With 2019 almost upon us, I wanted to look back on the discoveries made, film and genealogy based books read, and highlights of 2018, in addition to what I’m hoping to achieve in 2019. This will be done in two parts, the first being a summary of the major discoveries and happenings, the second comprised of my favorites of 2018 plus a list of resolutions I hope to hold myself to in 2019.

Major Discoveries & Happenings of 2018:

Genealogy Related: 

Around this time last year, I started writing a genealogy book for my DiBagno side of the family. This has been a rewarding and extremely fun project that has ultimately brought me closer to my cousins. I am grateful for all of their assistance and willingness to participate. I can’t wait to have a finished product (2019!).

Through Facebook, I re-connected (and connected for the first time) with several cousins on my Mihalovich, DiBagno, and Brown sides of the family. A few of us now speak regularly (also through Facebook).

Several close family members tested their DNA through either Ancestry.com or 23&Me, allowing me more insight into my own results.

I found my maternal grandparent’s divorce information, something that was surprisingly hard to find and required much digging.

For my birthday in June, my wonderful husband bought me the book Fortresses Over Nuthampstead – The 398th Bombardment Group (H) 1943 to 1945 by Cliff T. Bishop, which details specific missions my paternal grandfather, group navigator Lt. Col Harold Lyle Brown, flew in during World War 2. I was also able to speak to the granddaughter of a pilot who flew with my grandfather on some of these missions and shared stories with her.

I connected with several other non-family members who gave insight into my family including the granddaughter of my grandfather’s 3rd ex-wife and a woman who moved into a 2nd cousin’s house after she passed away and inherited her dishware among other things.

I created this blog at the end of August, after stumbling across Eric’s blog when I was doing research on our shared ancestor, Hans Herr. It looked like a heck of a lot of fun…so here we are!

A huge brick wall toppled in early October when I connected with  2nd and 3rd cousins in Italy, who I now speak to regularly. With their help, several major branches of my DiBagno family tree have been filled in (and my Italian is better for it).

In October, I signed up for DNA Painter and My Heritage.

Also in October, I discovered my connection to Billie Jean King which paved the way to November’s discovery of a network of royal great-grandparents such as Charlemagne, King Henry I, King John of England, etc. I have spent much of December connecting the tree branches, as it were. It’s certainly true that if you find your connection to one royal, you’ve found your connection to (nearly) all!

In November, I was interviewed for one of my favorite podcasts, Extreme Genes. If you are so inclined, you can listen to my interview with Scott Fisher midway through Episode 259.


My grandfather retired Lt. Col. Harold Lyle Brown passed away on February 19, 2017, but it wasn’t until  January 2018 that we able were to lay him to rest in Arlington Cemetery (there is a long waitlist if you are retired military). The reverence and grandeur of the ceremony made it an absolutely amazing experience. Nothing less would have been appropriate for the sweet soul (and bonafide war hero) who was my “Grampy.” I miss him every day.

My beautiful second cousin Anne Parry Mayer passed away on June 18th. I hadn’t seen Annie in years, but I have very clear memories of attending her wedding as a child and how beautiful she looked with her cloud of dark, full hair and enormous smile. We had only recently reconnected through Facebook, but I’m very thankful that I was able to become reacquainted with her intelligence and kind nature in that short time.

Anne Parry Mayer

Classic Film Biographies (and Genealogy Related Books) I Read in 2018:


Classic Film Biographies I Started in 2018 (and Intend to Finish in 2019!):


…as you can tell by the photographs, I started a lot more books this year than I finished. Hopefully, I can remedy that in 2019.

That concludes Part 1. Stay tuned for part 2! Coming soon (VERY soon…there is only 1 day left of 2018, after all).