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Honoring Our Ancestors
October 15, 2011

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Just back from Salt Lake City where I had the honor of addressing the American Society of Genealogists. As it happens, the event was held in the Joseph E. Smith building and the last (and only other) time I spoke there was back in 2000 at the premier of the second season of Ancestors on PBS (anyone remember that show?). And that made me reflect that it’s been a heck of a decade in genealogy. Can’t imagine where things will be in 2020, but in the meantime, here’s a little light reading accompanied by a wish for plenty of serendipity in this month’s research ventures!



Genealogy Round Up, October 6

Geni Creates First Comprehensive Genealogy Service With Record Providers Archives.com and Genealogy

This one's going on my to-read list:
Family History Seen Through Tenement Rooms – Forward.com

Cool #DNA project for Hemings descendants!
Your Genetic Genealogist: DNA Test Spurs Surprising Discovery of Great Grandfather Thomas Jefferson

Please come join me in Princeton, NJ on 10/18 to talk #genealogy.
Megan Smolenyak: Who Do You Think You Are? at Barnes & Noble - Market Fair, Princeton NJ

Icecream - ReflectionOf.Me

WDYTYA for "ordinary people" in UK
Brightsolid shifts profit focus to Freeview - and the rest is history - Scotsman.com Business

Blue Man genealogy

Seeds of a Trans-Atlantic Reunion

Who Do You Think You Are? The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History | Family Tree

3 celebs announced for season 3 #WDYTYA
Marisa Tomei meets the relatives in ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ — EXCLUSIVE | EW.com

Love that FamilySearch is uploading estate records!
Records Update 5 October 2011

TheWildGeese.com ... Irish Genealogy And Family History: How Megan Traced Barack Obama's Irish Family

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Genealogy Round Up, September 29

Cool! Don't know specifics yet, but will be speaking at the Tucson Festival of Books next March!
Tucson Festival of Books

At 92, he's earned a break!
Andy Rooney Ending Regular '60 Minutes' Appearances

A quick education of record types that can include mentions of slaves.
Unknown No Longer - Virginia Historical Society

The latest good stuff from FamilySearch!
Records Update 28 September 2011

Man Friended by Thousands via Messages in a Bottle

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Genealogy Round Up, September 22

Dolores Hope, Widow of Bob Hope, Dies

Now South Africa gets US #WDYTYA
Celebrities uncover their hidden ancestry

If you're a wee bit Irish, interested in the Titanic (2012 anniversary coming up), or curious about the journeys our ancestors took, please consider "liking" Cobh, The Queenstown Story on Facebook. This is the Irish counterpart to Ellis Island and among other things, the place that Annie Moore and her brothers departed from. And BTW, if you're ever in Cork, be sure to visit! (P.S. Would greatly appreciate folks sharing this! Thanks!)

Don't know how long it will be here, so you might want to watch while you can:
Who Do You Think You Are - JK Rowling

Glad to hear in good hands!
Time capsule cottage: Left untouched for decades, a unique snapshot of rural life

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Genealogy at the Emmys

Genealogy will have a presence at the 2011 Emmys, but you'll have to look for it.  Last year, Top Chef surprised even those associated with the series when it snapped the seven-year winning streak of The Amazing Race in the reality competition category.  This year, Bravo's Top Chef is trying again with an Ellis Island-based episode entitled, "Give Me Your Huddled Masses"  

The competition is tough, but this genealogist will be holding her breath since I had the privilege of researching the family histories of the all-star chef-testants for this episode.  Turns out that learning about your roots is a terrific source of inspiration and all the chefs cooked their hearts out.

But at the risk of being greedy, I'd love to see even an even more conspicuous genealogical presence next year.  It's no secret that we in the U.S. frequently borrow show concepts from our British friends, where family history programming has been on the upswing for the past half a dozen years.  Lisa Kudrow, for instance, imported celebrity-centered Who Do You Think You Are? after catching it in her hotel room in Ireland one evening.

Heritage-based series in the U.K. are so popular that viewers there will soon be treated to a game show called Guess the Relative.  Whether anyone will feel compelled to bring this latest offering across the pond remains to be seen, but it's no accident that NBC (Who Do You Think You Are?), PBS (Faces of America, African American Lives, etc.) and OWN (Searching For . . .) are all getting in the act - and that's not counting shows with family history undertones such as History Detectives, Antiques Roadshow, and the recent rash of stuff-related programs (Buried Treasure, Pickers, Pawn Stars, Cash 'n' Cari, etc.).

Is anyone else seeing a trend here?  We've seen the waves of design and cooking shows, and I think it might just be genealogy's turn next (Who Do You Think You Are? in 2012, perhaps?). But until then, I'll be watching on Sunday night and rooting for Top Chef!

Full disclosure: I've worked on several of these programs, wrote the companion book for Who Do You Think You Are?, and have been a long-time fan of Top Chef, so don't pretend to be neutral!

Update: Top Chef lost to Amazing Race, but I can’t complain because I love that show!

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Had a blast at SIBA in Charleston!


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Genealogy Round Up, September 15

Robert E. Lee photo donated to Goodwill, up for auction

Actor Richard Dreyfuss to help Charles Town celebrate

um . . . okaaay . . .
9/11 and TV's Friends Have Ancient Roots - Caesar, Atlantis, and Royal Genetics

Ancestry gearing up for more serious #DNA offerings?
Ancestry.com PhD position — American Association of Physical Anthropologists

Love this!
Nostalgia in a modern world: Brothers chat from afar

Wow! NY, Hungary, Virgin Islands! It just keeps coming!
FamilySearch Records Update 14 September 2011

Web Cam 101 For Seniors' Turns Oregon Oldsters Into YouTube Celebrities

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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, 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.

  • October 18, 2011 - Princeton, NJ - Barnes & Noble - "Who Do You Think You Are?"
  • February 8, 2012 - Princeton, NJ - Present Day Club - Topic TBD
  • March 10-11, 2012 - Tucson, AZ - Tucson Festival of Books - Details TBD
  • April 18-20, 2012 - Houston, TX - Texas Library Association - "Next Generation Genealogy"
  • May 19, 2012 - Valley View, OH - East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society - "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "Find The Obituary! Online Newspaper Research" and "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt"
  • June 7, 2012 - Short Hills, NJ - Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society - "Trace Your Roots with DNA"
  • July 20-21, 2012 - Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Historical Society Midwestern Roots Conference - Topics TBD
  • September 29, 2012 - Manassas, VA - Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center (RELIC) for Genealogy and Local History - "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt"

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