I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Amanda Pape and her blog, ABT UNK, described as, “. . . It’s mostly my family history, but some local history as well (‘local’ being wherever I happen to be at the time).”
How Amanda Got Started in Genealogy
Amanda was born in Evanston, Illinois, where her dad’s family is rooted and grew up in Houston, Texas, where her mom’s family is rooted. She has lived in College Station, Washington-on-the-Brazos, San Antonio, and now lives about 30 miles from Fort Worth, Texas. Amanda also lived in the Seattle area for 21 years.
Amanda has been working on her family history since about 1986, when her son was born, “ . . . I think the birth of the next generation was a motivator, but my parents also got me interested. Dad obtained a number of family photos when his father passed away in 1970. Mom was a history major and has been researching our families for many years.
I downloaded PAF (Personal Ancestral File) back in the late 1980’s and started entering the information they’d collected in order to print out nice pedigree charts! It’s just expanded from there. While in library school, I did my practicum with the genealogy librarian at the local public library, so now I help others with their research too.
I’m the Special Services Librarian at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. That simply means I’m in charge of everything on the lower level of the library, which includes our local history/genealogy room. For some reason, the university has the county’s old records, not the local public library. Our librarian who is the local history expert retires at the end of January, so I will be completely responsible for this area. I’m excited, but I also have a lot to learn.”
Amanda’s Family and Her Blog
“I am blessed to still have my 83-year-old parents, but Mom doesn’t use the computer at all, and Dad pretty much just uses it for e-mail and spreadsheets. Therefore, they didn’t read my blog. For Christmas this last year, I made them blog books using Blurb.com’s BookSmart software (very easy to use, by the way, but if you’re a perfectionist like me about layout – I’m a former yearbook newsletter editor – it can be time-consuming). Dad’s book had the posts for his ancestors, and Mom’s book had the posts for her ancestors, and I split the posts about my growing-up years between their books. Two years worth of posts made two 120-page books, and they just love them!”
Amanda’s Thoughts on Blogging
Amanda wanted a blog name that began with A, “Like my name so it would appear near the top in most lists (since most are alphabetical). With a first name of Amanda, I’ve found that being near the top of the list is often advantageous!
I’d had a book review blog for a couple of years and participated in a group book review blog, as well as a couple group blogs at work. Amy Coffin is a fellow librarian and friend, and I’d been following her LiveJournal and We Tree blogs for some time. Through the latter, I discovered, Thomas MacEntee’s GeneaBloggers site. The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories prompts intrigued me, so I started my blog on December 1, 2009, in order to participate.
ABT and UNK are abbreviations commonly used in family trees, for ‘about’ (when you’re not sure of the date) and ‘unknown’ (when you don’t know a name or location).
Finally, blogging can really help with your research and with connecting with family. In my two years of blogging, twice so far, my blog has come up in searches by others, who have then sent me photographs of kin and other information, which provides more material for me to feature on my blog! I figure if I can get one great find like that a year, it’s all worth it!”
How Amanda Follows the Rest of Us
“I use the reader built into Blogger Dashboard (which is based on Google Reader). I’m currently following about 50 genealogy/family history blogs.”
Amanda’s most loyal follower is a co-worker and friend, Tracy, “I try to encourage my sisters and sister-in-law, niece, nephews, offspring, aunts, and cousins on Facebook to read posts by ‘sharing’ them on Facebook.”
What Amanda Loves Most About Genealogy
“What I love the most about doing my genealogy/family history are the interesting stories about my ancestors! I also enjoy the research process, and trying to figure out when and where a photograph was taken and who is in it from contextual clues.”
Amanda’s Time Capsule Message
“Identify the people and places in your photographs, and date them! Future generations will thank you!”
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Please take a moment to head on over to Amanda’s blog. Leave a comment to let her know you stopped by. Welcome Amanda, it’s great to have you here!
© 2012, copyright Gini Webb
Gini Webb lives in San Diego, California and manages her own blog, Ginisology, while also researching her own German heritage, recently retired, enjoying life with wonderful husband Steve and visiting with her now seven grandchildren!
Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . .” series? If so, contact Gini Webb via e-mail.