From the Irish Civil War to the American Revolution, and from the African nation of Cameroon to the Republic of Bulgaria, Season 3 of Who Do You Think You Are? will take you all over the world and inside the fascinating family histories of 12 celebrities.

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Whose stories will you discover this season?

[Above from an email release by Ancestry.com]

This year I again helped to research an episode.  The details of each story remain a secret until the episode airs.  However, even knowing the details of my own research last year, I could not tell which episode I had worked on until I watched it…what fun…how we genealogists love a mystery!   So, this season I will again be following every episode with the same anticipation as everyone else…or perhaps with even greater anticipation…waiting to see into whose ancestry my piece of the story fits!

I intended for this blog to be a repository for my genealogy tips, thoughts and reflections that were too lengthy to for wall posts.  The past few months have been so busy I have yet to get back to it.  But now I resolve to post more regularly.

This June I traveled with my siblings to Sweden where we visited my mother’s ancestral home.  In Lycksele and Vägsele we saw my grandparents’ birthplaces.  We visited churches and historic sites in Göteborg, Stockholm, the High Coast, Umeå, Lycksele, Tärnaby and Östersund, hiking many miles each day sightseeing both cities and mountain wilderness. I met my genealogist cousin with whom I had corresponded for several years, and his parents who had originally helped my parents research my mother’s ancestry.  We shared some wonderful times with this family and stored up memories to last a lifetime.  After I returned I discovered through a Facebook post that a local friend shares my ancestry.  She connected me with another Swedish cousin who sent me this photo of my ancestors, John Philipson Hilduinen and his wife Hildur, who walked from northern Finland ca 1670 and built the first settlement in Lycksele parish, Örträsk.

In July I gave a talk to the New York Chapter of the Wing Family of America for their annual reunion, this year held at the picturesque and historic  Inn at Dover Furnace.  My presentation included a virtual tour of nearby Wing family related sites: Old Drovers Inn, also the first town hall for the Town of Dover; the Benson Lossing home; and Wing Post Office and Store on Chestnut Ridge.  

Following the meeting we toured, in person, the Tabor-Wing House in Dover Plains (above). Some reunion goers then hiked to the Dover Stone Church (above) where Pequot Sachem Sassacus is thought to have sought refuge when pursued by the English soldiers in 1637.  Though the afternoon was exceptionally hot even for July, those who took the hike wrote to say they were very pleased to have made the effort and intended to return with other family members.  Still others drove to Pawling to visit the Oblong Meeting House and Mehitable Wing Monument on Quaker Hill, and were pleasantly surprised to find the Meeting House open for visitors.

August was a busy month!  I continued updating the web site for the National Association of Leavitt Families and collected material for our quarterly newsletter Leavitt Leaves.  Lots of work this time adding reunion photos and news….this year the reunion was in Turner, ME, and I was very sorry to have missed it while traveling in Sweden.  The Dutchess County Genealogical Society had a booth at the Dutchess County Fair. Our VP of Education, Mary Ann Zatlukal did an excellent job of setting up the volunteer schedule and the displays for this event…as President I did not really have to do much except show up for my shift!  Our County Clerk joined us on opening day to help greet guests and discuss how the Courthouse records can help researchers.  

But…by far for me the most exciting family history event in August was an addition to my own family tree…the arrival of my first grandson, in New York City…he made his appearance in the midst of hectic times, but safely, just before Hurricane Irene.

The statement “It’s always in the last place you look” has long amused me. If you are looking for your car keys in your own house, for example, of course you know when you find them and therefore stop looking—how could it be otherwise? The same is not true of genealogy. Still, even the experienced genealogist often stops looking as soon as a good match is found. The proper match could be the first or the last one you find, but you will not know until you have located and evaluated them all.

Imagine you are seeking the father of Isaac Jones, born in New York ca 1837, and you know that his parents are born in Connecticut. A preliminary search turns up a Zebulon Jones, born ca 1805, who migrates to New York. Your Isaac has a son Zebulon Thorne Jones—bingo! That was easy. What if you continued to look and found another Zebulon Jones, born ca 1797, married Anne Thorne, and migrated to New York? That certainly complicates matters doesn’t it?

The next step is to research all the candidates and use logic to rule out the less likely ones…those born too early or too late.  Examine the remaining candidates more closely.  Certainly if Zebulon Thorne Jones names a daughter Anne Thorne Jones and other of Zebulon the elder’s offspring can be found in the cemeteries or vital records in close proximity to Isaac Jones it helps cement the case. However, if no such evidence is found it does not disprove the relationship. It is just this tentative nature of the research process that demands a very careful analysis of all the prospects before forming a conclusion. Find them all, research them all, describe them all—and only then make your choice.
[These names are hypothetical for illustration only.]