Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Anyone seen Finding My Roots?

As the first episode of Who Do You Think You Are is getting closer, we are still wondering when Finding Your Roots will be back on the air. As you must know by now it you are a fan, the show has been on hold due to a conflict involving Ben Affleck. 

Affleck asserted improper influence on the PBS show when he asked that his ancestor be withheld from his family's episode. The ancestor was a slaveholder and apparently this was an embarrassment. Well, all of us can find embarrassing family members if we look long enough.

Mr. Affleck has since apologized but it didn't get the popular show back on the air any sooner. I came across one article by the Huffington Post that gave a January 2016 date for the show to return. However, I have not seen anything on the show's website or Facebook page that would confirm that fact. 

So until we hear a confirmation from the network, I will assume they are still investigating the problem. So that is the bad news, but the good new is that WDYTYA is almost ready for prime time!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

WDYTYA One More Time

Another season of Who Do You Think You Are will begin on Sunday, July 26, 2015, at 9/8c. This is the 7th season of this program. Wow. I must say there must be a lot of people out there who want to know who they are. Sometimes I think that the genealogists on the program make it all look too easy, but if they showed all the behind the scenes work it takes to produce this program, prospective family researchers might give up before they even get started. So it is good to see the end results. 

The executive producers, Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinskey had a great idea and they had the courage to go with it. For that, all of us who have been doing this research for years should thank them for inspiring more people to look for more records. The more research, the more genealogists, the more connections we make. I think we have seen this on the websites that rely completely on volunteer work. We need to share our research both online and in person.

So this is the lineup for the next few weeks: (I would recommend that you view each episode, but if you are looking for research in a specific area that has been noted.)

Bryan Cranston. Breaking Bad. Civil War research.

Gennifer Goodwin. Once  Upon a Time. Mystery ancestors.

Tom Bergeron. Dancing With the Stars. French Canadians.

Alfre Woodard. Desperate Housewives. Origin of her surname.

And finally, J. K. Rowlings Harry Potter. French Roots. 

Enjoy!!
 

 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July Freebies!


Ancestry and Fold3 are both offering free acess to some of their records in honor of the 4th of July. 

At Ancestry you will be able to search colonial records for the 13 colonies. This includes birth marriage, and death records. In addition to this visitors will also be able to search all census records from 1790 - 1940. This offer will last until July 6.  ancestry.com/cs/julyfourth2015

At Fold3 there will be free access to their Revolutionary War Collection til July 16, These records include war pensions, service records, and the war rolls, in addition to many others.  go.fold3.com/revolutionary-war/?xid=1858&utm_source=content&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=odp-wwii-may2015

So today when the family is not grilling or watching fireworks, find time to gather around the computer and see what roll your ancestors played in forming this great country. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Want to Be Queen For A Day?

How would you like to be born with your genealogy completed. Never needing to trace your family history? Never being able to experience the fun, the fulfillment, the joy, the excitement of finding a long lost ancestor or breaking thru a brick wall.

On May 2, 2015, Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born with very little chance of ever needing to research her family. Do you envy her? She can read about her ancestors. She can walk the halls of Buckingham Palace and stop to look at a painting of great-great grandma or grandpa. 

She will even have access to all the information about closet skeletons. The rogues, mistresses, pretenders to the throne, and let's not forget Henry the VIII. She will know when and where they were born, when and where and how they died. She will even know all the minute details of each dash.

Would you trade genealogy for a diamond tiara and a title? I have been thinking about this for almost a month and I lean toward genealogy. 

My first thought was the new princess can research her mom's family. But then again, probably, not. Since brother George is in line to be king some day, I am sure her mom's family history is complete and locked away in a vault somewhere for safe keeping. So I guess it is all or nothing.

It is said that your genealogy is never complete -- unless of course you are a member of a royal family. How sad! 

In an effort to come to some conclusion, I decided to Google whether or not the royal family can indeed be genealogists. And there is was: The genealogy of the royal family complete with family group sheets and pedigree charts -- some even going back as far as Adam and Eve.

Well that answers that! It is one or the other. Tiaras or transcription. Diamonds or death certificates. Palaces or probate.

Your choice. What will it be?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

You Can't Prune Your Family Tree!

So, Ben Affleck hid an ancestor! Well, I guess with all the celebrity genealogists on TV over the last few years it was bound to happen. It was inevitable. And now a dark cloud has been cast over the world of family research. Oh dear, how will we every recover?

What's that you say? It's no biggie?

 Of course it is. It is all over cable news for crying out loud. It was leaked by a whistle-blower. Yes, genealogy now has its very own whistle-blower. It's a biggie. We have been exposed. We hide ancestors. And apparently it is against the law.

Give me a break!!! 

I have to admit that I had second thoughts about commenting on this. I was a little afraid of the feedback I might get. And then I realized that this happens all the time. For many reasons. Grow up people.Can you say "skeletons in the closet" boys and girls? 

So Ben has an ancestor who was a slave owner and he wants to hide it. That is his choice. He will eventually get used to it. I know that may sound callous but it is true. The first time you find out that a member of your family owned slaves it really sets you back. And you try to close that book or ignore that record. But most of us don't get outed by some whistle blower on cable TV. We adjust to the fact. We learn to accept it. And to be honest, it is nobody's business. 

So Ben apologized. Why? It is not necessary. You can't change the past. You can't rearrange your ancestors. They are who they are. You can't go into the probate court record books and erase everything.   
 
On the other hand you can't add "favorable ancestors" to your family tree either. This is the opposite of what Ben has been charged with. For example, let's say you want to be descended from a president, movie star, or famous cowboy.

Perhaps it is a rumor in your family that your ancestors arrived in America on the Mayflower. In this case, you do everything you can do to find an ancestor who proves this. And you will stop at nothing to hang some unrelated Plymouth, Massachusetts, resident on your family tree. Of course, you also ignore everyone in the family that moved from New York to San Francisco in a Mayflower Moving Van. 

I think this practice of finding famous ancestors in order to enhance your family tree has now faded away. I like to think that we are more concerned with finding the people who shaped our lives.  

The truth is you can't prune your family tree. You can't deadhead those little flowers that spring up on the branches. They are all a part of who you are. 

Accept the people who make up your family tree. Get to know them. It's possible. All you have to do is fill in the "dash".



Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Time for Celebration!!!


On Friday the birth records of adopted children born between 1964 and 1996 were opened to the public in Columbus, Ohio. It's about time!

I know it is a delicate subject and how you feel about access to these records can be an extremely personal thing, depending on where you are sitting on the branches of the family tree. Back in the 1960s, it was not a good thing to be an unwed mother. Pregnant teenage girls were hidden by their families. There were homes the girls lived in during their pregnancies. On the weekends they could go visit a family member who would hide them. Then the trip to the hospital, that long ride home without your child, and the secrets were kept by those who knew the truth. 

In 1963, Ohio lawmakers decided that all these birth records needed to be sealed forever. This meant that all of these children and their descendants would never have access to the records of their ancestors. Fortunately after years of hard work this law was repealed and Gov. John Kaisch signed into law the bill that eventually allowed adoptees access to their adoption records.

It should be noted, however, that these original birth records document the mother and child, but not necessarily the correct father. This was a topic of discussion at a recent genealogical society meeting. The question was raised about the possibility that the name of the father was changed by the mother for various reasons. But I suppose that  question could be raised for any birth certificate! But let's not worry about that right now. I am sure that will be a new brick wall that will be addressed in the near future. 

Right now I would just like to say to all of you who won this battle . . . . . 

Welcome To The Wonderful World of Genealogy!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Her Ancestors Would Be Proud.


I read an article today that so inspired me as a widow. It was an article on the first page of The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, Sunday, March 8, 2015: "Drabik ponders spotlight after years as adviser."

Sandy Drabik is the widow of D. Michael Collins, Mayor of Toledo, Ohio,  who passed away five days after he suffered cardiac arrest during a major snowstorm on February 1, 2015. According to the article in the newspaper, Sandy was her husband's partner, adviser, shoulder to lean on. That person behind the curtain, not necessarily pulling the strings -- more like the one who gave him words of encouragement and believed in him. Now Sandy is considering putting her name out there and running for the office of Mayor in order to complete the work her husband started. I am so proud of her. What a strong woman.

It is not easy to recover from the sudden death of your husband. You go through all the stages of grief whether you want to or not. And sometimes you relive the event. When Mayor Collins was rushed to the hospital I began to relive the events that happened when my husband passed away. The few hours that my family went through turned into the five days that the Collins family experienced. It was like slow-motion. I felt he wasn't going to make it; I could see the similarities. 

There have been many women who have taken over where their husbands left off and continued the work that they, in reality, partnered together. I admire Sandy Drabik. Her ancestors would be proud.