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Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter

October 15, 2008

By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Megan Smolenyak SmolenyakGreetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Yikes, Autumn has been busy! Seems this issue is longer and more packed than usual. Here's hoping y'all think that's a good thing! I've really enjoyed virtually meeting so many of you on Facebook, and hope to meet more of you both online and in person at my upcoming events.

Take care,


In this newsletter. . .

Genealogical Round Up - September 2nd

Here's another genealogical round up of links posted to my Facebook profile to start off September.

About the latest episode of "Down Under," one of our original series at RootsTelevision.com . . .
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: New "Down Under: Florida" Episode at RootsTelevision.com

Look what Jimmy of Genealogy Gifts has dreamed up to commemorate Annie Moore as the dedication of her memorial approaches! Nice to finally see the correct years for her!
Annie Moore : Genealogy Gifts Store : CafePress.com

Kind words from the Crowe's Nest Genealogy Blog by Elizabeth Powell Crowe . . .
Crowe's Nest Genealogy Blog by Elizabeth Powell Crowe - Blog Archive - RootsTube: Down Under Florida

This is a case solved by super-sleuth Sharon Elliott. Am going to post several links about it. The son never knew his father. Pretty amazing. This is one of those cases that reminds us why we do what we do.
Howard Clifton Enoch, Jr., Second Lieutenant, United States Army Air Forces

The excavation site . . .
Sächsische Zeitung [online] | Sachsen im Netz

A first person account from the soldier's son . . .
Skycontrol.net: World War II Families for Recovery of the Missing (WWRM) latest update: A father's...

Genealogical programs for those in Ireland!
Irish Family History - Blog Archive - New RTÉ History & Genealogy Programmes Including Who Do You...

Bad news for those with British roots
Ancestry hunters stuck in past as web project fails | Technology | The Guardian

I found this interesting for two reasons. First, as someone who had tried to obtain birth certificates from the State of Hawaii on behalf of the Federal Gov't -- and always been refused -- I'm amused to see that folks thought the difficulty in getting Obama's birth certificate was some sort of conspiracy. And as an Army brat born overseas, I was also interested to hear about the ruling on McCain's birth in the Panama Canal.
Obama Birth Certificate Fuss "Ridiculous" - Horserace

The mystery genealogist has resurfaced in Nova Scotia cemeteries!
novanewsnow.com > General News > Mysterious messages reappear in Kings County cemeteries

Thanks so much to Jimmy Kavanagh in Ireland for steering me to this cool DNA story! As an Army brat, I can't imagine what it's like learning that at least one of your ancestors lived in the same place as you 3,000 years ago!
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Cavemen's descendants traced

I'm proud to have had the opportunity to work on African American Lives and with the series' fearless leader, Skip Gates! And I've just pre-ordered his upcoming book (not until next year), In Search of Our Roots.
LFA: Join the Conversation -- Home

Trust Chris Dunham of The Genealogue to come up with something like this!
The Genealogue: Too Late to Share In the Estate

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Unclaimed Persons in Ancestry Magazine

Many thanks to the good folks at Ancestry Magazine for telling folks about the Unclaimed Persons group on Facebook. If you'd like to put your sleuthing talents to good use, please consider joining us for this worthwhile endeavor.

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Genealogical Round Up - September 4th

The newest collection of links posted to my Facebook profile to start off September. If you join Facebook (it's free), be sure to add me as a friend!

I'm intrigued by the DNA aspect of this!
DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog: Early Settlers of Spanish and Mexican Land Grants

Some things are universal. I've had similar experiences in Slovakia with my Carpatho-Rusyn roots. I think you'll enjoy reading this!
Tracing my Jewish roots in Cuba - CNN.com

Another interesting Ancestry.com partnership . . .
DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog: Ancestry.com & JewishGen

Congratulations to Maureen Taylor for her contribution to this wonderful segment on the Today Show about Meredith Vieira's roots!
msnbc.com Video Player

I have mixed feelings about this. I guess it's something we all have to confront and there's a certain logic to it, but I'm not sure I'm quite ready to plan my own funeral. Are you??
Funeral Planning

So now genetic genealogy is being used to identify Franco victims. An interesting application. Wonder what's next?
AFP: Spanish DNA bank to identify Franco victims

Missed this when Sharon first posted, but looks intriguing . . .
BackTrack: National Guard Is Reluctant Genealogist

More genealogical programming on PBS in 2010, 2011 and 2012 . . .
Gates documentary series receives $12M in funding -- The Harvard University Gazette

The Unclaimed Persons group was featured in the current issue of Ancestry Magazine. Check it out!
Unclaimed Persons

Don't think poor Billy will ever be allowed to rest in peace . . .
Lawsuit seeks DNA records from Billy the Kid probe | www.azstarnet.com ®

Thanks for your kind words, Myrt and Libbi!
DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog: DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour 2 Sept 2008 2008 genealogy podcast

That familiar double helix is strutting its stuff!
The Spittoon » Everywhere You Look, There's DNA!

More congrats to Maureen Taylor!
The Photo Detective: TODAY Show News and a Big Reveal

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Genealogy Round Up - September 11th

Another collection of items originally posted on Facebook:

A different kind of family treasure to share through the generations . . .
What are the odds? Son gets same dorm room as dad 

My first Annie Moore shirt just arrived and now there's another design!
Annie Moore : Genealogy Gifts Store : CafePress.com

Like Blaine and Ann, I think the death knell claims for direct-to-consumer genetics is somewhat off-base. I'm a customer of most genetic genealogy companies, as well as a participant in the PMC initiative -- and don't have any plans to stop being a genetic consumer any time soon.
Follow-Up to 23andMe's Price Drop » The Genetic Genealogist

If you weren't able to get to FGS this year, these videos will give you a taste. Stay tuned -- lots more coming!
New Roots Tuesday, September 9 (Roots Television | Og Blog)

The first of five videos from FGS available on RootsTelevision.com now. And there are lots more coming!
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: FGS 2008 Conference: The Video

Kimberly Powell writes about genies on Facebook!
Collaborative Networking for Genealogists

Kudos to Sharon Elliott for finding this family. This is exactly why we do what we do.
After 60-plus years, WWII remains of Yuma family member found

Wow! 23andMe has lowered their price from $999 to $399 AND partnered with Ancestry! Incredible!
23andMe Lowers Price to $399 and Adds More Genealogical SNPs - The Genetic Genealogist

Congrats to Joe Bott and the good folks at DeadFred!
NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source

At least his descendants won't have to wade through oodles of Johnsons . . . until they get to his parents, anyway.

Another $15m for MyHeritage. Will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

In my view, the genomics age is officially here . . .

Congratulations to George and Drew! 150 podcasts and going strong!
24-7 Family History Circle » The Genealogy Guys to Celebrate 150th Episode!

Junk DNA not as junky as previously thought?
Slashdot | Opposable Thumbs and Upright Walking Caused By "Junk DNA"

Yup, all 4 Pres/VP candidates have Irish ancestry. And Ancestry.com and I have both added extra letters to our names!
Palin Has Irish Roots

A great selection of genealogical podcasts for FGS!
FGS 2008 Philly Podcast

Thanks for your kind words, Myrt and Libbi!
DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog: DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour 2 Sept 2008 2008 genealogy podcast 

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News about Unclaimed Persons

I'm delighted to make several announcements about the Unclaimed Persons initiative that was launched by RootsTelevision.com on facebook several months ago.

First, we've launched a website! Visit Unclaimed Persons to learn about the project, how to volunteer, what coroners have to say about working with genealogists, and more. While we'll continue to "work" the case on facebook, this companion site contains a number of useful resources that volunteers, medical examiners and others can turn to.

Second, I'm amazed to report that we now have 400 volunteers! To accommodate the influx of volunteers and cases (we've just reached agreement with another major county), we welcome three new case administrators -- Robert Baca, Kathy Then and Denise Levenick. Thank you for your willingness to donate your valuable time and sleuthing skills!

And finally, if you'd like to watch an interview about Unclaimed Persons -- how it all came about, what we've done to date and so forth -- check out the first half of this chat between Dick Eastman and myself.

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Charleston, South Carolina likes RootsTelevision.com!

A thousand thank yous to Wevonneda Minis of the Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina for her kind remarks about RootsTelevision.com. I especially appreciated her comment that, "There's already so much to see there, it's difficult to remain in control." Roots TV a valued resource

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FGS 2008 Videos on RootsTelevision.com

If you didn't make it to Philadelphia this year for the recent FGS conference, you'll want to be sure to check out the videos on RootsTelevision.com. I'll list what we've added so far, but be sure to keep an eye on RootsTelevision.com over the next few weeks as we have more interviews coming up with folks like Maureen Taylor (about her recent Today Show appearance and new History Channel series), Paul Nauta of FamilySearch, Leland Meitzler of Evertons Publishers, David Lambert of NEHGS, Blaine Bettinger of the Genetic Genealogist, and more!

Here's an introduction to the 2008 FGS conference with Dick Eastman and an unconventional appearance by Bob Velke of Wholly Genes.

Dick interviews Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network about the World Archives Project.

Moi (Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak) about the Unclaimed Persons initiative and the would-be king or queen of America.

Melinde Lutz Sanborn, FASG about an exciting new genealogical certificate program offered by Boston University:

Brian Donovan of Eneclann about Irish research in general and recent discoveries about Barack Obama's Irish roots.


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NEHGS Adds Video

I'm delighted that New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has incorporated a player of RootsTelevision.com videos into their website, one that I've spent many hours on myself!

You can take a peek here, but be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming videos, including one about the recent discovery of a previously unknown Helen Keller photo (with Annie Sullivan and the famous doll) in NEHGS's collection.

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Genealogical Round Up - September 18th

Enjoy this week's collection of my recent Facebook posts!

More than you ever wanted to know about funerals of the future.
40 Funerals For the Future - You Don't Have to Be a Hells Angels Leader to Go in Style (CLUSTER)

Want to learn more about what FamilySearch has in store for all of us? Check out this interview Dick Eastman did with Paul Nauta at FGS. Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview of Paul Nauta of FamilySearch

Here's an appropriate gift for your DNA surname project administrator . . .
mental_floss store :: T-Shirts :: XY Chromosome T-Shirt

Cool. Can't wait until I have time to play with this database and find some of my Slavic (and maybe Irish) cousins!
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: 70 Years of Canadian Immigration Records Now Online

Dear Myrt kindly gave one of my recent blog postings a shout-out!
DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog: BEST of the Internet for Genealogists – 14 Sept 2008

Great teacher, great story . . .
A soldier's courage, obscure since WWI, is given due tribute - The Boston Globe

Check out this article I recently wrote for Ancestry Magazine. They asked me to figure out who would be king or queen of America today if George Washington had become king instead of president.
Ancestry Magazine

The story behind DeadFred . . .
~ Shades Of The Departed ~

Not a big fan of 17-marker tests, but this is interesting in terms of the cost of DNA testing. Just days ago, 23andMe dropped their prices from $999 to $399 and now this.
Genealogy Insider - Familybuilder Announces Low-Cost DNA Tests; Global Network

Who doesn't love a spit party?
The Spittoon - 23andMe Struts its Stuff in NYC During Fashion Week

Thanks for your kind words about RootsTelevision.com, Wevonneda!
Roots TV a valued resource

Anna-Karin spreads the word about Swedish genealogy and a successful conference!
Genealogy Days in Malmö, Sweden - Kindo Family Blog

Geni spawns Yammer . . .
Yammer Gets Top Prize At Tech Conference

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Genealogy Round Up - September 25th

Here is this week's Facebook collection of posts. Enjoy!

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview of Judith Lucey of NEHGS

I bet future generations of Janice Laster's family will thank her . .
The Frederick News-Post Online - Frederick County Maryland Daily Newspaper

I'm just going to let everyone make up their own punch lines to this one . . .

Ellis Island strives to tell more complete immigration story - USATODAY.com

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview of Blaine Bettinger, the Genetic Genealogist

Wow -- I'm actually impressed with how entirely vague they managed to be with their chicken-little concerns! Those interviewed basically say that DNA testing is limited and risky, but no one's asked to provide a single example. Well, I guess I should be used to this by now. We've heard this same assumption of collective ignorance by those wishing to "protect" genetic genealogists many times before. * sigh *
BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Family history DNA scam concerns

McCain family has deep Mississippi roots : Debate : Memphis Commercial Appeal

Sorenson Forensics Wins Contract to Provide Validation Services for Western Africa's First Forensic

Hmmm . . . sounds intriguing.
Welcome to Live Roots | Live Roots

I confess that this article leaves me a little confused, but it's relevant to the world of genetic genealogy, so I thought I'd share it.
Local DNA research has global implications - The Boston Globe

This sounds really interesting, although I'm not sure if many folks realize that it wasn't all that unusual for people to marry their deceased spouse's siblings once upon a time. I know back in Slovakia, for instance, it was considered noble of a younger brother to marry the widowed wife of an older brother because that meant support and protection for the children involved. At any rate, I'm going off on a tangent, but this book sounds interesting and -- I suspect -- will provoke a lot of discussion.

Let the mergers begin!
MyHeritage acquires Kindo, growing its own family tree » VentureBeat

Nice to hear a success story like this. She must be quite a writer. Wonder if it's available on Kindle?
Family history gets publisher's attention -- Newsday.com

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview of Feargal O'Donnell of the the Irish Family

Your genome, your choice: a buyer's checklist for genetic tests | deCODE

You Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview of Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective

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The Candidates and Their Trees

I can't resist climbing the candidates' family trees -- especially the Irish branches!

Four Green Fields

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RootsTelevision.com Is 2 Years Old!

RootsTelevision.com turns two years old today. It seems like just yesterday we flipped the virtual switch at 3:00 p.m. and went live.

What's followed has been challenging, rewarding and humbling. We take it as a compliment that many still don't grasp that we're a two-person company -- that when we refer to ourselves as "two chicks and a channel," we mean just that. From the feedback we receive, it's clear that many of our viewers think we're a large company or backed by one, but we are -- simply put -- what a couple of stubborn people can do when they decide that something that doesn't exist should exist.

We are very grateful to all the folks we've had the privilege of working with. I want to name them here, but this would turn into a novel. Most viewers have seen the invaluable contributions of Dick Eastman, George Morgan and Drew Smith, but less obvious is the work of folks like Sam Butterworth and Alyssa Gregory who have kept things running smoothly, all the directors, camera people and other crew members we've dragged from conference halls to cemeteries, the editors, musicians and graphic designers who have toiled to make our original programming first rate, the web and TV designers who have quite literally made us look good, the countless professional genealogists who have allowed us to interview them . . . the list goes on and on.

These people are the reason we won four Tellys in our very first year and why genealogists have shows like Unclaimed Persons, Down Under, and DNA Stories to watch. These and hundreds of other videos can be watched by anyone around the globe whenever they want -- and better yet, it's free.

If you've enjoyed any of our shows over the last couple of years, I'd like to ask for a little present for our second birthday -- tell folks about RootsTelevision.com. We've been so focused on creating the shows that we haven't spent much time telling folks that we're here, so we'd be very appreciative if you'd send your friends emails (click here for a message you can can copy) or mention us at your next monthly society meeting. Please also consider signing up for our newsletter or the Og Blog to learn about the latest shows we've launched. Barring that, just make yourself a note to come check us out each Tuesday as we roll out our new shows on New Roots Tuesdays.

Thanks for a terrific first two years, thanks for watching, and thanks for telling all your friends about us!

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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.

  • October 18, 2008 - Huntsville, AL - Huntsville-Madison County Public Library - "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones" and "Welcome to Roots Television!"
  • October 26-November 2, 2008 - 4th Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise, hosted by Wholly Genes, Inc. - "Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options", "Right Annie, Wrong Annie"
  • January 16-20, 2009 - Auckland, New Zealand - Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations 12th Australasian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry - Topics TBD
  • 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 - Details TBD
  • June 20, 2009 - Wichita, KS - Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies - Topics TBD
  • 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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