Monday, January 30, 2012

WDYTYA/ $10K Sweepstakes!

As if the return of WDYTYA wasn't big enough news, now you can enter to win $10,000 to go find your own ancestors!

Who Do You Think You Are is back for a 3rd season and will premier this Friday, February 3 at 8/7c on NBC. Martin Sheen will lead off the series, and other celebrities lined up include Marissa Tomei, Blair Underwood, Helen Hunt, Jerome Bettis, Robb Lowe, and Paula Deen, among others.

Be sure to tune-in and see what each of our celebrities learns about their family history! We guarantee lots of surprises too. Check out the WDYTYA site here.

In conjunction with Season 3, is running a Sweepstakes where 3 Grand Prize winners will win a trip of a lifetime to uncover their own family history valued at $10,000! The Sweepstakes includes a trip to the winner's homeland to explore their family roots, round-trip airfare for two, hotel and $2,000 in cash, plus a 6-month World Explorer membership and an DNA test to discover their genetic ethnicity. 20 First Prize winners will receive a 6-month World Explorer membership.

To enter and see all the details on the Sweepstakes click here.

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Press release from And yes, I am an affiliate.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Veterans History Project Launches Multi-Year Effort to Collect Vietnam War Stories

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) has launched a multi-year campaign to preserve the stories of the nation's Vietnam War veterans. Volunteers and veterans are needed to record these important stories for the Veterans History Project collection, accessible at

"In the coming years, our nation will commemorate 50 years since the conflict in Vietnam," said VHP Director Bob Patrick, referring to the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration established to honor and pay tribute to Vietnam War veterans and their families. "The personal histories of those who served will help us heal, learn and remember, while leaving a powerful legacy for future generations."

The stories of former Sen. Chuck Hagel and his brother Tom Hagel, who fought side by side in the 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong River Delta, are among the more than 13,000 Vietnam veteran collections already held by VHP. The brothers recently ushered in VHP’s new campaign by donating more than 20 hours of interviews and film footage to the Library. Originally collected by Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET), representatives from NET were on hand to commemorate the donation.

"When we think of wars – whether it’s Vietnam or any other war – we think of it as a unitary subject, the Vietnam War," Tom Hagel shared at the event. "But there are millions of Vietnam Wars. If you were a clerk-typist stationed in Saigon or up on the demilitarized zone, or some other unit with some other type of job, your Vietnam War would be totally different from ours. And that’s important to tell. It gives a more complete, realistic picture of that experience. That’s the value of this project."

The Vietnam Veterans Collections Initiative Kick-off can be viewed here.

Epitomizing that thought are the stories of Brian Markle and Jeanne Markle, who were among the first married couples to arrive in country. She was a nurse with an evacuation hospital, and he was an officer in charge of medical logistics. African-American truck driver Thomas Hodge didn’t expect to live long when he got to Vietnam; he heard that the life expectancy of a wartime truck driver was three days. He survived, as did nurse Rhona Marie Knox Prescott, though her friend and fellow nurse perished in a helicopter crash.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center ( to collect, preserve and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at Volunteers may request more information at or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to VHP's RSS feed on the VHP home page.

Press release from the Library of Congress.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Grandparents (Mine)

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"Reba and Lee Swanay." Digital image. Undated. Original photograph privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal, Santa Barbara Co., California, 2012.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Daughters of the American Revolution Partners with Children of the American Revolution to Promote Education and Literacy

Molly Schutzenberger delivers a donation to
United Through Reading in San Diego. 

On September 26, 2011, Molly Schutzenberger, Honorary State President of the California State Society Children of the American Revolution (C.S.S.C.A.R.), delivered a $5000 check to the San Diego-based non-profit organization United Through Reading (UTR).

This donation is a combination of funds including a matched grant from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and a full year of fundraising by members of the C.S.S.C.A.R.

“United Through Reading helps USOs, ships, and other military units create a special library and recording area where deployed parents can read books to their children. The recording is sent home to their children, who can watch it at bedtime or whenever they want to see their mom or dad,” says Ms. Schutzenberger. “For the service member, it helps morale because the parents feel as if they are staying emotionally connected. Plus, it helps cultivate a love of reading in the children. My family read aloud together when I was growing up, so it was especially meaningful for me.”  Molly adds. “For military families, year-long deployments, sometimes into a war zone, create incredible stress. Young children may not even recognize their parent when they return. United Through Reading really makes a big difference.”

In the process of working to support deployed parents and their children, Molly became aware of another group of military dependents who receive help from UTR. These are children deeply affected by the incarceration of a parent in the brig. They are often confused about their parents’ absence and may wonder whether their parents care about them. Many experience problems in school, act out in socially undesirable ways, or are sad or withdrawn. The military brigs are continually in need of books to provide for video-recorded reading which can then be sent along with the DVD to their children. Volunteers train incarcerated parents about the literacy needs of their children and how they can contribute to their child’s success through a positive reading relationship with them.  Children will see their parents reading with love and enthusiasm, in many cases for the first time ever.

Linda Stufflebean, C.S.S.C.A.R. Honorary Senior State President, worked with Ms. Schutzenberger, as well as Elizabeth Swanay-O’Neal, C.S.S.C.A.R. Senior State President, and Jean Mollenkopf, Regent of the Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter DAR in Santa Maria, to apply for an educational grant from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). The C.S.S.C.A.R. was awarded a $925 matching grant so that United Through Reading could purchase a one-year supply of new children’s books, DVDs, and mailers specifically for the Brig Program.

Regarding her chapter’s participation in the project, Mrs. Mollenkopf said, "It was a great honor for the Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter DAR to be part of this meaningful patriotic endeavor to help build a lasting bridge between deployed veterans, military incarcerated, and their children at home through United Through Reading. We feel blessed to have been the DAR chapter engaged in the original grant process along with C.A.R."

"I want to thank Mrs. Mollenkopf and the NSDAR for getting behind our effort to raise money for UTR," says Ms. Schutzenberger. “It is a great partnership of the C.S.S.C.A.R. and the NSDAR to make a difference for military families going through terrible circumstances. We are helping at-risk children to become literate and find success at school, which means a better future for those children and a better future for our country."

In 2011, the NSDAR awarded over $180,000 in grants to support historic, patriotic, and educational projects all over the United States. For information about DAR Special Projects Grants, please see

For information about the Children of the American Revolution, please visit To learn about the work of United Through Reading, see

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, January 13, 2012

DAR's Forgotten Patriots Project Now Online (free)!

If you are researching African American or Native American ancestors who may have provided service in the American Revolutionary War, this online publication may be of interest to you. I have a copy of the book, and it's a terrific resource.

The following announcement is from the DAR web site.

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Since the mid-1980s, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has supported a project to identify the names of African Americans, Native Americans, and individuals of mixed heritage who supported the American struggle for independence from Great Britain during the American Revolution. In the 1980s and 1990s, a series of small booklets for each of the original states were published, and in 2001 these booklets were merged into one volume and their contents greatly expanded in the publication titled African American and American Indian Patriots of the Revolutionary War.

The 2001 book also inspired a well-received and interesting exhibition in the DAR Museum "Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Service in the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783." The exhibition was open to the public from the fall of 2002 to the summer of 2003. During the exhibition's run, a seminar on the same topic was held at DAR Headquarters in Washington, D. C. in January 2003 and featured noted historians from around the country.

During the next few years, DAR researchers continued to build on the 2001 book, and by 2006 it became clear that a new publication was needed to present all of the additional findings. In April 2008, DAR published Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War, an 874-page expansion of the 200-page publication. In the three years since this book was published, research continued and new findings have been complied in a supplement that is now available.

All print copies of the 2008 edition of the Forgotten Patriots book were sold-out by the summer of 2010, and discussions began to determine the next step in the process of providing this information to the public. DAR is now offering the full text of the Forgotten Patriots book and its corresponding supplement online! These documents can be downloaded for free from the DAR website. Subsequent updates will appear online as needed.

Note: Please be aware that the following publication is not connected with NSDAR publications, with the 2002-2003 DAR Museum exhibit, or the 2003 seminar.

Burrows, Edwin G. Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners during the Revolution. New York: Basic Books, 2008.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

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We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, 
drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. 
Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through 
the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.
~Ellen Goodman

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Wishing you a very happy New Year, from our house to yours. May your dreams and resolutions all come true, and may you find even more of your elusive ancestors in 2012!

Vintage greeting card from, which unfortunately no longer exists.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal