Although genealogy is at its heart the study of long-deceased ancestors, connecting with living relatives has become almost as important to many family historians. Some seek living kin in an effort to track down family photos; others do it to find family history playmates, plan reunions or identify DNA project participants. Whatever the motivation, one of the most addicting aspects of genealogy is the thrill of finding distant cousins, or in some cases, parents, children or siblings. But this "reverse genealogy" (working from the past to the present) has its own special challenges and requires the researcher to be part genealogist and part private investigator. This presentation covers proven techniques for tracing 20th and 21st century friends and relatives from the past to the present.
Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, that's her real name) is an incurable genealogist and wears many hats in the family history world. A popular writer, speaker and TV guest, she does all she can to get the g-word out there and inspire others in their quest for roots. She enjoys solving mysteries, making unexpected discoveries and pushing the boundaries of conventional genealogy. She has consulted for and appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, BBC Breakfast, Who Do You Think You Are?, African American Lives, Ancestors, TimeWatch, They Came to America, Faces of America, NPR, and BBC Radio, and has spoken at numerous events across the U.S., England, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand. Megan's books include Trace Your Roots with DNA, Honoring Our Ancestors, In Search of Our Ancestors, and They Came to America.