TV genealogist talks about family secrets, genealogy @ TR

June 23, 2010

Genealogist and television personality Megan Smolenyak will speak at Ocean County Library’s Toms River branch (101 Washington St.) Thursday July 8 at 6:30 p.m.

 Smolenyak, one of the researchers who appears on the NBC network’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”  and author of two books, will talk about “Cases That Made My Brain Hurt.”

 Recent episodes of the show have investigated the ancestry of such celebrities as Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Broderick, Spike Lee and Emmitt Smith.

 The show personalizes the celebrity’s family history, uncovering secrets and long-lost relatives.  And along the way it records the raw emotions they feel as their stories unfold.

 Smolenyak, who has written a companion guide to the series, is a genealogical adventurer who loves to solve mysteries.  Since 1999 she has worn many hats in the family history world.  She created and founded, a volunteer group that assists coroners and medical examiners.

 The program is free and open to the public.  Registration is required.  For more information or to register check the library Web site or telephone the operator at (732) 349-6200 or (609) 971-0514.

 Copies of her books, “Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History” and “Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree” will be available for purchase. 

 The program is cosponsored by the Ocean County Genealogical Society and the Leisure Village West Genealogy Club.

OCL offers Irish bio dictionary online for trial period

March 10, 2010

The Ocean County Library has entered into a temporary agreement with Cambridge University that offers residents the opportunity to delve into the Dictionary of Irish Biography.

The month-long evaluative pilot program expires March 31.

The dictionary is a collaborative project between Cambridge University Press and the Royal Irish Academy.  It is the most comprehensive and authoritative biographical dictionary yet published for Ireland and a real boon for genealogists and people interested in exploring their Irish heritage.

Ocean County Freeholder Director James F. Lacey recently said Ocean County is home to more than 113,000 people of Irish descent.

The dictionary contains 9,014 signed biographical articles that describe and assess the careers of subjects in all fields of endeavor, including politics, law, religion, literature, journalism, architecture, painting, music, the stage, science, medicine, engineering, entertainment and sport.

The dictionary can be accessed from the Ocean County Library Web site (www.theoceancountylibrary) under the “Research and Info” dropdown list.  Select the Databases A-Z icon, and then scroll down and select “Irish biographies.”

The “Irish biographies” message box will contain the username and password a person will need to search the dictionary.