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Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter

December 15, 2008

By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Megan Smolenyak SmolenyakGreetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Wow, another busy month! I know you're all busy with holiday preparations so I'll keep this short. Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful remainder of 2008, heartwarming family gatherings, and maybe another genealogical discovery or two!

Happy Holidays!


In this newsletter. . .

Moneygall Claims Obama in Unexpected Way

Little did I know what I was starting when I traced Barack Obama's Irish roots to Moneygall in Co. Offaly. Plumbing and renewable energy -- looks as if they were following the election. Imagine if folks in every town where he has roots were to start doing this -- yikes!


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Genealogical Round Up, November 6

Wisdom from a 106-year-old: "After a time, we will all be one."
BBC NEWS | Americas | US Elections 2008 | Story of Obama supporter aged 106

must . . . get . . . this . . . issue!
Nature Focuses on Personal Genomics » The Genetic Genealogist

What a smart idea -- take your ancestors to lunch. Might want to borrow that.
African Americans mark a milestone in history

A little about Michelle Obama's roots . . .
From slave cabin to White House, a family rooted in black America - Times Online

Roots Television | Megan's Roots World: Moneygall Claims Obama in Unexpected Way

More online newspapers available . . .
GenealogyBank - The Official Blog: GenealogyBank adds 100 newspapers from 31 States

Pam sees DNA test as a gift | deCODE You

Check out UnclaimedPersons.org or our group here on Facebook. I think we're at 24 cases solved, but I'm probably behind a bit since I just got back in town.
Unclaimed Persons

Really impressed with this automatic tagging from MyHeritage.com -- not to mention their "face clouds"!
Share Genealogy Videos on Roots Television: free family history, reunion, promotion, sharing

Tis the time to load up on holiday genealogy gear!
Genealogy Christmas Gifts : Genealogy Gifts Store : CafePress.com

So blogging is now old school . . .
Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004

More evidence that the genomics age is upon us . . .
Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2008: The Retail DNA Test | deCODE You

Scissor Sisters and Stephen Colbert -- how could you not laugh?
I Don't Feel Like Dancing (Radio Edit) by Scissor Sisters

Blaine's in Wired!
Mr. Know-It-All: How Green Are Rechargeable Batteries?

Huh! Didn't know this . . .
24-7 Family History Circle » Ancestry New Search Offers “Hot Keys” and Search Refining Shortcut

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Genealogical Round Up, November 13

DNA testing is trendy among Latinos? Really?

Hmmm . . . mtDNA?
Relative welcomes Fromelles DNA tests

Real Estate Brooklyn coverage Bay Ridge Eagle Brooklyn, 2007 NY information

New book by Dan Lynch!
Google Your Family Tree Book — New Genealogy & Family History Resource

Interviews with Elizabeth Shown Mills and Irish guru John Grenham done during the recent Wholly Genes cruise. And get a look at one of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? episodes.
Roots Television | Og Blog: New Roots Tuesday, November 11
Roots Television | Og Blog: It's Time to Sharpen Your Research Skills!

Your chance to get up close and personal with Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Free Genealogy Conference Videos on Roots Television: Lectures, education, presentations, workshops,

Big charts on present lists this year . . .
Frugal Christmas Shoppers Turn to Gifts from the Heart for Family Members - International Business

I think those of us who dwell in genealogy-land are very familiar with this issue, but I was startled to find it among the top stories on CNN.
Holocaust survivors to Mormons: Stop baptisms of dead Jews - CNN.com

We need more folks like David De Jonge.
Photographer races clock to honor last few World War I vets - CNN.com

More good stuff coming for those researching Canadian roots.
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Library And Archives Canada Partners With Ancestry.ca

I knew this was coming. If you meet anyone named Barack a few decades from now, there's a good chance he was born in 2008.

Oh . . . my . . . gosh. Where does Chris (The Genealogue) find this stuff?
The Genealogue: Genealogue Challenge #139

A great summary of where the Genographic Project stands.
A Lecture by Spencer Wells » The Genetic Genealogist

Cyndi Howells told me about this remarkable memorial to the Irish Famine which I definitely have to go check out the next time I'm in NYC. She and her son Evan explored it shortly before the recent Wholly Genes cruise. And while you're taking a look, check out the website these photos are hosted on -- by a fellow who walked every single street of New York City. Pretty cool.
IrishFamine | Images | New York City Walk

This is the kind of story I like to read.
24-7 Family History Circle » WWI Awarded Last Posthumous Medal for Service his Family Didn’t Even Know

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What's online about YOU??

Wow, I have to admit this is blowing my mind just a bit. I decided to check out 123people.com, and of course, did a vanity search on my own name. And was I surprised at everything that popped up! There are blog postings, videos, photos, news stories, bios, Amazon links -- you name it.

It took me a while to figure out some of the items included. For instance, one of the images is a cover of OK Magazine with Britney Spears on it. Turns out that a blogger had posted something about that mag, and followed that with another posting about Palin's roots -- an article in which I was quoted. So it apparently uses proximity as one indicator.

What was especially interesting to me was this customized tag cloud. Seems the internet associates me heavily with genetic genealogy. That's where words like Trace, Ann and Turner come in -- Ann Turner, M.D. is my co-author on Trace Your Roots with DNA. While I love gg, I guess I'll have to do a better job of letting the world know that I do other stuff, too!

MSS word cloud

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Genealogical Round Up, November 20

23andMe on Oprah!
Live with Rob Lowe, Melissa Etheridge and More!

You can also watch an interview I conducted with Sen. Paula Benoit about this legislation here: http://rootstelevision.com/players/player_conferences.php?bctid=1840812394. Her own story is pretty darn remarkable.
Adoption Law to Take Effect

I like hearing about undertakings like this one.
Italian immigrants to share their stories in a film documentary | DesMoinesRegister.com

Check out the latest partnership in the genealogy world!
MyHeritage And Family Tree DNA Partner To Help People Trace Family History Using DNA

Every Tuesday on RootsTelevision.com, we post new videos. In fact, we call it New Roots Tuesdays. Here's this week's batch!
Roots Television | Og Blog: New Roots Tuesday, November 18

Oh, man. This is a nice story on the surface, but as much as I'm into genetic genealogy, I have to say that the results have been exaggerated here. I was especially amused by the comment that this is the first time that "people from two continents have been matched by DNA."
Fredericksburg.com - Man achieves royalty

Buzzy Jackson's writing a book (to be published in 2010) about her genealogical odyssey -- both her personal quest for roots as well as her foray into the genealogical world. Check out this RootsTelevision.com interview conducted by Dick Eastman to learn more.
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview: Buzzy Jackson

Check out Cyndi on RootsTelevision.com!
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Video Interview: Cyndi Howells

Worth reading.
The Spittoon » African American Roots: What Genetics Can Reveal

If you like RootsTelevision.com, please help spread the word by linking to it! Here's how.
Free Genealogy, Family History Videos on Roots Television

Didn't know Doctor Lissa before this, but appreciate the shout-out!
Health Care Examiner: Nothing's as Irish as Barack O'Bama

Blaine's always up on the latest in the world of genetic genealogy. Agree with him across the board.
The ASHG Ancestry Testing Task Force » The Genetic Genealogist

genomeboy.com | My dog would like his sequence, too…assuming it’s edible

I'm not exactly sure how, but this family of twins and twins and sextuplets is related to me via our Figler/Figlyar line. Their grandad Bernie Figler (or Dziadzi of 14, as he describes himself) told me that the show will air at 10:00 pm on TLC. And the family will be on Good Morning America that morning. This family is unusual in that they truly resisted the urge to share to go public, but circumstances caused them to move forward with this. So check out 10 of my little cousins!
Hayes Family (Twins, Twins and Sextuplets)

RootsTelevision.com gets a shout-out and the Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ!
» Blog Archive » Live from the Family History Expo, Mesa (AZ) Convention Center

There's just something about the notion of Barack Obama doing river dance that tickles my imagination . . .
'There's no one as Irish as Barack Obama' (Irish TV) aka Bádhraic Ó Bamaigh

Here we go again in the realm of genetic genealogy . . .
The ASHG Ancestry Testing Statement and Recommendations » The Genetic Genealogist

OK, I clearly said that the Finnegan tie to Carlingford was less than certain, so I'm prepared to be contradicted if I'm wrong, but all that's said about this challenge is that someone thinks the Finnegans might be from Derry or Mayo. That's it. No other substantiation. Margaret, give us some specifics if someone's found something else! As best as I can tell, Biden's Blewitt line is probably Mayo-based, but what's led some mystery person or entity to determine the Finnegans hail from Mayo or Kerry? This is a tease!
Claim to Biden ancestors challenged - News, frontpage - Argus.ie

Most of the other words are fairly obvious. Annie and Ellis clearly come from the story of Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island.

And That's?? Well, that had me baffled for a bit until I realized that almost everything written about me includes a remark about my Smolenyak Smolenyak name -- "yes, that's her real name."

Anyway, try it out with your own name and see what you find!

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Why not use RootsTelevision.com for your presentations?

Here's a great idea from Dick Eastman. He found himself pinch-hitting at the Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ over the weekend, speaking about Footnote for Beau Sharbrough, who wasn't able to make it. On the fly, he decided to use a video on RootsTelevision.com to get his presentation going and it worked brilliantly! 

You can read all about Dick's experiment and how he did it here.

l've shown videos on RootsTelevision.com at assorted events -- sometimes to demo the site itself and sometimes in the format of mini-film festivals on topics such as DNA or Annie Moore. But I had never thought about others doing this and I have to say that I like the idea!

Societies often tell us that they're now using RootsTelevision.com to pre-screen speakers, and I suppose we have enough videos up there from various conferences now (check out the Conference channel) that speakers could check out conferences as well!

If you have any other creative ideas for using RootsTelevision.com, I'd sure like to hear them!

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Genealogical Round Up, November 28

I feel the same way about genealogy.
A perfect hobby for these anxious times - Home Stories - NJ.com

Apparently one bad apple spoils the whole name . . .
The Genealogue: Few Bambinos Named Benito

Dee Welborn brought this one to my attention (thanks, Dee!). Times, they are a-changin'...
Japan offers mourners high-tech access to ancestors | Reuters

More videos from RootsTelevision.com -- Craig Scott and John Titford!
Roots Television | Og Blog: New Roots Tuesday, November 25

Interesting. I didn't know the National Parks Service was against this.
Thanks for the Ellis Island Memories … Bob Hope? - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com

Dick Eastman blogged the other day about how you could search Life Magazine images via google, so I had to check out whether they had the photos from the 1951 article I snagged while researching who would be king of America if George Washington had been king instead of president (see this link for the article: http://www.ancestrymagazine.com/2008/09/cover-story/the-man-or-woman-who-would-be-king.). At any rate, sure enough! Here's one of the potential monarchs -- although he had passed away by the time I started climbing the Washington family tree.
LIFE: Portrait of retired carpenter Frank Crai... - Hosted by Google

A multi-generational GM family . . .
Family that's given 300 years to GM hopes for future - CNN.com

Now the Swiss want to claim Obama!
Genealogy is becoming more fashionable in Switzerland. - swissinfo

A new magazine for those with Scottish roots!
Discover My Past Scotland - Connecting you with your Scottish heritage

More than 100 of his descendants! This is the kind of story I like to stumble across.
Firefighter honored 113 years after his death -- chicagotribune.com

Ireland finally coming into its own in the genealogical world.
Bringing history back to life - Irish - Independent.ie

Hmmm . . . a new book on genealogy with a twist. The writers aren't genealogists. They're technology writers. I'm kind of curious, aren't you?
Amazon.com: The Online Genealogy Handbook: Brad Schepp, Debra Schepp: Books

Oprah and Abigail Thomas weigh in on how to write your memoir.
How to Write Your Memoir by Abigail Thomas

I remember a few years back getting a call asking me to find Bob Hope in the Ellis Island database (search on Leslie Hape), so I'm delighted both that he's getting a stamp and that the Ellis Island library is being named after him!
Postal Service Provides Sneak Peek of Bob Hope Stamp - 7thSpace Interactive

Genealogy charts designed specifically for weddings to show how the bride and groom are related to all their guests. What will they think of next?
Genealogy Charts by Melangerie | Style Me Pretty : The Ultimate Wedding Blog

In my book, this qualifies her as a cool mom, but I don't know how many would agree with me!
Genetic test as a Christmas present | deCODE You

City directories online! Let's have more!
Ancestry.com Blog - » New U.S. City Directories Database

BBC NEWS | Europe | Polish tests 'confirm Copernicus'

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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.

  • 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 - "Trace Your Roots with DNA," "Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options," "Reverse Genealogy: Techniques for Finding Your Lost Loved Ones," "No Man Left Behind" and "Mini-Film Festival"
  • June 20, 2009 - Wichita, KS - Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies - "Trace your Roots with DNA," "Welcome to Roots Television," "Reverse Genealogy" and "Find that Obituary!"
  • 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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