Honoring Our Ancestors Newsletter
By Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
Greetings Fellow Family History Sleuths,
Summertime is typically vacation time with the family, and often we're visiting family in other cities, states and countries. It's a great time to ask older family members to share a story or two about Great Aunt Sadie or another long-passed family member. Once a generation leaves us, it becomes that much more challenging to find people who can and will share those stories that pass down through families. So spice up your summer vacation with some good old-fashioned story telling!
In this newsletter. . .
I'm a big fan of
Andrew Carroll. Back when I wrote Honoring
Our Ancestors, Andy was kind enough to share the tale of how
he became fascinated with letters after a fire had destroyed his family's
home. More than anything else in the house, he mourned the loss of
the letters that had been mailed to him over the years, including some
that had been sent by a friend who had been at
inspired Andy to write a book called Letters
of a Nation, which quickly became a bestseller.
Realizing that the most compelling letters are those written in the
environment of war, he went on to found The Legacy Project and write War
Letters, another bestseller. The intent behind both
efforts was to "encourage Americans to honor and remember those who
have served, or are currently serving, this nation in wartime by seeking
out and preserving their letters home."
Not content to kick
back, he then embarked on a global tour (35 countries) to collect still
more letters for his latest book, Behind
the Lines: Powerful and Revealing American and Foreign War Letters --
and One Man's Search to Find Them. 200 "as
is" letters (that is, he left them unedited) covering conflicts in
If someone in your
family has served in the military, this would make an ideal gift (maybe
a last minute Father's Day gift?). And if you find yourself as
entranced with these letters as I have (perhaps it's the Army brat in
me!), you might want to check http://warletters.com/missiontour/index.html
for Andy's 50-state tour to see when he'll be in your area.
We celebrated five years of the Honoring Our Ancestors Grant Program by having a contest and selecting five grant winners in the month of May!
The five grants were awarded to the following projects:
Congratulations to the winners, and a big Thank You to everyone who took the time to send in their proposals! It was a lot of fun to read them and, as usual, difficult to choose the winners. Please visit our Grant Page to apply for a grant to support your genealogical project.
Oprah Winfrey is the
latest to join the ranks of genetealogists around the
world! Speaking at an event in
Ever feel like the Black Sheep of the family?? How about actually receiving an award from the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists! They saw fit to bestow one upon yours truly on behalf of the Honoring Our Ancestors Grant Program, and I'm tickled to be an official Bo-Peep awardee! I think you'll enjoy reading more about this very interesting organization!
The Family Tree Magazine has named Genetealogy.com (my user-friendly site dedicated to DNA genealogy) one of their "101 Best Undiscovered Family History Web Sites" in the August 2005 magazine. The magazine will be on news stands Tuesday, June 21, and contains many rich resources for hungry genealogists!
Articles by Megan, Published in Ancestry Daily News
May 25, Memorial Day Is Every Day -- This is a moving story told by Dr. Daniel Kortenkamp of events during WWII, that came full circle many years later in the form of kindness to Americans. It reveals the gratitude that still lingers for sacrifices made decades ago.
We Search -- In a Genetealogy.com survey, I asked the question, What
Triggered Your Interest and Involvement in Genealogy?
The tabulated results are in this article, as well as comments from many
readers about what motivated them to pursue family history -- some
surprising! Where do you fit in?
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!
It's always a pleasure to connect with other like-minded folks at these inspiring events. Thanks to the the Oklahoma Genealogical Society, the Orange County Genealogical Society and the Genealogical Society of New Jersey for having me speak at their events. Here's what's coming up next (visit Schedule for speaking topics and details):
Please forward this newsletter to your family and friends who are interested in genealogy - thank you!
Wishing you an abundance of genealogical
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