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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Happy memories can inspire genealogy research

My friend and fellow genealogist Pamela Treme has been trapped in her house for two months recuperating from ankle surgery. In a recent Facebook post, she told us all just how bored she was, announcing she had learned that for years she had been tying her shoelaces the wrong way.

Yes, I know this is a genealogy column — stick with me. Pam’s post piqued my curiosity, so I went to the website where she learned the correct way to tie her shoes. And there on Ian’s Shoelace Site (www.fieggen.com/shoelace/twoloopknot.htm), I discovered my Granny O’Neal had taught me to tie a “granny knot,” which it seems is NOT the correct way to tie your shoes.

How do you reckon Ian — or someone — knew to name this incorrect method for my “granny?” Well, of course, he didn’t, but it did make me wonder if there is a “grannies group” that taught all grannies the incorrect way to tie knots.

Just reading Pamela’s post — before I ventured forth and found granny’s knot — sent me tripping down memory lane. Funny that something as simple as the day I finally “got it” and tied my own shoe has stuck with me for more than 60 years.

Granny O’Neal was always busy cooking, sewing, raising her chickens and doing what grannies do. She didn’t have much time for one-on-one with me — so I treasure that day she spent time with me alone. I had been struggling with this most important childhood step of tying my own shoes; it took one demonstration with Granny and “I did it!”

Memory lane is an important place for genealogists. We all should take those walks frequently. They’re inspirational and make us want to work hard to know our roots — and to accept that granny knots may not be the prettiest, but they’re the best!

Remembering such things and including them in our family histories will help bring to life the grannies and papas that future generations probably will hunger to know.

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“Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” will return for a second season at 8 p.m. Sept. 23. The 10-part series will run on PBS.

This series, like the “Who Do You Think You Are?” episodes running on TLC, focuses on celebrities looking for their roots. Programs will feature Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Khandi Alexander, Tom Colicchio, Tina Fey, Sally Field, Derek Jeter, Stephen King, Nas, Anna Deavere Smith, Sting and Courtney Vance.

The program host is Gates, a Harvard University professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.

Viewers can expect a focus on DNA, including the ability to identify Native American ancestry, solve paternity mysteries and pinpoint geographic origins of hidden ancestry. Advance announcements promise that “when paper trails end for each story, the team turns to top geneticists and DNA diagnosticians to analyze the participant’s genetic code.”

Show developers also promise a “Finding Your Roots” website and a Facebook page.

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If a part of your ancestral search includes joining the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) or the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), your first step might be to see if someone else has joined under your ancestor’s military activities.

From the DAR site (www.dar.org) you may find an outline of the research used by previous applicants, and you can order a copy of their applications. Go to the “genealogy” section and then to “ancestor search.”

Many SAR records are online at Ancestry (www.ancestry.com). You also can go to www.sar.org and to “membership” and then to “patriot search.”

Even if your goal isn’t membership in either of these organizations, you might find a wealth of documented information on other applications. It probably will be worth the small fee the organizations charge for the copies.

Sharon Tate Moody is a board-certified genealogist. Send your genealogical methodology questions and event announcements to her at [email protected] She regrets she is unable to assist with personal research and cannot respond to requests for locating or researching individuals. Past Heritage Hunting columns are available online at tbo.com, search words “Sharon Tate Moody.”

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