Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter
April 30, 2005

Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,

Spring is finally here, and it's great to see the brightly colored flowers magically appearing everywhere!  It's already wildly busy, and I wanted to share a few bits and pieces of information with you.

In this newsletter. . .

Celebrating 5 Years of Grants

Happy Birthday to the Honoring Our Ancestors Grant Program!  During the last five years, 59 grants have been awarded.  Thank you to all who have applied or passed the word on to others. It's been a privilege to support so many worthy endeavors.

Announcing (drum roll please). . .

To celebrate this special birthday, Honoring Our Ancestors will be granting FIVE awards at onceAll five grants will be awarded at the end of May, and the deadline for applications is May 25th, 2005 (although you're free to apply for a grant for any month at any time).  I look forward to reading all your exciting proposals and invite you to spread the word (and by the way, if you've applied within the last six months, your applications will also be considered)!  Click here to submit, and good luck to you!


Ellis Island Awards

Some of you may have heard that Colin Powell was one of this year's honorees at the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards. I snagged this photo of him with his daughter Linda at the ceremonies, which will be especially memorable for the fact that Brian (my tolerant husband) and I learned who the new pope was from Lee Iacocca!

Colin Powell and his daughter, Linda, at the Ellis Island Awards

If you're curious who the other honorees were or just want to take a closer look at this year's ceremonies, visit my mini-photo gallery of the event.


Ancestry's Immigration Collection

If you haven't checked it out yet, Ancestry.com's Immigration Collection is pretty amazing.  That would be true if it simply included the first-ever indexing of 1851-1891 New York arrivals -- up until now, a black hole for many of us who weren't lucky enough to have specifics of their ancestors' arrivals. But if you take a look, you'll see that the collection includes many other ports (e.g., Baltimore , Boston , New Orleans , San Francisco , etc.) and time frames ranging from the 1600s to the 1940s. 

I've found an Irish great-great-grandmother who came via New York in 1853 and a Rusyn great-grandmother who arrived via Philadelphia in 1894 (she was headed for Baltimore , but was apparently re-routed).  Because of terrific functionality (that is, lots of fields to use), I've managed to unearth other immigrants from particular villages not quite as easily and effectively as at www.ellisisland.org (after all, many earlier records didn't include village of origin) but still a nice bonus. 

Also, a fun and little-noted twist is that when you search on a name, it sometimes searches that name not only for the passenger, but also for those who sponsored the immigrants.  By searching on the name of a great-grandfather who was already here, for instance, I turned up a sister-in-law of his because she had listed his name and residence as her final destination.

If you're still looking for some immigrant ancestors, do yourself a favor and spend a little time playing with this collection!

 Upcoming Events

It's always a pleasure to connect with other like-minded folks at these inspiring events.  Thanks to the Fairfax Genealogical Society, the Lancaster Family History Conference, the Central Jersey Genealogical Club and the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference for having me speak at their events.  Here's what's coming up next (visit Schedule for speaking topics and details):

  • April 30, 2005 - Oklahoma City, OK - Oklahoma Genealogical Society Spring Seminar
  • May 14, 2005 - Goshen, NY - Orange County Genealogical Society
  • June 11, 2005 - Genealogical Society of New Jersey, Gloucester County, NJ 
  • June 18, 2005 - New York, NY - NYGBS
  • September 7, 2005 - Salt Lake City, UT - APG Professional Management Conference
  • October 6-8, 2005 - Clive, IA - Iowa Genealogical Society Annual Fall Conference, 40th Anniversary
  • November 13, 2005 - Monmouth County, NJ - Monmouth County Genealogical Society

2006 Events

  • January 17, 2006 - Haddon Heights, NJ - Haddon Heights Historical Society
  • 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