Ancestry Appoints Carla S. Newell as Chief Legal Officer

The following announcement was written by Ancestry:

Tech industry veteran to help company continue rapid growth and global expansion

LEHI, Utah, Aug. 09, 2016 — Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, today announced that Carla S. Newell is joining its senior leadership team as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel. Newell will lead the global legal team, supporting privacy, security, and risk management initiatives as the company continues to expand globally while accelerating the growth of its high-demand consumer genomics offering. Newell is succeeding William Stern, who is departing from Ancestry to pursue new business opportunities.

Prior to joining Ancestry, Newell spent more than a decade as Operating General Partner at Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), a leading growth equity investor, where she led legal, investor relations and fundraising for the firm and its multi-billion dollar funds. Among TCV’s portfolio companies are many of the world’s most successful and recognizable consumer technology brands, including Expedia, Facebook, Fandango, Netflix, Spotify, and Zillow. Most recently she has served as an adviser and board member for a number of early stage technology companies and funds.

Mike Pence’s Irish Roots

On July 25, I wrote (at about vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s Irish ancestry and his visit to ancestral locations in Ireland. A newsletter reader then pointed out that his competitor, Mike Pence, also has Irish ancestry and also has made the trip back to the homeland. It’s interesting that we have two Irish Americans running for Vice-President with traceable genealogical roots.

Mike_PenceAn article from 2013 in the IndyStar describes Pence’s Irish interests:

“Pence’s grandfather emigrated to Ellis Island from Tubercurry, Ireland, about a century ago and later worked as a bus driver in Chicago, according to the governor’s staff. His grandmother was born and raised in Doonbeg, Ireland.

“Their experiences left a lasting impression on Pence, who as a member of Congress sought looser immigration restrictions than many of his fellow conservatives liked.”

On a trip to Ireland, Pence visited the small house where his great-grandfather, James Moloney, was born. He also was able to meet his grandmother’s first cousin, 92-year-old Patrick Moloney.

Sir David Goodall, R.I.P.

The following sad announcement was written by the Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

Sir David GoodallThe Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society regrets the announcement of the death of the Society’s former President, Sir David Goodall.

Sir David died peacefully at his home on the morning of Friday, 22 July, aged 84. He was a career civil servant, serving with the British Diplomatic Service in Austria, Germany, Indonesia and Kenya. He was later Deputy Secretary at the Cabinet Office and was a senior UK representative during the negotiations that led to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. In 1987 he was appointed British High Commissioner to India, a post he held until his retirement 1991.

Tim Kaine, VicePresidential Nominee, Harmonica Player, and Irish Genealogist

TimKaineTim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s pick for Vice President, has many talents and interests. Of interest to genealogists, Tim Kaine’s great-grandfather, PJ Farrell, emigrated from Ireland to Kansas, where he became a successful farmer.

Kaine certainly feels Ireland in his heart. Kaine is a member of The Irish National Caucus and of the Congressional Friends of Ireland. During his acceptance speech for The American Ireland Fund Leadership Award, he talked about his family’s 2006 trip to Ireland, where they found the ruins of his great-grandfather’s cottage in Killashee Parish, in Longford. He stated at the dinner: “I am about as stone Irish as you get for somebody whose family has been in the country for 150 years.”

He spoke at the American Ireland Fund about finding his roots:

Association of Professional Genealogists Names Annette Burke Lyttle Coordinator for 2017 Professional Management Conference

The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

Lyttle Brings Broad Event-Planning Expertise to Premiere Professional Genealogy Event

Annette Burke LyttleWHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 11 July 2015—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) today announced the appointment of Annette Burke Lyttle as coordinator for the 2017 Professional Management Conference (PMC). Lyttle of The Villages, Florida, brings lengthy experience in logistics and event management to the conference.

As PMC Coordinator, Lyttle will be responsible for the planning and implementation of the annual conference, which offers topics relevant to genealogy professionals and those interested in the profession. Her career began in logistics management in the U.S. Army, after which she moved on to positions in corporate, higher education, small business, and volunteer work. She holds an M.A. in English language and literature and a B.A. in journalism. She is the owner of Heritage Detective, LLC, and currently serves on the committee for APG’s 2016 PMC, which will take place 22–24 September, 2016 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Jay Verkler Appointed Interim CEO At Findmypast

This is a major business news story: The former CEO of FamilySearch, Jay Verkler, will take over from Annelies van den Belt as interim CEO of Findmypast. The announcement states he has agreed to serve as interim CEO for six months. My assumption is that the board of directors of Findmypast will be using that time to find a permanent replacement.

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Jay Verkler

Jay Verkler

London, Tuesday, July 5th 2016

Jay Verkler, former CEO of FamilySearch, has been appointed as interim CEO of Findmypast. He takes over from Annelies van den Belt who has stepped down after three years.

In a decade as CEO of FamilySearch, Jay pioneered the digital transformation of the world’s largest genealogical organisation. He oversaw the shift from vast paper and microfilm record stores to accessible digital archives. He broadened the audience for family history by developing partnerships with genealogy and technology companies, societies and archives across the world. Since leaving FamilySearch, he has been a consultant on strategy, product and technology for many organisations.

The Irish Ancestry of Vice President Joe Biden

Now that he will have a bit more time available after next January 20, Joe Biden may have time to research his own family tree. Actually, there is an old joke that has turned out to be accurate in Biden’s case: “Fastest way to trace family tree: run for public office.” Joe Biden’s family tree has already been researched by Ancestor Network, a collective of many of Ireland’s most experienced genealogical experts in tracing people of Irish ancestry.

Now Joe Biden is traveling to Ireland tomorrow for a state visit. As part of the visit, Mr Biden is expected to visit some of his ancestral home-places.

Melanie Frick named as 2016 Freeman Memorial Genealogy Grant Recipient

The following announcement was written by the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Grant Committee:

SWF Frick Headshot5 June 2016 — Melanie Frick, MLIS, is the 2016 recipient of the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Genealogy Grant and Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Scholarship. Melanie was introduced at the SCGS Scholarship Breakfast sponsored by Legacy Tree Genealogists, Professional Genealogists and Research Services, and presented with the $500 cash award and recognition certificate. The grant program was founded in 2011 by family and friends to honor the volunteerism and family history interests of the late Suzanne Winsor Freeman.

Melanie Frick, an Iowa native with deep Midwestern roots, is a 20-something young genealogist who has already spent over fifteen years researching her family history. At the age of twelve, Melanie inherited an early 20th century diary written by her great-great-aunt, a South Dakota prairie schoolteacher. She was fascinated by the stories of “barn dances, schoolhouse shenanigans, family gatherings, and the spread of Influenza in her rural community.” Melanie continues to unravel the stories of her ancestors in her popular blog, Homestead Genealogy at:

BCG Gives Christine Rose Emeritus Status

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Board for Certification of Genealogists:

The Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) met in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 4 May 2016.

christine_roseThe BCG Trustees honored Christine Rose, cg, cgl, fasg, with Emeritus Status for her service to BCG and her distinguished, fifty-year genealogical career. She became an associate of BCG in 1981, earned the Certified Genealogical Lecturer credential in 1991, and served as a Trustee from 2007 to 2012.

A prolific author, she received the Donald Lines Jacobus for her two Rose family books. Her numerous publications include several volumes on nearly every genealogist’s bookshelf such as Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures (2004), Military Bounty Land 1776–1855 (2011), and Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case (2014). From 1987 through 2014 Ms. Rose wrote the “Family Associations” column for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Forum.

Bill Wyman: Amateur Historian and Would-Be Archivist

This article is not genealogy-related but it does deal with history. I also found it interesting.

79-year-old Bill Wyman is an amateur historian and a metal detector enthusiast. Treasure detecting adventures in the British Isles are detailed in Wyman’s 2005 illustrated book, Treasure Islands, co-written with Richard Havers.

“I’ve found 200 old coins, Roman brooches and an axe from 1700 BC. I’ve discovered Roman sites, all manner of 15th-century artifacts, all of which are verified by the British Museum.”


Bill Wyman also designed and markets a patented “Bill Wyman signature metal detector.” See for details.

MyHeritage Reunites a 93-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor With Her Relatives

Nata Gattegno is a 93 year old Holocaust survivor. She was born in Corfu, a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. Caught in World War II, she was sent to Auschwitz as a teenager. Though she survived, the abuse she suffered there prevented her from having children. She’s a widow living alone, and thought she had no family in the world. Thanks to the researchers at MyHeritage, Nata she does have close relatives. In fact, the folks at MyHeritage were able to locate them. The MyHeritage folks notified her, and them, and they all recently met for the first time.

You can learn more at,7340,L-4800207,00.html.

You may enjoy the emotional video below of her meeting her relatives. One warning: keep some tissues handy:

Drew Smith Awarded the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship

The annual conference of the (US) National Genealogical Society starts tomorrow and I expect a number of new announcements will be issued. Here is the first one, written by the National Genealogical Society:

drewsmithARLINGTON, VA, 3 MAY 2016— Drew Smith, MLS, is the 2016 recipient of the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. Smith, an Assistant Librarian in the Academic Services department of the University of South Florida Tampa Library, received his award and its $1,000 prize, which is underwritten by ProQuest, at the opening session of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2016 Family History Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The Filby Award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. Created in 1999 by NGS, the award has been sponsored by ProQuest and Mr. William Forsyth since 2006.

Separated for 65 Years, Two Brothers Reunited by MyHeritage

MyHeritage has released the details of another heartwarming reunion, this time involving two long-lost brothers born in the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp. The reunion is the subject of a documentary called “Aida’s Secrets” which will have its world premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto on May 3, 2016. The story is also told in the MyHeritage Blog at and in the article below:

TEL AVIV, Israel & TORONTO — MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, announced today the reuniting of two long-lost brothers born in the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp who subsequently separated as young children and grew up in Israel and Canada, respectively.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 4.05.14 PM

Izak Szewelewicz, who was born in the displaced persons camp at Bergen-Belsen, Germany shortly after World War II, was adopted by an Israeli family in 1948 at the age of three, and was then raised in Israel. Izak’s mother, Aida, had meanwhile immigrated to Canada, and later found and contacted Izak when he was an adolescent. They met a few times, but she always refused to speak about the identity or fate of Izak’s father or anyone else from the family. Only a few years ago, Izak received documents from the Bergen-Belsen archive that delivered a shocking revelation: he had a brother named Shepsyl in the camp, as well as another relative. The records indicated that both relatives had emigrated to Canada, separately from his mother. In September 2013, Izak’s nephew Alon Schwarz reached out to MyHeritage with a special request: to help him find Izak’s lost brother. MyHeritage rose to the challenge.

BCG Welcomes Alice Hoyt Veen, CG as New BCG Education Fund Trustee

The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists:

BCG Welcomes Alice Hoyt Veen as New BCG Education Fund Trustee, Thanks Debbie Parker Wayne for years of service

Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, is stepping down after four years of volunteer service with the BCG Education Fund. While serving as a trustee Debbie organized an online repository for the documents so all trustees have immediate access to the same set of documents and helped create checklists and timelines to guide future trustees.

Plagiarism Raises Its Ugly Head Again within the Genealogy Community

Here is a quote from


  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
  • to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward.

Plagiarism has been found in genealogy books and magazines for probably a century or more. However, with the explosion of publishing on the Internet, plagiarism appears to be more popular than ever. Sadly, one individual has been caught before in the act of republishing other writer’s words without crediting the source. In fact, he was even sued for doing so although the case was later settled out of court. Even though already being notorious for such actions, he continues the practice even today.

Illinois Man Claims He Can Show That Donald Trump is Related to Every U.S. President

Of course, everyone is related to everyone else. (See my earlier article at for details.) Therefore, it is no surprise that Donald Trump is related to a number of US Presidents. However, one genealogist claims The Donald is related to a hu-u-u-ge number of them. In fact, all of them.

Genealogist Ken Reveal claims that Trump and President Obama are 26th cousins, four times removed. That’s rather distant, certainly not close enough to get invited to the family reunion. However, Reveal then goes on to say that Donald Trump is related to EVERY US President. For instance, according to Reveal’s research, Franklin Roosevelt is Trump’s fourth cousin once removed of the husband of the half first cousin seven times removed of the wife of his second great grand nephew of the husband of his half first cousin once removed. Again, not exactly close.

The Real Colonel Harland Sanders

Alan Bellows has published a fascinating mini-biography of “Colonel” Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. The story certainly changed my mental image of the Colonel. You might be interested in reading the article at


Tracking Black Ancestry: Lessons from Genealogist Tony Burroughs

Tony-BurroughsTony Burroughs is an expert on Black American genealogy and also is an all-around good guy. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Tony for years and have always been impressed by both his knowledge and his delightful personality. Today, I was pleasantly surprised to see an article about Tony’s work written by Branden Hampton and published in the Northwestern University’s Medill news service.

Hampton writes:

“If you think that black lives matter, then ancestors’ lives matter as well: Without them, we wouldn’t be here today, says renowned African American genealogist Tony Burroughs.

Joanna Francis Lives Like It’s 1939

Joanna Francis of Burton upon Stather, Lincolnshire, England, was born too late. She prefers the lifestyle of 1939 and she lives it every day. She doesn’t own a television and the last time she used a washing machine was at least a decade ago. She doesn’t drive but does have an 80-year-old pedal bike. As to owning a computer, she would ask, “What’s that?”

In Joanna’s world, the clock is permanently stopped at some point in 1939 and her home in the picturesque village of Burton-upon-Stather in North Lincolnshire is an exact recreation of how we used to live, right down to the bomb blast tape on the windows.

Update: Lewis Bunker Rohrbaugh, R.I.P.

As mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, Lewis Bunker Rohrbaugh passed away recently. He was the proprietor of Picton Press in Maine and also was well-known as an expert Swiss genealogist. He was also a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. His obituary has now been published:

Lewis Bunker Rohrbach, F.A.S.G., of Marco Island, Florida, and Worb, Switzerland, one of genealogy’s most dynamic and widely-respected writers and publishers, passed away in Naples, Florida, on 2 January 2016, after a short stay at Avow Hospice. Despite an illness that became critical several months ago, he was able to continue his research in early Swiss records up until a few days before his death.

Lew was born in Philadelphia on 28 October 1941, son of Lewis Henry and Ruth Elizabeth (Bunker) Rohrbaugh, and a Birthright Quaker. He attended Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and then Amherst College, where he was a member of Phi Delta Sigma fraternity. After graduating in 1963 with a degree in Economics, he completed six months of training in the U.S. Army Reserves. He then began a professional career in the banking industry as credit analyst for Provident National Bank in Philadelphia, but quickly moved into the investment banking business, first with Butcher and Sherrerd brokerage in Philadelphia, and then with Endowment Management & Research Corporation in Boston. His final stint as an employee was a year as a vice-president of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder in New York. In 1973 he formed his own consulting company and became one of the first securities analysts to extensively cover the burgeoning Japanese market; primary clients during that 15-year period were Endowment Management, Nikko Securities of Tokyo, and GT Management of London. His first marriage, in 1964 to Suzanne Potts, ended in divorce a decade later. He married, second, on 28 June 1980 in Rockport, Maine, Carol Allen Cressman, daughter of Dr. Paul Gerhardt and Betty (Allen) Cressman, who survives him. It was at the time of his second marriage that he changed his name from Rohrbaugh to its original spelling, Rohrbach.