The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 19, 2013

Networks feature genealogy series

JOAN GRIFFIS
Commercial-News

Noted genealogical author Megan Smolenyak has reported in the Huffington Post that after a bit of a lull in genealogical programming, four genealogy series will premiere on U.S. television in the near future. First one was Christopher Guest and Jim Paddock’s mockumentary series, “Family Tree,” on May 12 on HBO.

The remaining series that are “under production” are “Who Do You Think You Are?” (TLC) and “Finding Your Roots (PBS) — which both focused on celebrity subjects — and Genealogy Roadshow, “an Irish import … with an emphasis on family history mysteries, historical events, and ‘average Joes.’”

Read Smolenyak’s article at http://goo.gl/8rlGj. The celebrities lined up for the “Who Do You Think You Are?” series include Kelly Clarkson, Chelsea Handler and Christina Applegate.

Honoring ancestors

Smolenyak’s website, Honoring Our Ancestors, at http://www.honoringourancestors.com, should be bookmarked and visited frequently for helpful advice and other information. For example, a click on the toolbar title “Library” allows one to click on “Internet Research” with links to Smolenyak’s articles that have appeared in Huffington Post, Ancestry Daily News, Family Chronicle, and others. Her articles’ titles include “Keep an Eye on eBay,” “Flea Market Rescue,” “Finding Bibles Online,” and much more. Also from the toolbar titled “Library” be sure to read her articles under “Research Techniques.”

“Celebs” on the toolbar, provides links to interesting articles including President Obama’s roots, Michelle Obama’s roots, and Annie Moore’s roots (the little girl who was the first to step on Ellis Island).

Smolenyak’s generosity is greatly appreciated by the 600 recipients who have received her no-strings-attached genealogical grants since May 2000. Read the stories of the genealogical projects she has been supporting. Perhaps a local society could request similar help? (The online application is brief and easy.)

Under the toolbar title, “Submit,” one can click on a link to share with Smolenyak information or stories under the topics Orphan Heirlooms (“treasures” that need to be returned to owners/descendants), Lost Loved Ones’ Stories, and Brick Wall/Mystery Stories. She welcomes such new challenges, and although she “can’t tackle all cases,” her expertise might be just what is needed.

Smolenyak’s books all have been reviewed in this column, and they, too, can be ordered from her website. They include “Trace Your Roots with DNA,” “Who Do You Think You Are?” (the companion to the TV series by that name, with wonderful advice for beginners as well as seasoned researchers), and “Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing,” which includes more than 20 of her genealogical investigations and the methods she used to solve them.

In her latest book she remarks, “It’s high time for all of us to let our roots show.” Start searching.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing JBGriffis@aol.com