Thursday, March 27, 2008

RootsTelevision Won Four Telly Awards!

Congratulations to RootsTelevision, co-founded by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Marcy Brown, which just won FOUR Telly Awards! The press release is included below. And don’t forget that you can watch RootsTelevision at TGG! Wins Four Telly Awards in Its First Year

PROVO, UT, March 26, 2008 –, an online channel dedicated to all aspects of genealogy and family history, has been recognized in the 29th Annual Telly Awards for four of its original productions. Selected from more than 14,000 shows were “DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Fathers” (documentary), “Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy” (entertainment), “Roots Books: Psychic Roots” (talk show), and “Flat Stanley’s Family Tree” (children’s audience).

“We’re delighted,” said co-founder, Marcy Brown. “To receive this kind of recognition during our first year of existence is remarkable, and winning in four different categories is even more astonishing. We take this as an indication that our decision to pioneer online programming for the substantial but neglected niche of millions of genealogists was a risk worth taking.”

The four winning shows include an episode of “DNA Stories,” a series that focuses on the exploding hobby of genetic genealogy and shows how avid roots-seekers are using DNA testing to solve family history riddles. The award-winning “Tale of Two Fathers” episode features Bob Zins and his efforts to determine whether the man who raised him was really his father. “Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy” showcases the unexpected twin talents of Jordan Auslander, who’s both a professional genealogist and stand-up comic. “Roots Books,” a talk show hosted by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, received its award for the especially popular “Psychic Roots” episode that centers on a discussion of the role of serendipity in genealogy between Sharon and popular speaker and author, Hank Jones. And “Flat Stanley’s Family Tree” follows the beloved children’s character as he explores his colonial roots in Williamsburg, Virginia and his gold rush roots in California.

Founded in 1978, The Telly is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. The Telly Awards, a highly respected international competition, annually showcases the best work of the most respected production companies in the world.

About was co-founded by producer, Marcy Brown, and professional genealogist, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, her real name). Marcy and Megan, who frequently refer to themselves as “two chicks and a channel,” launched online in late 2006 and already provide more than 1,000 videos – free, on-demand and 24/7 — for family history enthusiasts around the globe. For more information, please visit

Links to the award-winning shows:

DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Fathers:

Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy:

Roots Books: Psychic Roots:

Flat Stanley’s Family Tree:

Press Release

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tales From Inside the Melting Pot

By: Stephanie Rose Bird

Like most African Americans from the southeast coast of the United States I thought I knew my ethnic heritage. We have a lengthy heritage for the most part, entwined for better or worse, with the stodgy old plantation culture of colonial America. So, we have names like Smith, Brown, Black, and White but also Irish and Scottish surnames as well as plenty monikers from elsewhere across Europe. Some of us mixed right into Native American communities becoming Seminole, Creek, and Lumbee—a beautiful, undeniably tri-racial people. Back to the beginning of my story, we assume we know our heritage and by all indications it is West African with some English/Irish and Native American but before I put the period there, that has come to mean African American, right? Well, maybe not............

Cont. Here:

Friday, March 21, 2008

10 DNA Myths Busted

10 DNA Testing Myths Busted, and Other Favorite Posts

By Blaine T. Bettinger

Blaine Bettinger is the author of The Genetic Genealogist. He has been using traditional genealogical research for almost 20 years and is interested in the intersection of genealogy and DNA Testing. In 2006 he received his Ph.D. in biochemistry with a concentration in genetics. He is currently a second-year law student.

Friday, March 14, 2008

View an Audio Slideshow of John White's Paintings

Organized by the British Museum in London, “A New World: England’s First View of America,” at the Yale Center for British Art, presents maps, sketches and watercolors by the Elizabethan artist John White, about 20 of which constitute the only surviving visual record of England’s first settlement in North America. These images — of the Algonquian Indians and local flora and fauna — are immensely fragile and may be exhibited only once every 30 to 40 years, making this enchanting exhibition an event of historical importance as well.

White is a mysterious figure. We don’t know where or when he was born, who his father was, or even when he died. What historians do know is that in 1585 he was a member of an expedition to create a permanent foothold for England in America. The expedition landed on Roanoke Island and began construction of a small fortified settlement, later exploring the surrounding islands and the mainland in longboats. During these explorations White produced drawings and maps of what he saw, perhaps to satisfy curiosity back home about the New World.

In 1587 he returned to Roanoke Island as the governor of a new colony, along with 115 brave English colonists. But insufficient supplies forced him to return immediately to England, leaving the colonists behind, along with his daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, the first English child born in the New World. When he returned to the island three years later, he found all the colonists had vanished. So began the legend of the “Lost Colony of Roanoke.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Report on the Condition and Tribal Rights of the Indians of Robeson and Adjoining Counties of North Carolina

On June 30, 1914, O.M. McPherson published the following "A Report on the Condition and Tribal Rights of the Indians of Robeson and Adjoining Counties of North Carolina" excerpts below:

- The Croatan Indians comprise a body of mixe-blood people residing chiefly in Robeson County NC. A few of the class of people reside in Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Scotland, and Hoke Counties, NC, and in Sumter, Marlboro, and Dillon Counties, SC.

- They further have had a tradition among them that their ancestors, or some of them, came from "Roanoke in Virginia"

- excerpt of letter of Hamilton McMillan of Fayetteville NC dated July 17, 1890: "The Croatan tribe lives principally in Robeson County, NC though there is quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter County, SC there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. Whereas the Indians now living in Robeson County claim to be descendants of a friendly tribe who once resided in eastern North Carolina, on the Roanoke River."

- At one time the Croatans were known as "Redbones," and there is a street in Fayetteville so called because some of them once lived on it. They are known by this name in Sumter County, SC, where they are quiet and peaceable, and have a church of their own. They are proud and high-spirited, and caste is very strong among them.

This stands as one of the earliest references to the mixed-blood settlement in Sumter County. McMillan presented himself as a person well acquainted with the Sumter Co. people, and he proposed them to be Indians, and closely related to the present-day Lumbees.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and University of Pavia Publish Most Comprehensive Answers to Date on Genetic Origins of Native Americans

In the most comprehensive study to date on the genetic origins of Native Americans, an international research team confirmed that Native Americans who descended from ancestors who crossed from Asia to the Americas approximately 20,000 years ago are offspring of six founding, or ancestral, mothers. The study also confirms the presence of genetic subgroups of more rare, less known and geographically limited genetic groups who arrived later. This study is the first time all known Native American mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences and lineages have been compiled, corrected and organized into a single tree with branches dated.

Researchers from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), a non-profit foundation building the world's largest collection of integrated genetic and family history information, the department of genetics and microbiology at the University of Pavia, and others today published online at the Public Library of Science ( the results of their study of more than 200 full mtDNA sequences from Native Americans. mtDNA traces maternal ancestry for both men and women and is inherited exclusively from mothers.

Researchers combed GenBank, the National Institutes of Health genetic sequence database, and earlier scientific publications for scans of Native American mitochondrial lineages and added previously unpublished sequences to this work, said study co-author Ugo Perego, director of operations at SMGF. The genetic sequences are pan-American, including native North, Central and South American populations.

"This is the first comprehensive overview of the principal pan-American branches of the Native American mtDNA tree," said Antonio Torroni, study co-author heading the University of Pavia group. Torroni is considered one of the fathers of genetic research on Native Americans and was the first to discover, 15 years ago, the four major genetic groups to which 95 percent of Native Americans belong.

The study released today identifies the six surviving Native American mtDNA lineages that are dated to approximately 20,000 years ago, designated as A2, B2, C1b, C1c, C1d and D1. Today's study also confirms the presence of five more rare, less known and geographically limited genetic groups: X2a, D2, D3, C4c and D4h3.

The five more rare genetic groups will help researchers isolate branches within the pan-American groups that are younger or come from a better-defined geographic area, said lead author Dr. Alessandro Achilli, researcher at the University of Pavia and assistant professor at the University of Perugia. "For example, we learned one branch is only found among Aleuts and Eskimos," he said. "The presence of these additional subgroups suggests different migratory events from Asia or the Bering Straits. This study will be used as a reference for all future research on Native Americans. It is essential for reconstructing the history of specific Native American groups and for reliable association studies between mtDNA haplogroups and complex disorders," said Achilli.

Comprehensive data from the study is available online at, said Perego, and may be used to improve tests by commercial genetic genealogy firms, such as GeneTree. GeneTree ( is a DNA-enabled family history-sharing Website helping people understand where their personal histories belong within the greater human genetic story. GeneTree was developed by the Sorenson family of companies and draws on the expertise of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.

People are increasingly using genetic testing to learn about their roots, said Perego. "I receive calls and emails regularly asking, 'With a DNA test, can you prove I have Native American ancestry?' Our new research has the potential to fine-tune genetic genealogy tests for these people." He noted genetic testing is not currently accepted as proof of ancestry for admission into a tribe.

About Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF; is a non-profit research organization that has created the world's largest repository of correlated genetic and genealogical information. The SMGF database currently contains information about more than six million ancestors through linked DNA samples and pedigree charts from more than 170 countries, or approximately 90 percent of the nations of the world. The foundation's purpose is to foster a greater sense of identity, connection and belonging among all people by showing how closely we are connected as members of a single human family. For more information about the foundation's free, publicly available database, visit

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Standards for Sound Genealogical Research

Recommended by the National Genealogical SocietyRemembering always that they are engaged in a quest for truth, family history researchers consistently—

record the source for each item of information they collect.test every hypothesis or theory against credible evidence, and reject those that are not supported by the evidence.

seek original records, or reproduced images of them when there is reasonable assurance they have not been altered, as the basis for their research conclusions.

use compilations, communications and published works, whether paper or electronic, primarily for their value as guides to locating the original records, or as contributions to the critical analysis of the evidence discussed in them.

state something as a fact only when it is supported by convincing evidence, and identify the evidence when communicating the fact to others.

limit with words like "probable" or "possible" any statement that is based on less than convincing evidence, and state the reasons for concluding that it is probable or possible.avoid misleading other researchers by either intentionally or carelessly distributing or publishing inaccurate information.

state carefully and honestly the results of their own research, and acknowledge all use of other researchers’ work.

recognize the collegial nature of genealogical research by making their work available to others through publication, or by placing copies in appropriate libraries or repositories, and by welcoming critical comment.

consider with open minds new evidence or the comments of others on their work and the conclusions they have reached.
© 1997, 2002 by National Genealogical Society. Permission is granted to copy or publish this material provided it is reproduced in its entirety, including this notice.

See also:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lost Colony Outdoor Drama Receives Big Boost From C of C

Chamber of Commerce supports The Lost Colony

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce members recently donated $27,505 to The Lost Colony.

The funds will assist the drama's rebuilding efforts following the devastating September fire. Margaret Wells, co-chairman of the Chamber's Costume Fund Drive, presented the check to Chris Seawell, Board Chairman of the Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA).

Funds from the award will be used to assist The Lost Colony's costuming costs as items must be rebuilt and replaced following the September fire that destroyed three buildings and their contents.

The Chamber and its members are now a part of The Lost Colony's Shining Stars -- businesses, organizations and individuals who have provided extraordinary support to assist the outdoor drama since the tragedy.

Cont. Here:

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Warren Wilson College to Host Showing of The First Lost Colony March 11

"The First Lost Colony," an episode of "Exploring North Carolina" that recently aired statewide on UNC-TV, will be shown March 11 at Warren Wilson College. The 30-minute program, free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in Canon Lounge of the Gladfelter Student Center.

The program features continuing research by Warren Wilson College professor David Moore and fellow archaeologists at the Berry archaeological site near Morganton. The 12-acre site is the location of Fort San Juan, built by Spanish conquistador Juan Pardo in 1567 - two decades before Sir Walter Raleigh established the famous "Lost Colony" on Roanoke Island.

Artifacts from the Berry excavation will be exhibited at the March 11 showing. Moore also will be available to answer questions about the project and the 2008 Warren Wilson College Archaeology Field School from June 16-July 11.

For more information contact Moore at 828-771-2013 or