May I Introduce to You . . . Callum Leslie

Come meet genealogy blogger Callum Leslie, author of the Intertwining Branches genealogy blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

May I Introduce to You . . . Callum Leslie

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Callum Leslie and her blog, Intertwining Branches, described as, “. . . I write about the lives my ancestors led. I don’t just share those, however, I also like to share poignant or often funny finds, not necessarily relevant to my family.”

Callum, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

“I was born just outside of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. I have lived here my entire life, in the area where the majority of my ancestors have lived and worked for centuries. Both my paternal and maternal grandfathers had Irish roots, but there is also a little bit of Scottish thrown in.”

How long have you been doing genealogy and how did you get started?

“I began my journey into family history at Easter 2009. I was fourteen-years-old at the time, and it was the day before Easter half-term at school. My school put on a range of activities and I picked family history. I was already keen on history, and had always wondered what my ancestors had gotten up to, and whether they witnessed any significant moments in history – (they did!) Because I was at school at the time, I am lucky to know the exact date and approximate time I began researching, as it was all written down in my school planner.”

When and why did you start your genealogy blog?

“I started my blog right at the beginning of 2015, solely to document my findings and research. I also wanted to put my research into a narrative format, so family members could read and understand their ancestors better. Ancestors are so much more than born, married, died, and it’s important to show that, I believe.”

Callum, how did you choose the name for your blog?

“I chose Intertwining Branches because that’s exactly what my family tree looks like, or feels like, sometimes. My paternal grandmother’s family lived in the same seaside village for centuries, in a very tight, close-knit community. Over the years there are a number of cousins marrying each other, and so many, many shared ancestors. In this particular village, I am related to the majority people.”

Callum, what research tool or source has been particularly helpful in researching your family history?

“I think one underrated website is FreeREG, which has many transcriptions of parish registers from across the UK. It’s a brilliant resource, but always make sure to double-check the original document!”

Do you have any tips for new genealogy bloggers?

“Just do it. Write about what you know, and sometimes what you don’t. The genealogy blogging community is a lovely and welcoming one, and people are so keen to read stories and share experiences. Your experiences with a certain record set or document can be invaluable, and inspire others to look where they previously hadn’t.”

Callum, what other genealogy blogs inspire you?

KindredPast – Sue writes brilliant and informative posts, and I have enjoyed reading every post. There are a few ‘how- tos’ and also posts about the methods behind Sue’s research. Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog – I enjoy reading Jana’s posts also. I find out about a lot of genea-news from her.”

What has been your most exciting genealogy discovery in your research?

“My 3x great-grandfather was good friends with a local dignitary. In the early 1860s they went to Melbourne, Australia, together. They returned a few years later on the famous SS Great Britain, which was carrying precious cargo – gold! I can’t be certain the gold was discovered by them, but after that my 3x great-grandfather called himself a ‘gentleman’ and was left a £2000 legacy by his noble friend. £2000 was a massive amount for a humble fisherman. I actually haven’t written a blog post on this yet, so spoilers!”

Callum, what are your favorite posts on your blog?

A Grand Old Man. A brief biography on my 2x great-grandfather, Adam Storey, and also my first blog post. He was a brilliant man, and I felt like I needed to tell his story.

Lady of Sorrow. A blog post dedicated to Martha Renner (née Robinson), my 4x great-grandmother and Adam Storey’s grandmother. She was an incredibly resilient and hardy woman, who lived such a tragic life.”

How much time are you able to spend on your research?

“I spend every moment of free time on research. If I disappear for an hour or two, you better believe I’m scrolling through indexes or knocking on my ancestor’s doors in the census.”

Who are your favorite ancestors?

“Two of my favourite ancestors have previously been mentioned; Adam Storey and Martha Renner. Adam because he genuinely seems like a lovely man. He was 97-years-old when he died in 1951, so within living memory for a lot of people. I have talked with many people who actually knew him. Martha because her tale is a tragic one, and surely her heart must have been broken by the end of it all, but still she lived on. That makes her all the more endearing to me, somehow. Another of my favourites is my 3x great-grandmother, Margery Barrass (née Turnbull). She inherited the lease to a pub when her father-in-law and husband died, and under her the pub thrived! She was incredibly hospitable, and a real matriarchal figure to me. So many descendants have been named in her honour, and the name is still around in my immediate family today.”

Callum, what family story or heirloom do you cherish most?

“We have a spill vase in my family which originally belonged to my great-grandmother. It depicts a cow and horse drinking from a trough, and is known affectionately in the family as ‘the coo and horse!’”

In what ways has genealogy improved your life?

“I think genealogy has made me more perceptive and sympathetic, and I think that’s always a good thing. Genealogy has also taught me so much about history, particularly social history, and historical events my ancestors lived through.”

What do you love most about doing your genealogy?

“I think it’s the feeling when you discover something new and amazing, or when you finally break down a brick wall. I also enjoy telling family members about my discoveries.”

Callum, what is on your genealogy bucket list?

“When I first started researching, I probably would have said that I’d like to find a link to Royalty. I still would in some ways – think of the records, for example! I think I’d like to find an ancestor I could be proud of. Someone who did something good, or was ahead of their time. I’d also like to find an ancestor who perhaps influenced a famous historical figure and helped them to succeed. Selfishly, that would give me the opportunity to discover and tell their story.”


Please take a moment to visit Callum’s blog, Intertwining Branches. Be sure to leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Callum, it’s great to have you here!

© 2017, copyright Gini Webb. All rights reserved.

Gini Webb lives in San Diego, California and manages her own blog, Ginisology, while also researching her own German heritage, retired, enjoying life with wonderful husband Steve and visiting with her 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.

Noah Wyle Who Do You Think You Are? Episode Now Available Online

On this Sunday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, actor Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his mother's family line, searching for answers to a lifelong question about his family’s participation in the Civil War. He discovers an ancestor who was catapulted into one of the bloodiest battles of the time, and whose life spiraled out of control from remarkable success to a shocking and tragic end.

If you missed this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring actor Noah Wyle, you can now watch the full episode online at TLC! Click here to watch.

NOTE: According to TLC this is a “locked” episode of WDYTYA, meaning you will need some type of television viewing service such as DirectTV, Xfinity or a cable provider. Some future episodes of this season of WDYTYA, like the season premiere episode with Courteney Cox, will be “unlocked” and free to access.

On this episode actor Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his mother’s family line, searching for answers to a lifelong question about his family’s participation in the Civil War.  He discovers an ancestor who was catapulted into one of the bloodiest battles of the time, and whose life spiraled out of control from remarkable success to a shocking and tragic end.

The next episode featuring actor Jessica Biel airs on Sunday, April 2nd, 10:00 pm Eastern / 9:00 pm Central on TLC. Check your local television listings for the exact time in your location.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of TLC. Used by permission.

©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Review: How to Finalize your Personal History for Printing and Sharing

Genealogy educator Thomas MacEntee reviews How to Finalize your Personal History for Printing and Sharing by Hilarie Robison of Legacy Tale – a must have!

Review: How to Finalize your Personal History for Printing and Sharing

[Editor’s Note: How to Finalize your Personal History for Printing and Sharing is available in PDF e-book format from Legacy Tale for $7.99 USD (click here). Use promo code FINALIZE at checkout and save 20% – your final price is $6.49 USD]

Robison, Hilarie Hicks. How to Finalize your Personal History for Printing and Sharing, Legacy Tale, 2016, 40 pages.

I’ve personally helped clients and friends produce various types of family history books and I know the process can be daunting. I’ve done print, print-on-demand and even ebooks and let me tell you, there are so many details to remember! If you want a guide to the family history book process you can’t do much better than How to Finalize your Personal History for Printing and Sharing by Hilarie Robison.

The crux of the book is the use of a “three-part process” which includes 1) editing and finalizing text; 2) focusing on layout and design; and 3) handling printing preparation and making decisions on options.

Why I Think How to Finalize your Personal History for Printing and Sharing Works

One of the areas often “rushed” or “overlooked” is the proofreading and editing process when producing a family history book. Robison reminds us that this entire project is an investment and you are leaving a legacy . . . so why not put the proper effort into it?

Robison’s formatting tips are solid and spot on; she stresses various options that are easy-to-use and that I myself have recommended to clients and colleagues. Robison also reviews options for additional sections that you may not have considered: appendices with letters and diaries, pedigree charts and more.

The printing process is probably the most confusing and vexing for most family historians. Robison covers all the bases and answers questions about printing options, how many copies to make, how to provide copies to family members at prices ranging from free on up, and more.

Finally, there are some EXCELLENT tips throughout the book in the sidebar! These are coming from an expert who has produced many family history books so Robison knows all about printer deadlines, layout and more.


In How to Finalize your Personal History for Printing and Sharing, the author Hilarie Robison provides a well-conceived three-part plan for you to finally produce that family history book! With valuable tips and practical (and proven) advice, you could easily have your book ready for Mother’s Day, a family reunion this summer, or as gifts for the 2017 holiday season!

About The Author: Hilarie Hicks Robison, M.A.

Hilarie Hicks Robison is a third generation native Las Vegan whose professional career spanned roles in government agencies, education and non-profits. After graduating summa cum laude from BYU and earning a Master’s in Ethics and Policy Studies, she published and presented widely on a variety of topics throughout North America, receiving multiple awards for publications and innovations. A teacher and writer at heart, she loves helping people recognize how history has shaped their lives, and how making and recording your own history shapes the future. Hilarie and her husband, Ben, are the owners of Legacy Tale, where they provide tools and services for capturing, preserving and sharing family legacies.

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.

©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.