We’re fresh off the holiday season, and that meant movies in our household! My family enjoys all the standard classics, but as a genealogist, I must confess that one movie stands out as my all-time favorite: Avalon was the perfect Thanksgiving kickoff to the holiday season. This autobiographical film was written, directed, and produced by Barry Levinson in 1990 and centers on the stories told by his Russian Jewish immigrant grandfather Sam Krichinsky. The movie is set in the early 1950s and consists of successive Thanksgivings and Fourth of Julys, two quintessentially American holidays, with one Christmas thrown in for good measure. Mr. Levinson always loved hearing his grandfather's stories of the family's early days in the United States, and interviewed a number of relatives to gather anecdotes for the script. When his family saw the finished film, they agreed that he successfully captured the essence and early history of the Krichinsky family. This sense of genuineness …Read more
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Legacy Tree Genealogists employs researchers with a wide range of expertise. We asked our Polish expert, Julie, to share tips for finding Polish ancestors based on decades of experience. If you’re an American researching your Polish ancestors, you aren’t alone. Polish Americans make up “the largest Slavic ethnic group in the United States, second largest Central and Eastern European group and the eighth largest immigrant group overall.” So how do we begin tracing our roots in Poland? Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Polish_berry_pickers_color.jpg Get to know the basics of the history. Probably every Polish-American family has heard mention of the “border changes” that were supposedly the reason why Grandpa’s papers say he was from Austria, although everyone knew he was Polish. What many people don’t realize is that Poland did not exist as an independent nation from 1795 until 1918. Historically, Polish lands were …Read more
There are myriad websites, historical societies, and other resources for the would-be genealogist to get help when starting out, or for experienced researchers to continue learning new things from their peers. One of the easiest options that may not occur to you is to join a Facebook genealogy group. Because any user can create a group, there are options for almost every subset of genealogy (geographical, linguistic, ethnic, etc.) you could think of. (For a comprehensive list of all Facebook genealogy groups, click here.) Do you have German ancestors? You could join a German Facebook genealogy group. If you happen to already know which state or former kingdom in Germany from which your people hailed (Baden-Württemberg, for example) there’s a group for that too. Within the United States, some groups get even more specific – the one for Adams County, Ohio genealogy sees regular traffic on a daily basis. Maybe you found some old family letters that you can’t read, or you don’t …Read more
The need to put ourselves into a historical family context and discover our ancestry seems to be a quasi-innate need in each of us. Centuries-old family trees, ancestral worship in various cultures, theological debates on the afterlife, and even Darwin’s theory of evolution all point to a very basic human need: to know where we came from. This article discusses advancements in maternal lineage testing that allows us to evaluate mitochondrial DNA to assist us in this quest. Your Ancient Ancestral Lines An ancestry DNA test can be used to help you discover your ethnic and ancestral blend by testing the indelible marks your ancestors left on your own genetic makeup. By comparing your DNA to the hundreds of records of studied anthropological groups and tribes in genetic databases, an ancestry test can reveal which ancestral group your genetic blueprint most closely matches. Furthermore, since each studied anthropological group originated in a known geographic region, your DNA can be …Read more