IT'S ALL RELATIVE Discovering heritage is much easier today with modern-day tool

By Kevin Shue
Lancaster New Era

Published: Mar 18, 2005 1:22 PM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - NATIONALLY KNOWN genealogist Megan Smolenyak will be the keynote speaker at this year?s Lancaster Family History Conference, April 1 and 2. Recently, I spoke with her about the topics she will discuss.

KEVIN SHUE: The title of your keynote address is ?Great Days for Ethnic Genealogists.? How has the field of ethnic genealogy opened up in the past few years?

MEGAN SMOLENYAK: I tell folks who are new to it that they were really smart to wait. I?ve been digging at my own roots now for slightly over 30 years. Because of all the new resources that have come along in the last decade, I?ve learned more of my own family in the last seven or eight years than in the first quarter century.

A lot of it has to do with the Internet ? what?s available, particularly for people who are of Eastern and Southern European heritage, such as the Ellis Island site. The Family History Library of the Mormon church has millions of rolls of microfilm ? and is filming all sorts of records in Eastern Europe and making them available. A bunch of good things all happened at once, especially for those of us with ethnic names. It just has become a lot easier.

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