Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter
October 26, 2005

By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Mea culpa! Most, if not all of you, received an incomplete version of this newsletter about a week or so ago. Somehow, I managed to send out a preliminary draft version. So if you found yourself scratching your head wondering where the rest of the newsletter was, you're not alone! My apologies . . . and here's a second try. Hope it was worth the wait!

In this newsletter. . .

PBS Cemeteries Special

I wish I could say I worked on this one, but I wasn't that lucky.  Still, I'll definitely be among the viewers.  If, like many genealogists, you're obsessed with cemeteries, this show is a must-see.  Go to PBS to learn more about the show, which is airing at 8:00 p.m. (EST) on October 26th on most PBS stations and again at 10:00 p.m. (EST) on October 31st.  Now that's an appropriate way to celebrate Halloween!  

New Stuff in My Library

As many of you know, there's a 'library' on my Honoring Our Ancestors site which includes many of the articles I've written on assorted topics, as well as occasional interviews I've done.  If you haven't been there in a while, you might want to make a visit.  With the kind permission of my editors, I've recently added pdf versions of a number of my print articles, such as Demystifying DNA for Family Tree Magazine and Getting the Most from Your Genealogy Trips to Europe for Family Chronicle.  I've also included a pair of podcasts from recent interviews with The Genealogy Guys and Written Voices, so if you've got an iPod (or just some speakers on your PC), you can hear me babble on about genealogy!  And by the way, if you don't know who The Genealogy Guys are, you'll definitely want to take a listen and find out.

'Genetealogy' Catching On!

I coined the word 'genetealogy' a few years ago for the merger of genetics and genealogy and it's been slowly gaining currency.  I suspect it would catch on a little more quickly if it were easier to pronounce!  At any rate, three recent internet mentions give me hope:

The Genealogue: If you're a genealogist and you have a sense of humor, I command you to visit this site now!  Just the Top 10 Lists will have you in stitches.  I promise, you will thank me.  Among my favorite musings so far:

You'll also want to check out the Double-Tongued Word Wrester, "a growing dictionary of old and new words from the fringes of English."  Apparently, 'genetealogy' is being considered for addition to this dictionary, so I encourage you to use it liberally around the internet in your websites and postings!  

And finally, the Wikipedia entry for genetic genealogy now includes a reference to genetealogy.

A Trio of Intriguing Websites: Katrina Migration, Famous DNA and NANOWRIMO

Katrina Migration:  I've been intrigued with internal American migrations ever since I began tracing the families of servicemen for the U.S. Army several years ago.  Since most of my cases focus on soldiers unaccounted for from Korea in the 1950s, locating their families involves taking into account the Dust Bowl Migration, as well as the considerable South-North Migration of African-Americans in the 20th Century.  So ever since Katrina hit, I've been wondering what the impact might be say, for genealogists 100 years hence.  Well, now I have an answer.  According to ePodunk.com, "Katrina caused the biggest mass migration in U.S. history, surpassing the 1927 flood of the Mississippi River.  In terms of numbers permanently displaced, the only event that might have been bigger than Katrina is the Civil War."  Check out this map and impressive analysis.

Famous DNA Want to know if you're related to someone famous?  Well, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) is here to help. Here you can find the DNA results from all those history's mysteries cases you've been hearing about Thomas Jefferson, the Romanovs, Marie Antoinette, and so forth.  Get yourself tested and see if any of them are your genetic mate!  Incidentally, those of you who saw me at FGS in Salt Lake City may well have spotted me at the ISOGG booth, but if this organization is new to you, you might want to consider joining.  They're growing like gangbusters and the price is right: free!

NANOWRIMO: What the heck is NANAWRIMO?  It's the nickname for National Novel Writing Month, which happens to fall in November.  So what does that have to do with genealogy?  Admit it, you've been dragging your feet writing up your account of all the family history you've dug up, haven't you?  This might be just the inspiration you need.  The basic concept is that you commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.  Crazy?  Yes, but guess what?  When you focus on word count, you sweat the other details less, and you at least get something down on paper.  And you can always spruce up your creative musings after November's over.  Not ready to have a go next week?  No problem.  This is an annual event.  Explore the website to pump yourself up for next year and consider snagging a copy of No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty.

Honoring Our Ancestors Grants

Congratulations to the August, September and October Honoring Our Ancestors grant awardees.  I seem to be on a bit of a cemetery kick because the last three grants have all had something to do with cemeteries.  A big Thank You to everyone who took the time to send in their grant proposals.  It was a lot of fun to read them and, as usual, difficult to choose the winners.  I'm in the midst of debating the many tempting proposals for November! 

Please visit the Honoring Our Ancestors Grants page to read about our awardee projects, and how you can apply for a grant to support your genealogical project.

Recent Articles by Megan, Published in Ancestry Daily News

October 13, 2005 - Flat Stanley Does His Roots Either you know Flat Stanley or you don't.  If you don't, check out this article to learn more, and if he's already known to you, take a look to learn about his family tree.  You can also click here to see a photo album of his roots-seeking adventures!

October 6, 2005 - Mystery of Cipriano Pedrini This is another one of my orphan heirloom cases this one involving a Masonic document discovered by Linda Mulhall.   A descendant of Cipriano's a genealogical buff, as it happens -- was thrilled to be contacted by Linda.  Her response?  "Oh, I am so delighted!! Cipriano Pedrini is indeed my ancestor . . . I would love to have the document or a copy of it. Thank you so much for following up on your find!!"  Read how this mysterious document found its way home.

September 13, Name Dropping -- I have the good fortune, as a genealogical writer, to share with large audiences how I conduct research and test various new online resources by using family names in both my husband's and my family.  When I "drop names" in these articles, sometimes a new relative comes forward -- and in this particular case, a whole new branch of my husband's relatives. For more hints on how to name drop on the Internet, check out this article.

September 1, A DNA Success Story -- I love this story!  During a DNA workshop I did earlier this year at the Oklahoma Genealogical Society, Jim Shields decided to have his DNA tested and subsequently "found" about 750 new relatives when he came up with a perfect 25/25 DNA match with another Shields.  Find out why now is a good time to jump in and get your DNA tested.

You may read lots more articles of genealogical interest, by category, at the Honoring Our Ancestors Library

  Latest Survey

In an attempt to satisfy my curiosity and rectify the fact that genealogists although there are countless millions of us are ridiculously understudied and understood, I've taken to running surveys through one of my websites.  If you've got a few minutes to spare, I would be very grateful if you would go to http://www.genetealogy.com/results.html and complete the latest one on the impact of the Internet and DNA testing on genealogy.  As with earlier surveys, results will be shared on the website and in articles I write, mostly for Ancestry Daily News.  Thanks in advance for your time!

 Upcoming Events

I had a great time speaking in Salt Lake City , UT and Des Moines , IA recently.  In fact, I had such a good time in Iowa that I'll be going back for their annual conference in October 2007 (how's that for planning ahead?)!  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 tell me they read this newsletter, Ancestry Daily News or whatever, so don't be shy about introducing yourself!

If you plan to be near any of the events where I'll be speaking, I would love to meet you.

  • October 25, 2005 - Parsippany, NJ -- State Farm Insurance, "Trace Your Roots with DNA"  (My first corporate event!  Will be speaking at a corporate retreat with a theme of diversity.)
  • November 13, 2005 - Monmouth County, NJ - Monmouth County Genealogical Society

2006 Events

  • January 17, 2006 - Haddon Heights, NJ - Haddon Heights Historical Society
  • January 21, 2006 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Public Library
  • March 11, 2006 - Port Charlotte, FL - Charlotte County Genealogical Society
  • March 18, 2006 Ft. Pierce , FL Treasure Coast Genealogical Society "Trace Your Roots with DNA" and "Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options"
  • March 22, 2006 - Camden County, NJ - Camden County Historical Society - "Real World DNA"
  • April 8, 2006 - Stony Brook, NY - Genealogy Federation of Long Island
  • April 10, 2006 - Elkins Park, PA - Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia
  • April 22, 2006 - Richmond, VA - Virginia Genealogical Society

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