October 2014 Seton Shields Genealogy Grant

Leah Chase is known as the "Queen of Creole Cuisine," but she's so much more than that–a patron of the arts, a civil rights leader, a champion of New Orleans–you name it. She's a truly remarkable woman, (and full disclosure: I researched her roots), so when I saw that a documentary of her life is being filmed, I wanted to help make it possible for more people to hear her story. You can help bring the project to life, as well, by pledging your support to the crowdsourcing campaign here.

Genealogy Roundup, November 19

Ellis Island, past and present: Tracing the first steps of millions to America – Love this art installment by JR on Ellis Island. And this is the best batch of photos I've seen from it online so far. Check it out!

I had a lot of fun last week, waxing on about all things genealogical on this "roots and hoops" episode of The Kim Power Stilson Talk Radio Show! You might want to give it a listen while you're tending to other online activities. http://www.byuradio.org/episode/f07af7d3-dcb7-49ed-9fe2-5bc3eb7b16a0/the-kim-power-stilson-show-genealogical-adventurer-and-storyteller

‘If I Had Known My Mother Back Then’, A Daughter Puts Herself Into Her Mother’s Childhood Photos – Well, this should be confusing for future genealogists (as if we don't have enough problems identifying everyone in old photos already!), but it's still fun! h/t to Christy Camren

He Was a 98-Year-Old Veteran. A Picture Taken of Him Just One Day Before Death Has Moved America. – RIP, Justus Belfield.

September 2014 Seton Shields Genealogy Grant

I loved the book, Five-Finger Discount, by Helene Stapinski. Then to learn that a documentary about this dramatic, multi-generational saga – featuring a cast of swindlers, bookies, embezzlers, political "fixers" and mobster wannabes – is in process...well, how great is that? The film will explore how families and cities grow and change, through the medium of Helene's journey from past to present. It's a great story and I'm proud to be supporting the film with a grant award. If you feel as drawn to the story, as I am, you'll be happy to know that you can help bring this film to life, too, by supporting the crowdsourcing project here.

Genealogy Roundup, October 27

If you've got some Norwegian ancestry, but have never been to Norway, you need to check out this TV show - "Amazing Race" meets "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Oldest Kentucky WWII vet dies at 107

An interesting peek at the behind-the-scenes process for "Who Do You Think You Are?" in Holstein, MO - and yes, the next season starts in January 2015, so you'll just have a small gap between "Finding Your Roots" and another dose of #WDYTYA!

The Happy Genealogy of Pharrell Williams

Genealogy Roundup, October 20

How Iceland's genealogy obsession leads to scientific breakthroughs.

Jerome woman reunites with siblings after 73 years.

Way back in 2008, when I traced then-candidate Obama's roots to the village of Moneygall in Ireland, I had no idea what that discovery would trigger. This article provides an update with both positive and negative perspectives.

114-year-old woman has to lie about age to join Facebook.

French soldier’s room unchanged 96 years after his death in First World War. Love that they've honored the request.

One of the better pieces I've read on genetic genealogy in a while - not a how-to, but rather, a real life experience.

I know you've been wondering . . .What the Statue Of Liberty would look like as a $300M condo.

August 2014 Seton Shields Genealogy Grant

The Genealogy & History Department of the Shelby County Public Library provides housing for documentation dating as far back as 1822 for Shelby County, Indiana and surrounding counties. Over 3,500 family and history folders contain invaluable information from Shelby County’s earliest organizations and settlers. The grant award will fund the purchase of a mobile scanner that will be used to help visitors preserve valuable family photos and documents, as well as to quickly share these with the library so more information can be added to the department's family files.

Genealogical Serendipity x 2

Those of you who are long-time genealogists might remember my first book, In Search of Our Ancestors, which was the companion to the PBS Ancestors series. This book is out of print (though I'm considering re-publishing it) and is a favorite of mine - not only because it was my first, but because it's a collection of 101 tales of genealogical serendipity.

Recently, I received a fun email that I just had to share, and the writer, Marcia Smyth, kindly granted permission. In Marcia's own words . . .

"Quite some time ago, I ordered online a used book titled "In Search of our Ancestors" by Megan Smolenyak. When it arrived at my home in California, I put it on the shelf with my other genealogy books. I finally pulled it off the shelf today and opened it. There is a tag on it, showing that it must have been donated to, and re-sold by, Deseret Industries. The name of the previous owner is inscribed on the title page ---- Katie Lamm ---- my cousin, who lives in Idaho.

The book's subtitle is "101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity . . ." I would say that it was serendipitous for this particular book to find its way to me!"

When I replied to Marcia asking for her OK to post this, she added additional commentary revealing just how against-the-odds this was:

"I messaged Katie on Facebook yesterday.  She said she remembered enjoying the book and must have donated it during one of her moves. . . Katie and I have only seen each other once recently in about 40 years, since our cousins decided to have reunions of our generation."

Surely, this copy of ISOOA is exactly where it's supposed to be!