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Heritage

10 Things You Didn't Know about Rachel Maddow's Roots

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 12.02.2012 | Politics
Megan Smolenyak

Without further ado, here are some snippets of Ms. Maddow's family history.

Which Countries Could You Be President Of?

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 11.28.2012 | Politics
Megan Smolenyak

Being of half-Irish heritage and having been born in France, Ireland and France are the most promising for me to become president of another country. Again for reasons of heritage, Slovakia is also a candidate.

A Second Chance to Be a Genetic Pioneer

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 10.02.2012 | Science
Megan Smolenyak

Genetic genealogy -- DNA testing done for the purpose of learning about one's roots -- has been around for about a decade, but a recent development suggests that we've reached the pioneering sweet spot.

How Many Jobs Does J.Lo Have?

The Huffington Post | Lee Hernandez | Posted 08.04.2012 | Latino Voices

It's been a busy year for Puerto Rican superstar Jennifer Lopez! The mother-of-two, singer, movie star, TV judge, dancer, producer, global ambassador,...

WATCH: Your Turn: Patriotism

Posted 10.09.2012 | MarloThomas

The 4th of July brings me back to the strong patriotism I felt as a child. I still have so much pride in our country, but I also enjoy learning about ...

Does Accuracy in History Matter? The Case of 'American Tapestry' and Michelle Obama's Ancestors

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 08.19.2012 | Books
Megan Smolenyak

Perhaps many reading this will consider me a relic to place so much weight on accuracy. If so, I suppose it's an occupational hazard as a genealogist's worth is measured largely in credibility, but what do you think?

Never Forget Your Roots

Kate Thomas | Posted 08.18.2012 | Travel
Kate Thomas

Beirut seemed to me to be a place of contradictions.

Homesickness

Gideon Resnick | Posted 08.18.2012 | College
Gideon Resnick

I have always clung to my family's history as something that defines me in a way I have yet to understand. I feel ignorant though when people ask when was the last time I visited, because I simply haven't... ever.

Fatherhood and Lineage

Matthew B. James, Ph.D. | Posted 08.14.2012 | Parents
Matthew B. James, Ph.D.

his gift of lineage gives a confidence about where you come from. You are sharing your foundation so that those you teach can lean on that instead of leaning on you.

Michelle Obama's Ancestors: 'American Tapestry' Has Holes in It

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 07.31.2012 | Books
Megan Smolenyak

As the genealogist who initially researched the first lady's family tree (four to five generations on all branches), I wanted to love American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multicultural Ancestors of Michelle Obama, but found myself disappointed -- mostly due to what's missing.

Disputed Warren Claim Stirs Broader Debate

AP | JESSE WASHINGTON | Posted 05.26.2012 | Politics

-- What, exactly, makes someone American Indian? Even Indians themselves don't agree as they debate the case of Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, wh...

DNA Study Solves Mystery Of Mysterious Mixed-Race People

AP | TRAVIS LOLLER | Posted 05.25.2012 | Science

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For years, varied and sometimes wild claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents once...

Being a Haitian College Student in America

Uloop | Posted 07.22.2012 | College
Uloop

This adjustment started at the peak of my adolescence, when I moved to the U.S. After introductions, I had to explain who I was and why I didn't fit their expectation of a Haitian girl. I'm often referred to as the "white Haitian" or the "light-skinned chick."

10 Things You Didn't Know About Martha Stewart's Family Tree

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 07.08.2012 | Celebrity
Megan Smolenyak

Martha's grandfather, Frank Kostyra, owned a tavern in Jersey City. On the 4th of July 1929, two boys stuck a piece of dynamite in the foundation of the tavern, causing an explosion. It's somewhat remarkable that the building is still a tavern today.

Arizona's Immigration Law Has Already Harmed America - No Matter What the Supreme Court Decides

Glenn Llopis | Posted 06.28.2012 | Latino Voices
Glenn Llopis

It's time for our country to educate itself about the authentic portrayal of immigrants in America. This will help us all better understand our own cultural roots and their foundational values. America must reclaim its authentic spirit. We must stop resisting the immigrant mentality that is part of our diverse heritage.

11th Annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 06.23.2012 | Home
Megan Smolenyak

At a time when we've become so cynical, it's refreshing to attend the annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, which celebrate individuals who have contributed to the American experience in various realms

Celebrating Taos Pueblo On The International Day for Monuments and Sites

Bonnie Burnham | Posted 06.18.2012 | Travel
Bonnie Burnham

Celebrating the International Day of Monuments and Sites is a way of respecting the traditions that make up the fascinating mosaic of our common heritage.

It Takes a Village

Nikki Luongo | Posted 06.11.2012 | Healthy Living
Nikki Luongo

We all get characteristics from our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, Our eyes, hair color, even the shapes of our hands and the curves of our ...

1940 Census Release Reveals Family History of Tourist-Favorite Barn

Mark Olsen | Posted 06.05.2012 | Home
Mark Olsen

The value of the home the Moulton family lived in, under the Grand Tetons, was listed as $1,000. Ironically, the home no longer stands, but the barn is now an iconic symbol of the western United States as one of the most photographed structures in North America.

Unexpected Irish

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 05.13.2012 | Celebrity
Megan Smolenyak

It's been said that on St. Patrick's Day we're all a wee bit Irish, but here are a few celebrities who truly are, though they probably wouldn't be the first you'd guess.

Michelle Obama's Ancestors: The First Lady's Multicultural, Great Migration Past (VIDEO)

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 04.30.2012 | Celebrity
Megan Smolenyak

Several years ago, I conducted extensive genealogical research into the heritage of Michelle Obama. A few of my discoveries -- particularly those per...

Michelle Obama's Ancestors: Purnell Shields

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 04.25.2012 | Chicago
Megan Smolenyak

D.T. lived in hopeful expectation, but even today, it's stunning to think that the life of this one-time slave overlapped with that of his great-granddaughter, Marian, who now resides in the White House.

My Fake Family Tree

Monica Medina | Posted 04.25.2012 | Latino Voices
Monica Medina

My teacher was forcing me to reveal that my father's name was Enrique and my relatives had names like Teotiste, Cesar, Josefina, Juan and so on. I wasn't ready to display my Venezuelan roots to the world.

Michelle Obama's Ancestors: Rebecca Jumper (aka Coleman)

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 04.22.2012 | Celebrity
Megan Smolenyak

Michelle's maternal grandmother, Rebecca Jumper, did an admirable job of keeping her past a secret, but that's probably because she didn't know much about it herself. That's unfortunate, because hers is an intriguing history.

Michelle Obama's Ancestors: Fraser Robinson

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 04.15.2012 | Celebrity
Megan Smolenyak

It's providential for Michelle's sake that LaVaughn ever met Fraser C. Robinson, Jr. because he would have much preferred to never leave the South.