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In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection by Megan Smolenyak (PDF Edition)


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With over 100 true stories of the amazing luck, unexpected kindness, and unusual serendipity encountered by researchers as they explore their roots, In Search of Our Ancestors offers an inspirational look at the rewards of family history. No story is longer than a few pages, but most are such touchingly personal tales that you may find yourself reading just one or two at a time.
The photo of a great-great-great grandmother's "free pass" (that proved she was not a slave) and its accompanying story of being made into a medal and touring the country is a definite tearjerker, as are the multiple stories of lives being saved through families passing on information about genetically inherited diseases. To lighten the mood a bit, laugh along with the researcher who discovered his wife was also his fifth cousin, or with the fellow who managed to ruin his family's tales of famous ancestors, uncovering a war deserter instead.
A few stories have relevant research information at the end, but the book isn't aimed at your practical side. More than anything, this collection is designed to simply share the warmth and surprises that genealogical research can bring if you stick with the hunt, keep your sense of humor, and listen to your heart.
204 pages | Published 2015 | PDF (download-only) edition

About the author:
Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, that's her real name) is a genealogical adventurer who loves solving mysteries, making unexpected discoveries and pushing the boundaries of conventional genealogy.
A popular writer, speaker and TV guest, Megan has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Early Show, CNN, NPR and BBC. In addition to consulting on shows ranging from Who Do You Think You Are? to Top Chef, she is the author of six books, a Huffington Post contributor, a cold case researcher for the Army, NCIS and the FBI, and former Chief Family Historian and spokesperson for Ancestry.com.
What Readers Are Saying
“Gems of genealogical tidbits wrapped in one hundred and one surprising and fun stories. I was inspired by, and will never forget, the researchers who thought to ask to actually see the burnt records, the daughter’s pursuit of information about her father who died in the war three months after she was born, using the Internet to find a sister not seen for six decades — or any of the 98 other inspiring, sad, sometimes-scary, humorous or (mostly) very happy stories. Even my friends who are not interested in genealogy wound up reading this book!” – Morgen
“The millions of genealogists who are researching their family trees will find this book both inspiring and encouraging as the make the discovery of family members they never knew or were sure that information about them was lost throughout the centuries. It shows what others have achieved by both hard work, synchronicity and almost “supernatural guidance.” I believe everyone will find ecouragement here in their research for their roots! A must buy!” – “a genealogist reaching”
“I have purchased five copies of this book and given them to friends who are interested in genealogy. Each of them has loved it in return and passed it on to friends and relatives. Easy to read, poignant stories, that give me goose bumps each time I read them.” – Barbara
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