co-founder, Marcy Brown. "To receive this kind of recognition during our first year of existence is remarkable, and winning in four different categories is even more astonishing. We take this as an indication that our decision to pioneer online programming for the substantial but neglected niche of millions of genealogists was a risk worth taking."
The four winning shows include an episode of "DNA Stories," a series that focuses on the exploding hobby of genetic genealogy and shows how avid roots-seekers are using DNA testing to solve family history riddles. The award-winning "Tale of Two Fathers" episode features Bob Zins and his efforts to determine whether the man who raised him was really his father. "Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy" showcases the unexpected twin talents of Jordan Auslander, who's both a professional genealogist and stand-up comic. "Roots Books," a talk show hosted by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, received its award for the especially popular "Psychic Roots" episode that centers on a discussion of the role of serendipity in genealogy between Sharon and popular speaker and author, Hank Jones. And "Flat Stanley's Family Tree" follows the beloved children's character as he explores his colonial roots in Williamsburg, Virginia and his gold rush roots in California.
Founded in 1978, The Telly is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. The Telly Awards, a highly respected international competition, annually showcases the best work of the most respected production companies in the world.
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Press Release Contact Information:
If you have a relative who's gone missing in New York, it might be worth learning more about Hart Island. It's estimated that 800,000 people have been buried at Hart Island, New York City's largest potter field, from 1869 to the present.
A remarkable woman named Melinda Hunt has made it her mission to help those buried there be known. Most recently, she managed to obtain -- through the Freedom of Information Act -- a list of the 50,000 buried there since 1985. Read more here:
So Ireland is trying to attract roots travelers from Australia and New Zealand:
and Scotland is trying to attract roots travelers from Canada:
I just finished reading Bloody Foreigners about the history of immigration in England -- and based on this emerging pattern of trying to attract folks back to their homelands for a visit and the information jammed into this book -- there are a lot of countries (Denmark, France, Jamaica, India, etc.) that should start trying to entice the English "home" for a holiday!
Ah-ha! That explains it! All of a sudden, I started getting lots of orphan heirloom applications in rapid succession. After wondering what was going on, I discovered the answer -- Jana Lloyd's article in the current issue of Rootsweb Review:
I'm delighted, of course, but I'd like to take this opportunity to make a personal plea. I've done countless orphan heirloom rescues over the years (you can read about a bunch of them here), but there's been a bit of a disturbing trend. More and more, when I do the detective work to find the family of origin and get back to the submitter, I get no response -- even if I try several times. Frankly, this is frustrating as it forces me to solve multiple cases in order to write a single article, and I wind up feeling, well, cheated. There's no rescue and I can't get the time (and sometimes money) I invested in the research back. It's to the point where I sometimes have to research five cases in order to be sure to have one to write about (sadly, I'm not exaggerating).
So here's my plea: By all means, submit your orphan heirloom to be rescued. I welcome it. I love doing the sleuthing! For me, there's nothing like the thrill of the hunt. But please don't submit if you're not quite sure whether you're truly ready to return the item to the family of origin yet (yes, I know, we can become quite attached to these items even if they're not from our own families). So please be sure you're ready and willing to participate in the rescue before submitting, OK? Thanks!
23andMe has added an interesting new feature: Ancestry Painting. Here's my husband's:
Here's how 23andMe describes Ancestry Painting (which I see as a sort of admixture assessment):
So my husband -- who's half-Italian and half-Carpatho-Rusyn (think Slavic) -- comes out 99% European and 1% Asian. See those little splotches of orange? That's his Asian contribution, according to 23andMe. Would be interesting to hear results from anyone who's tested both with 23andMe and DNAPrint Genomics.
Here's the latest I've heard on Annie Moore (first immigrant through Ellis Island) from a good friend in Ireland:
It also seems that the fund-raising efforts for her memorial are going very well!
Congrats to our recent grant recipients! Don't forget that you can apply here.
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!
Please forward this newsletter to your family and friends who are interested in genealogy -- thank you!
Wishing you an abundance of genealogical serendipity!
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