Genealogy Round Up, April 21

Congratulations to Randy Seaver! Genea-Musings is 8 Years Old

For anyone who's been interested in possibly snagging a copy of "Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing," there's a sample (including table of contents, foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and a chunk of the first chapter about my work with the Army) here.

This is an actual "news" story? The more you read, the stranger it gets. Murrysville woman claims she's Virgin Mary's cousin 65 times removed

Memorial for Philip Reed, Slave Who Placed Freedom on the Capitol

Back in 2009, I wrote about Philip Reed (note: most spell his name Reid, but I use the Reed spelling because that's the way he spelled it), the one-time slave who was responsible for placing the Statue of Freedom on top of the U.S. Capitol. Though others had researched him before, no one had followed his life after that point.

I looked into his later years, and among other things, discovered where he was buried.  Well, where he was buried the first time, the second time, and the third time. As I - with the help of my sister, Stacy - found out, Philip Reed was disinterred twice, and each time, taken a little further from his beloved Capitol.

I shared more of his story in chapter 15 of Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing, and Andrew Carroll wrote about him in the closing chapter of Here Is Where.

Yesterday a memorial was installed at National Harmony Memorial Park, his final resting place, and I for one, am glad to see Philip Reed finally getting at least this modest recognition.

Calling All Farrells!

My good friends Brendan and Marnie Farrell were kind enough to share the following with me.  As you may or may not be aware - particularly those of you with Irish heritage, 2014 marks the Millennium Celebration of Brian Boru High King of Ireland.  Brendan wrote the following history, which will be of special interest to anyone with a Farrell branch in their family tree.  To learn more, check out this website about the year long celebrations. And should you decide to travel to Ireland, you might want to consider a stay at Brendan and Marnie's medieval Turin Castle!

The 23rd of April 2014 is a most auspicious date. For it will be 1000 years since the Battle of Clontarf and, 1000 years since the first Farrell, Fearghail fought alongside Brian Boru, the Ard Ri or High King of Ireland. The battle was a close run affair resulting in victory for Brian but also resulting in the deaths of both Brian and Fearghail who thankfully both had progeny with sufficient genetic fortitude to establish and propel  the o’ Brian and o’ Farrell clans into the next millennium.

The battle of Clontarf is generally regarded as the definitive battle between the native Irish and the Norse invaders or Vikings but, it wasn’t as simple as that; There were Norsemen and native Irish represented  on both sides - It was more of a Munster-Leinster final with the Farrells on the Munster side. However, the outcome was hugely significant effectively ending  Norse hopes of dominion over Ireland as had recently happened in England.

The Farrell name is synonymous with the county of Longford, the full name being Longphort U’ Fhearghall or O’Farrell’s fortress. Longford was the seat of power of the Farrell kingdom of Anghaile or Annaly .Anghaile was the Grandfather of Fearghail and according to the “Annals of the Four Masters”, Fearghail was King of Conmaicne and son of the legendary Fergus Mac Roigh and Queen Maedhbh (Maeve).

The Farrells were Princes of Annaly presiding over the kingdom for more than five hundred years until the English confiscations and subsequent plantations of James the 1st in the late 17th century, when Annaly was reduced to shire land.  Many Farrell’s chose exile over English domination seeking refuge in the continental armies of France and Spain. France, at one time, boasted an entire O’Farrell regiment and Farrells, over the centuries ,have also helped swell the ranks of amongst others, British, American, Canadian, Austrian, Mexican and Sardinian armies.

The Farrell name in all its many guises is a truly global phenomenon.  There are Farrells scattered all around the globe from Australia to Zimbabwe! The Caribbean island of Monserrat has many Irish descendants, amongst them, many Farrells who were possibly, transported as slaves by Cromwell l in the late 17c century.

So if your name is: - Farrell, o’ Farrell, (o) Farrall,(0) Farrelly,(0)Farell,(0)Farely,(0)Farel, (0)Farley,(0)Farill,(0) Ferrall,(0) Feraly,(0)Ferral,(0) Ferally,(0) Ferall,(0)Feraly,(0) Feral,(0) Ferrell, (0) Ferrill, (0) Frawley,(0) Fearghail ……..  Please raise a glass and enjoy a very happy millennium!    


Brendan Farrell

Turin Castle, Co. Mayo, Ireland     

January 2014 Seton Shields Genealogy Grant Awarded

A grant has been given to Jonathan Puckett of Richland, MS for planning Clarke-Day-Puckett family reunions, printing genealogical histories on the family, preserving old family artifacts, etc. Jonathan has compiled over 700 pages of related material into two published volumes and is working on a third. He also volunteers his services at local and state archives. And by the way, Jonathan is 15 years old.


Atlanta, GA—April 12, 2014. At the 2014 OAH Annual Meeting, OAH President Alan M. Kraut and OAH President-Elect Patricia Limerick presented Stephen A. Briganti, president and chief executive officer of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, with the 2014 Friend of History Award.

The OAH gives the Friend of History Award to an institution or organization, or an individual working primarily outside college or university settings, for outstanding support of historical research, the public presentation of American history, or the work of the OAH.

Stephen A. Briganti is the president and chief executive officer of the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation, one of the most successful examples of a public/private partnership in US history. In that capacity he has been a pioneer in crafting a historic restoration and museum that presents a story of the American past to a broad public audience, while creating a family history center that links individuals to the history of their families and their country on an unprecedented scale.

Between 1982 and 1990, Mr. Briganti, formerly an executive for United Way, brought to fruition the historic restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and the creation of museums at both sites. The 220,000 square foot Ellis Island museum is the fourth largest museum in New York City. Its library and archive—the home of rich oral histories and manuscripts, many collected from those who passed through the island earlier in their lives—is a key repository for migration scholars. Briganti raised more than $700 million dollars for these endeavors from corporations, civic associations, and individual citizens. However, Briganti’s vision went beyond the museum. Through his leadership, the Foundation opened the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island in 2001. He raised $30 million for the center, which makes the information it collected freely available online. In the first three months of operation, its website received more than one billion hits.

To supply the historical expertise on the projects, Briganti recruited a history advisory committee of unpaid volunteers—mostly professional historians and museum experts—chaired by the late Rudolf J. Vecoli, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota, and after 2003, by Alan M. Kraut, professor of history at American University. From the beginning, Briganti’s vision was a public-private collaboration that included the academic community and would yield a museum grounded in state-of-the-art scholarship.

Most recently, Briganti decided to more fully tell the story of the peopling of the United States by expanding the Ellis Island museum with the Peopling of America Center, which will cover the period prior to 1892 and post-World War II. For this expansion begun in 2005, he raised in excess of $20 million. The Pre-Ellis galleries were opened in October 2011 and after the completion of repairs due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Post-Ellis galleries will complete the Center in Spring 2015.

Briganti’s impact on public history has not been confined to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. In addition to his commitment to the history of immigration, Briganti has served as a consultant to such other important history museums as the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, the Motown Museum in Detroit, the Civil War Trust, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and the American Battle Monuments Commission for the development of the World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington.

Over the years, Stephen Briganti has been deeply involved in higher education. From 1998–2008, he served as a trustee of his alma mater, Butler University, and chaired the board from 1998–2001. Since 2009 he has been trustee emeritus. In 1991 he was awarded an honorary degree of Juris Doctor from Butler University. In 1990, at the opening of the Ellis Island Museum, Briganti was named Person of the Week by ABC-TV News with Peter Jennings.

Although his formal education in history concluded with his BA degree in history and political science at Butler University, Stephen Briganti has devoted his career to bringing history to a broader public. His role has been far more than merely raising money to support projects. His insistence upon giving historians their independence and freedom to disagree in the cause of historical discourse is rare among CEOs of powerful foundations. His trust of and consultation with professional historians makes him a friend of history, as does his commitment to bringing the past to the public regardless of how controversial and disputed the lessons may be. Commitment to historical veracity, boundless energy, and generosity of spirit characterize all of Stephen Briganti’s endeavors.



Founded in 1907, the OAH is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past. The OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourages wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. Members in the United States and abroad include college and university professors, students, precollegiate teachers, archivists, museum curators, and other public historians employed in government and the private sector.

For more information about the Friend of History Award, visit the OAH online at