2018 Lackey Scholarship Winner Announced: Linda MacIver

The following announcement was written by the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records Alumni Association:

The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records Alumni Association (Gen-Fed Alumni) announces, with great pleasure, the recipient of the Richard S. Lackey Scholarship for 2018, Linda MacIver of Boston, Massachusetts. Awarded yearly, this scholarship covers tuition and some other expenses for the week long seminar, the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed). The scholarship application specifies an “experienced researcher employed in a paid or volunteer position in the services of the genealogical community.”

John Sittner Jumps into 2nd Congressional District Race

Many of us who have been in the genealogy world for a long time will remember John Sittner. He was the founder of Ancestry Publishing, a company that he later sold and soon after the company name was changed to John now has a new interest: he has filed paperwork to run for Congress as an independent candidate in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District.

Sittner, who is also the owner of Ethos Investments, a real estate investment firm, filed paperwork last week ahead of his candidacy. Sittner previously was director of Olympic opportunities and planning for Salt Lake City leading up to the 2002 Winter Games.

Sittner will be challenging 3-term incumbent Republican Chris Stewart in November. Democrats Shireen Ghorbani, Randy Hopkins, and Misty Snow also plan to run for the same Congressional seat.

Gary M Smith, R.I.P.

Gary and Diana Smith

The genealogy world has lost another very good friend. Gary M Smith has passed away. He was a well-known and popular speaker, often speaking at genealogy meetings large and small along with his wife, Diana Crisman Smith. Together, they were were well known for their activities supporting the Genealogical Speakers Guild and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE). They also sponsored several genealogy cruises in the past few years and I was fortunate enough to be invited on board as one of speakers on some of their cruises.

We are going to miss you, Gary.

You can read more on Diana Crisman Smith’s Facebook page at:

Corrections to the Previously-published Ancestry of Meghan Markle

The name of Meghan Markle is all over the news these days. The American actress, model, and humanitarian recently became engaged to Prince Henry of Wales. Several news services have published articles about her mixed British and American ancestry. I published articles pointing to the news stories earlier at and at

John Wells is a long-time genealogist who has studied one of the families in Meghan Markle’s family tree. He believes he has found errors in the recently-published claims of her Ragland ancestors and he has the documentation to prove his information is based on original sources. If you have an interest in Meghan Markle’s ancestry, you undoubtedly will want to read John Wells’s report at:

Announcing Two New Additions to Past & Present Pathways

The following announcement was written by the folks at: Past & Present Pathways

Tina Sansone and Roccie Hill are proud to announce two new additions to Past & Present Pathways. Past and Present Pathways is a genealogical research, history writing, DNA analysis, and family history editing company. The company formed in 2016 with Tina Sansone, Roccie Hill, Carla Love Maitland and Sheri McNeil Savory. Each are independent researchers that support each other. The two newest additions are Sheri Beffort Fenley and Diane L. Giannini, CG. Both are members of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).

How Tom Tryniski Digitized Nearly 50 Million Pages of Newspapers in his Living Room

Tom Tryniski has been mentioned several times in this newsletter. (See for a list of past articles about him and his work.) Anyone who has looked at Tom Tryniski’s web site at probably has been impressed by the site’s collection of 27 million historic newspaper pages available to everyone, free of charge.

Now the Columbia Journalism Review has also written about Tom’s work, saying (amongst other things):

“TOM TRYNISKI DOES NOT LOCK HIS DOORS. He spends most days sitting in his living room in Fulton, New York, 30 miles northwest of Syracuse, in front of two jumbo computer monitors, looking something like a security guard, but friendlier. He appears young for 68—skinny, with a head of white hair and an energetic demeanor. He wears a uniform of jeans and a slim-fitting T-shirt, but no coat in the chilly fall air. When we talk, he is almost always smirking.

Pat Gooldy, R.I.P

Pat Gooldy, well known as the owner of Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe, passed away recently in Indianapolis and was buried 20 December 2017. There is no obituary and nothing on FindAGrave. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ray Gooldy.

Pat wrote a number of genealogy articles as well as at least one book: Manual for Indiana Genealogical Research. She also compiled and edited, with Charles M. Franklin, the Index to Testators of Indiana Wills to 1880.

Ray and Pat Gooldy opened Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe in 1974, providing exhibits, lectures, classes, publications and other genealogical services. Their first major genealogical seminar was in Decatur, Illinois in 1975 and they continued to display and/or lecture at dozens of events until Ray’s death in 2002.

Genealogy Inspires Georgia Man to Get Back On Bicycle to Visit Sites of His Ancestors

A scare with traffic kept D. Gordon Draves off of his bicycle for 25 years. Learning about his ancestors got him back on. For the past three summers, the 71-year-old East Point resident has embarked on ambitious bike trips in the hopes of learning about his family’s history. Even places that didn’t turn up much in the way of documentation still paid off, Draves says. “It really just feels good to follow in the footsteps of your ancestors.”

You can read an interview with D. Gordon Draves in the AJCePaper at

By the way, I have to insert a personal comment here:

MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet Tells the Stories of His Ancestors Who Were Victims of the Holocaust

In honor of International Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorated on Saturday, MyHeritage’s CEO and Founder, Gilad Japhet, wrote a very personal blog post in dedication of his family and others who perished in the Holocaust. He wrote the article in memory of his ancestors who were victims of one of the most tragic human experiences this world has ever witnessed.

Japhet writes, “My passion to learn more about my Chwojnik ancestors was key to my personal interest in genealogy, which began when I was 13 years old.”

Almost all genealogists attempt to learn of the difficulties and successes of their relatives. Those of us with families who were not affected by the Holocaust have difficulty understanding the horrors that other families endured. Gilad Japhet’s blog post helps provide some understanding of those terrible years. You can read his words in the MyHeritage Blog at:

Emily Anne Croom, R.I.P.

Emily Anne Croom was a well-known genealogy expert, a prolific author, and frequent public speaker. She passed away January 21, 2018 in Bellaire, Texas.

Emily’s interest in family history led her to write her first genealogy book, Unpuzzling Your Past. That was followed by several more books, including: The Genealogist’s Companion and Sourcebook, The Sleuth Book for Genealogists. Strategies for More Successful Family History Research, and A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors which she co-wrote with Franklin Carter Smith. She also wrote numerous magazine articles that were published in some of the leading genealogy magazines.

Emily certainly left behind a first-class legacy that has helped many genealogists, especially those who are new to family history.

Boston Historian and Author Honored with NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Award

The following announcement was written by the folks at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

New England Historic Genealogical Society Honors One of Its Own—William M. Fowler, Jr.— with NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Award

In a Tribute to the Renowned Historian and Biographer, Mayor Martin Walsh Proclaims January 25th William M. Fowler, Jr. Day in City of Boston

January 26, 2018—Boston, Massachusetts—On Thursday, January 25, 2018, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) honored the vision and leadership of renowned historian and author William M. Fowler, Jr., a tireless contributor to the appreciation of American history, on the same day that Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh proclaimed William M. Fowler, Jr. Day through-out the City of Boston. At a NEHGS Family History Benefit Dinner in Boston last evening, Fowler was presented with the NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Award and hailed for his many contributions in the fields of history and biography.

The Humorous Obituary of Terry Ward

I admire this man’s lifestyle. Terry Ward of DeMotte, Indiana, passed away January 23, 2018. I don’t know who wrote his obituary but, whoever it was, that person has a sense of humor. Amongst other things, the obituary states:

“Terry Wayne Ward, age 71, of DeMotte, IN, escaped this mortal realm on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, leaving behind 32 jars of Miracle Whip, 17 boxes of Hamburger Helper and multitudes of other random items that would prove helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse.”

“Terry died knowing that The Blues Brothers was the best movie ever, (young) Clint Eastwood was the baddest-ass man on the planet, and hot sauce can be added to absolutely any food.”

Bruce Harrison, R.I.P.

The genealogy world has lost another of our prolific authors and publishers. Bruce Harrison passed away several months ago although I only learned of his passing this week.

Along with Kristine, his wife and business partner, Bruce Harrison was the founder of Millisecond Publishing Company. He was the indefatigable developer of the Family Forest CDs, a collection of family histories of celebrities, politicians, historical figures, etc.

He and Kristine published detailed family connections of notable people throughout history and up to modern times. Many genealogists discovered their family connections to kings, queens, presidents, athletes, and to Hollywood movie stars, thanks to the products produced by the Harrisons. The products obviously were a labor of love for the Harrisons.

Eric Shoup Appointed As CEO of Peerspace

Many people in the genealogy businesses know Eric Shoup. He spent six years leading Ancestry’s product team as Chief Product Officer. His friends and former co-workers will be interested to learn that Eric has a new position: CEO of Peerspace, a company that helps businesses to rent out their location or office to other businesses or individuals.

According to Peerspace’s announcement: “Shoup joins Peerspace with over twenty years of experience building products and growing tech businesses. Most recently, Shoup served as COO of Scribd and previously spent six years leading Ancestry’s product team as Chief Product Officer. Prior to that, he spent five years at eBay, where he had responsibility for several of eBay’s marketplace products.”

Mary Ann Schulz, R.I.P.

UPDATE: An article describing the life of Mary Ann Schulz may be found at:

A genealogist, Mary Ann Schulz, and three other people were murdered on New Year’s Eve by a deranged New Jersey teen-ager with an assault rifle.

According to her obituary, “Not only was Mary Ann our family historian, she shared her expertise and passion for genealogy with anyone and everyone. She served on the Executive Board for the Monmouth County Genealogy Society, and was actively involved in the German Special Interest and Memoirs Groups, and Publicity Committee. Mary Ann co-founded the African-American Special Interest Group and worked tirelessly on the area’s cemetery restoration projects.”

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Speak at RootsTech on March 3, 2018

Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, teacher, historian, filmmaker and public intellectual who currently serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Of interest to genealogists, Professor Gates also is the host of the popular television program, Finding Your Roots, now in its fourth season as a genealogy program on PBS. The RootsTech organizers have now announced that Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will be sharing his experiences as the RootsTech keynote speaker on March 3.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Garrison Keillor Pulled from PBS Series, ‘Finding Your Roots’

Garrison Keillor was scheduled to be part of the season finale of PBS’s Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. But in light of allegations of inappropriate behavior towards a co-worker at Prairie Home Companion, Keillor’s segment is being removed.

The “Funny Business” episode, scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19, was to spotlight Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari and Keillor. Now the segment with the legendary broadcaster will be replaced by a repeat featuring Maya Rudolph.

A statement released by Minnesota Public Radio says it learned of the allegations in October and has retained an outside law firm to investigate them. That investigation is ongoing.

Meghan Markle is Descended from King Edward III, according to Researchers at NEHGS

Markle is a cousin of her future husband, Prince Harry, more than 240 times over. She is related to Prince Harry through lines shared with both HM The Queen and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. She is related to 8 American presidents, 3 first ladies, and a cast of other notable Americans, including actors James Dean and Roy Rogers.

World renowned genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts, Senior Research Scholar Emeritus at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has, together with collaborators, revealed that England’s future American Royal Bride is descended from royalty herself. She is a 24th generation descendant of King Edward III, a medieval monarch of England who died in 1377. This newly discovered lineage for Ms. Markle comes through an early immigrant to Boston, Massachusetts, the royally-descended Rev. William Skipper, who arrived in New England in 1639, an ancestor of the future royal’s father, Thomas Wayne Markle.

You can read all the details in the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s web site at:

The Genealogy of Meghan Markle

The name of Meghan Markle is all over the newspapers this week. The American actress, model, and humanitarian became engaged to England’s Prince Harry. Of course, the newspapers are having a field day about the American who will soon marry a member of the British Royal Family.

Prince Harry’s ancestry is well documented with some branches going back more than 1,000 years. However, the genealogy of Meghan Markle is not as well known, at least not until this week. An article by Tom Sykes in The Daily Beast web site describes what is known of Markle’s genealogy, including ancestors who were slaves in the United States.

The Fascinating Family History of the American Set to Revolutionize the Royals may be found at:

One of the Last Holocaust Reunions with a 102-Year-Old Survivor

There won’t be many stories like this one in the future. A Holocaust survivor who fled Poland at the beginning of World War II and thought his entire family had perished learned that a younger brother had also survived, and his brother’s son, 66-year-old Alexandre, was flying in from a remote part of Russia to see him.

The emotional meeting was made possible by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial’s comprehensive online database of Holocaust victims, a powerful genealogy tool that has reunited hundreds of long-lost relatives.