Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing

Megan Smolenyak2 had written an interesting book, filled with tidbits of celebrity genealogy and solid research techniques.  The cover grabbed my attention as I was at the library recently, and I found myself looking for small blocks of time in which I could read a chapter of two.

Each chapter focuses on a different genealogical question.  I ended up with two favorite chapters, ones I continue to think about.  The book's first chapter deals with Smolenyak2's work as a forensic genealogist with the US Army.  CSI fan that I am, I remembered an episode in which a genealogist provided helpful information in the solving of a case, but Smolenyak2's work was different.  In the book she related her experiences locating the probable next of kin for soldiers whose remains had been returned to our country.  Her accounts were both thorough and touching as she wrote of this final service to our military and covered an aspect of genealogical research of which I was unaware.

What if George Washington had been crowned King of America rather than elected President?  This was the topic of my other favorite chapter.  Apparently there were those in revolutionary times who wanted to retain a monarchy in America with Washington was our king.  Smolenyak2 explores this idea, referencing the various successors named by other genealogists.  After briefly documenting her research, Smolenyak2 named her candidate for Washington's present day descendant as our "king".  It was a fascinating area of speculation about our country's history.

Through all her interesting chapters, several key points continued to come through.
  • Think outside the box when you are faced with a brick wall.
  • Everything is not answered on the internet.
  • DNA testing is an important tool in genealogy research.
  • Sometimes we find information in the most surprising places.
  • Have solid research to back up your conclusions. 
When you read Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing I'm sure you'll have your own favorite chapters.  In addition, you'll also learn the reason behind the "2" in her name.

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