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Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing Paperback – February 1, 2012
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Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are cousins! So are Obama and Dick Cheney, Obama and Brad Pitt, and Obama and Rush Limbaugh! Wow. What are the odds? “Oh,” Smolenyak writes, “about 100 percent.” The most surprising thing about this lively book by a noted genealogist is that some things we think are surprising really aren’t. Technically speaking, we’re all related, if you go back far enough, but even starting from a mere 10 generations ago, you’ll find more than 1,000 direct ancestors have been generated, making unexpected kinships, well, expected. Geography plays a big role, too. Hillary Clinton is related to Celine Dion and Shania Twain, for example, because one of the branches of her family is French Canadian. By relating some of her more famous and intriguing genealogical investigations—the Obama–Brad Pitt connection, the history of a family Bible, Obama’s much-publicized Irish roots—Smolenyak shows readers just how exciting, shocking, and heartwarming the field of genealogy can be, and he busts a few fondly held myths about the work genealogists do. --David Pitt
About the Author
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 Todayshow, 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), a Huffington Post contributor, and former chief family historian and spokesperson for Ancestry.com. She lives in southern New Jersey with her husband and lots of research tools.
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Addl comments (as of 7/29/2015): Having now finished reading the book, I want to correct one impression I gave in the initial review. I picked up many tips on how to approach genealogical research from reading Megan's examples. One very valuable aspect is getting a glimpse in to how she thinks about a problem. Once you have the basic building blocks of your family tree, her creative thinking is exactly what you need to get to the next level and round out the stories. Loved it!
Megan not only shares her stories of challenges and accomplishments, she also teaches us how to think about solving these types of puzzles.
Her easy story-telling style makes me feel included in her excitement and wonder at the many unexpected truths she unveils as she works her way through the cases.
This book seems appropriate for folks who are exploring their own family roots as well as those of us who are just intrigued by this type of detective work.
She clearly loves what she does and is a generous and dedicated professional with a lot of writing talent.
I love the way she thinks of all of the angles and digs and digs, tirelessly. The book is a well written series of stories about how she solved mysteries, helped the FBI, coroners, and best of all, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. I highly recommend "Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing" and will be buying lots of gift copies for friends and family. An impressive accounting from a brilliant genealogist!
I would recommend this book to the genealogy community and my own family. I would like to go to a workshop she presents for family research especially with DNA methods used today. I am still struggling with this process.