Sunday, July 23, 2017

Meet our 2017 Sponser: Ancestral Books, Legacy & Education

We are excited to welcome Seema Kenney (NOT Kennedy) to the Genealogy Journeys team. Recently, Seema took time from her busy schedule to send us a little information about herself and her company, Ancestral Books, Legacy and Education - three things that are very near and dear to her.

I originally started in the business of genealogy after completing the Genealogical Research Certificate Program at Boston University’s Center for Professional Education in 2010. As an entrepreneur, I started my genealogy business in 2011 and originally named it Mass(achusetts) Researchers, but I changed the name in 2015 to better represent what I wanted to pursue – writing and education.

As for that Education part, I completed ProGen & NIGR in 2012, joined several Genealogy Societies, attended local conferences, and continue to expand my genealogical education. I have a B.A in Spanish & Social Science and a B.S. in Management Information Systems.
 I started exploring my family history when still in High School. My interest in family connections was originally spurred by my mother’s family even before that. While my mother is an only child, her mother was one of eight children.  We lived only a few miles from my grandmother, and my great-grandparents lived just a mile from that.  Whenever we would visit the great-grandparents house, there were plenty of people there.  Five of their children lived in the area, as well as several other grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  So, my first foray into genealogy was simply figuring out how all these people were related to me.

I was one of the conference chairs for the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium’s (NERGC) 2017 Conference in Springfield, MA in April.  But I have also spent a great deal of my time, last year and this, working on the project of cleaning out parts of my Aunt’s house.

 The home was built by my Aunt & Uncle as well as many other family members in the 1950s and has been their residence ever since. The first family jackpot find was a bundle of 178 letters written by family members to my Uncle while he served in the Army in WWII.  The second jackpot was a set of over 100 letters by Uncle wrote home from the Army, the average length of which is three typed pages.

So, I’ve read, scanned, transcribed, and shared much of these WWII letters and done a significant amount of research into the war in Italy. I guess the third jackpot find was over 100 postcards from Italy and Switzerland that my Uncle bought as souvenirs as he did some sight-seeing on his days off.  Yes, he was ‘a different kind of soldier.’  My Uncle worked at Army Headquarters as a clerk and had a very different type of experience than those of the soldiers seen in movies and on television.

In addition to all the letters, there are hundreds of photographs that I have reviewed with my Aunt.  Identifying several and at least sorting as to which side of the family they pertain.  In the process, mixed in with the photos we’ve found other letters, announcements, and trinkets that bring back memories that become stories while we work and laugh about life long ago.

Then, there was a fourth discovery. Fifty-two letters that my father sent his older brother during service in the Army in Korea!  These, also are now read, scanned, transcribed, and shared.  And more was learned about my immediate family, including how little my father remembers about his time in the service.

So, research in 2016 was based more on family heirlooms than history books.  Many of my grandparents’ things were at my Aunt’s house as well and there are still love letters, school journals and photo albums from the 1910s to be reviewed.

My paternal family roots go deep into Colonial New England, especially in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.  My European roots include English, Irish, German, Swedish, and other unknown origins. And, my DNA testing paid off in 2016 – I connected with a third cousin in Sweden! We share great-great-grandparents as our great-grandmothers were twin sisters.  Some items found at my Aunt’s home have helped both of us learn more about our common family.

Keeping the legacy alive, I am a wife, and mother of three boys. 

Seema Kenney, Certified Legacy Advisor with

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