Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing
Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing
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Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing; by Megan Smolenyak; 288 pg; Paperback; 6x9; ISBN: 9780806534466; 2012; Item CP01

You've heard of the Dog Whisperer? Meet the Ancestor Rescuer.

Part forensic scientist, part master sleuth, Megan Smolenyak has solved some of America's oldest and most fascinating genealogical mysteries. You've read the headlines; now get the inside story as the "Indiana Jones of genealogy" reveals how she cracked her news-making cases, became the face of this increasingly popular field--and redefined history along the way.

How did Smolenyak discover Barack Obama's Irish ancestry--and his relation to Brad Pitt? Or the journey of Michelle Obama's family from slavery to the White House? Or the startling links between outspoken politicians Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond? And why is Smolenyak's name squared? Test your own skills as she shares her exciting secrets.

Whether she's scouring websites to uncover the surprising connections between famous figures or using cutting-edge DNA tests to locate family members of fallen soldiers dating back to the Civil War, Smolenyak's historical sleuthing is as provocative, richly layered, and exciting as America itself.

"Thank you for taking the time to lay out our family map. . . You're practically family. You certainly know more about us than we do." - Stephen Colbert

"Megan is a genealogist's dream, a forensic investigator who can also tell a great story." – Sam Roberts, The New York Times

"Megan is a blessing to cold case detectives and a master genealogist." – Julie M. Haney, special agent, NCIS Cold Case Homicide Unit

"The Indiana Jones of genealogy. . . Megan Smolenyak is a national treasure." – Buzzy Jackson, author of Shaking the Family Tree

“In this breezy narrative, Smolenyak allows us to look over the shoulder of a relentless genealogist as she works the puzzle pieces of her craft. Whether unearthing evidence from Internet databases, newspaper offices, court houses, libraries and cemeteries, consulting translators, historians or her vast network of fellow genealogists, pioneering the use of genealogical DNA testing, solving the mystery or occasionally hitting a brick wall, Smolenyak remains wholly committed, curious and cheery, eager to share her methods and excitement. Bottom-up history from a top-shelf researcher.” - Kirkus Review

Megan Smolenyak is an incurable genealogist who loves solving mysteries, making unexpected discoveries, and pushing the boundaries of conventional genealogy.

A popular writer, speaker, and TV guest, she does all she can to get the g-word out there and inspire others in their quest for roots. She has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today show, CNN, NPR, and the BBC, and consulted on shows ranging from Who Do You Think You Are? to Top Chef.

Megan is the author of six books (including Who Do You Think You Are? The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, companion guide to the NBC series), and Honoring Our Ancestors, a Huffington Post contributor, and former author for Heritage Quest Magazine. She lives in southern New Jersey with her husband and lots of research tools.

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“Hey, America, Your Roots are Showing“ Book Review

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
  • Introduction: Rewriting History
  • 1. No Man Left Behind (for real)
  • A decade of forensic consulting for the Army
  • 2. Famous Cousins
  • Barak Obama and Sarah Palin are related – “Yawn”
  • 3. Serial Centenarians
  • Could two relatives who knew each other live in four centuries?
  • 4. Alex Hailey Was Scottish?
  • Uncovering the unexpected heritage of Roots author, Alex Hailey, through DNA
  • 5. Egyptian Roots in a Hurry
  • Researching Hota Kotb’s roots for the Today show on a fierce deadline.
  • 6. A House Divided, A Bible Shared
  • The strange travels of a Civil War-era Bible.
  • 7. There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama
  • Tracing his roots to the Auld Sod.
  • 8. Unclaimed Persons
  • Why you should call your estranged brother.
  • 9. Adventures in TV Land
  • You need what by when?
  • 10. Finding Melvina, Michelle Obama’s Great, Great, Great Grandmother
  • How do you trace a slave girl in South Carolina?
  • 11. The Road to the First Lady’s Roots
  • Road-tripping to discover all that’s not online about Michelle Obama’s heritage.
  • 12. King of America
  • Who would rule America today if George Washington had been king?
  • 13. Skeletons in the Turret
  • Could DNA reveal the identity of the men of the USS Monitor?
  • 14. Anatomy of an Adoption Search
  • Helping adoptees discover who they are.
  • 15. The Slave Who Rescued Freedom
  • Rediscovering Phillip Reed, without whom the capital would look very different.
  • 16. No, Your Name Wasn’t Changed at Ellis Island
  • Why you shouldn’t fall for this popular myth.
  • 17. Paralyzed Prostitute
  • Following the trail of an Oregon madam.
  • 18. Half a Negro Boy
  • Finding a hidden connection between Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond.
  • 19. A Lonely Tombstone on the Sidewalks of Manhattan
  • The wandering memorial of a Jewish pioneer goes home.
  • 20. Grandma Stepped Out
  • My accidental genetic discovery.
  • 21. They Call Me Yak-Yak
  • What I learned from helping the FBI with civil rights cold cases.
  • 22. Annie Moore, Ellis Island’s First
  • Rectifying a case of historical identity theft.
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index