May I Introduce to You . . . Kathleen Gregory

Come meet genealogy blogger Kathleen Gregory, author of the Ancestry Search blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Kathleen Gregory and her blog, Ancestry Search, described as, “. . . Follow me on my journey to find ancestors and the documents they left behind to be discovered.”

Kathleen, tell us a little about yourself

“I was born in Enid, Oklahoma the second child of my parents. I have lived in five states: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and currently in Missouri. My second great grandparents migrated to Missouri in the 1800s and moved on west to Kansas and Oklahoma. Funny how I am back in the state from which they migrated! I have been married for almost 33 years; I have two grown children and seven grandchildren.”

How did you get interested in doing your family history?

“I became interested in genealogy when Farm Woman magazine ran an article on this topic in 1985.  That was 31 years ago. I have a lot of large binders that I still need to organize.”

When and why did you start a genealogy blog?

“I lost my job and felt like I needed to take some time off.  I didn’t know what to do with my time and my daughter suggested I blog about my favorite pastime, genealogy.  It was my hope that I would be able to help solve my brick walls and connect with new found cousins.”

Kathleen, what research tool or resource has been particularly helpful in researching your family history?

“I like Internet Archive, Chronicling America (newspapers) and e-books for online research. One of my favorite resources is newspapers and I love reading the old microfilm. Community news columns are the best at offering clues to possible family relationships.  Newspapers place a person in a location at a specified time. “

Kathleen, do you have any tips for new genealogy bloggers?

“I love reading others’ blogs about their discoveries, trials and tribulations.  We all learn from each other so don’t be afraid to share your failures as well as your triumphs!”

What other genealogy blogs inspire you?

“The Armchair Genealogist; her February writing challenge has inspired me to ask more question so I can write stories about my family.  Ask a Genealogist, The Legal Genealogist, and so many more! I subscribe to other blogs and study them for helpful hints to some of my brick walls. I would love one day to blog full-time!”

Please tell us about your favorite post on your blog.

“The one that has seen the most views is Surname Saturday Louthan Red Headed Hero of Scotland.  The point of this post was to bring to light that all of the information published on the Louthan surname was based on one person’s writings. This is probably true for many others’ family histories, as well.”

How much time do you spend on family history research?

“I don’t get to spend as much time on research as I would like. I try for a couple of hours each week.”

Kathleen, who is your favorite ancestor and why?

“I have tried for 31 years to solve the mystery of my Louthan line. No records to connect my line with any of the others I have found. Alleged brothers married sisters. The wives were sisters but no proof the husbands were brothers. It is one of the mysteries I hope to solve with my blog.”

What family heirloom or story do you cherish?

“I cherish two family heirlooms, an American Fostoria cake stand that belonged to my maternal grandmother and a butter churn that belonged to my paternal great grandmother.”

In what ways has genealogy improved your life?

“Genealogy gave me a sense of purpose and a focus. I feel accomplished when I uncover a record that makes the connection I was seeking, or makes me think about the next step I need to take. There are a lot of strategies in genealogy research that make me a better researcher in general, no matter the topic. Skills I can use in every day.”

Kathleen, what do you love most about doing your genealogy?

“I love learning everything I can about my family history; to answer who, what, when, where and why. I love learning about their migrations from the Northeast to the Midwest; their service to their country in wars; and farming the land during the dust bowl.”

What is on your genealogy bucket list?

“I would like to visit all of the places my ancestors lived.”

If you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you say to them?

“I think it is important for future generations to know the importance of their family history.  They need to know their ancestors live on in them, in their DNA. Family is more than those who live within your household; your family stretches far behind you and ahead of you. That is awesome!”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Kathleen’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Kathleen, it’s great to have you here!

© 2016, 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.

May I Introduce to You . . . Debby Warner Anderson

Come meet genealogy blogger Debby Warner Anderson, author of Debby's Family Genealogy Blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Debby Warner Anderson and her blog, Debby’s Family Genealogy Blog, described as, “. . . My name is Debby and I grew up listening to stories my grandmother (Agnes) told about her family King/Rowan. Unfortunately, while she was alive I didn’t write down all she told me. Now I am on a quest to find out more about my ancestors. If you have any information you would like to share . . . Photos and stories would be greatly appreciated.”

A Little About Debby

“I was born in Anchorage, Alaska but grew up in Calverton, New York. My last year of High School I was a Rotary Exchange Student and lived in Tarija, Bolivia.  After graduating from college in PA I moved to San Diego, CA for several years and then moved back to Calverton.  After my son graduated from High School I moved back to Southern CA and live just outside San Diego (and my son is nearby in LA).”

Debby, how did you get started doing genealogy?

“Great question!  I knew the reason I got started was because I always enjoyed listening to all the stories my paternal grandmother would tell about family members.  I thought some more about this and I think since my grandparents came from big families I started writing down who people were in an attempt to try to remember how everyone was related.  I also liked to ask a lot of questions. I started this about 12-13 years old and did some research off and on over the years. I again started to concentrate on my research about 2000.”

When and why did you start a genealogy blog?

“When I was at the SCG Jamboree several years ago, I listened to a panel of big name bloggers talk about the advantages of blogging.  I started after that but my blog never went anywhere and no one read it. I wasn’t even sure I had set things up right.  In November, Diane Gould Hall helped me get things set up, gave me some very good pointers and continues to be my support and advisor. Diane has been a tremendous help.  I think everyone needs a mentor like Diane!  I know there’s so much I still need to learn.”

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

“Attending seminars.  Going to the Southern CA Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, attending monthly San Diego Genealogy Society meetings/seminars (listening to a variety speakers and talking to other genealogists), and listening to podcasts (since I spend 2 hours a day driving) are the greatest help for me.  Then when I have time to do some research I have some ideas of what to do.”

Debby, do you have any tips for new genealogy bloggers?

“Blogging is a lot of work and seems very overwhelming in the beginning but . . . you CAN do it!  It’s slow getting started but I’ve already starting making a few new connections because of my blog.”

Please tell us about your favorite post on your blog.

I think right now my favorite posts have to deal with ‘Carrie’s Letters’.  They tend to be the focus of my research right now as I try to put them into book format with tons of background information in sidebars to make them more interesting to read.”

How much time do you spend on family history research?

“Unfortunately, I do not get to spend much time for my research since Work (Monday-Friday) seems to get in the way.  I try to carve out some time here and there.”

Debby, who is your favorite ancestor(s) and why?

“I’m not sure I can pick one Ancestor as my favorite.  As I get to know them through my research I’ve come to admire them all for what they have done in their lives.  I think they’ve all dealt with a variety of different circumstances and made the best of what they had.  Some may be more interesting (e.g., John & Priscilla Alden, Carrie Terry Warner, etc.) but I think that’s based on the information I’ve been able to learn about them.”

How has genealogy made a difference in your life?

“The wonderful people that I have met and continue to meet on this journey of research I am making.  I think doing the research has given me a wonderful opportunity to keep in touch with family that I might not have otherwise and I have met some great new family members that I didn’t know about.”

Debby, what do you love most about doing your genealogy?

“Getting to know my ancestors.  Putting the pieces of their lives together to learn more about them then just their birth and death dates.”

What family heirloom or story do you cherish?

“I have several items that belonged to my ancestors that I cherish: my great-grandmother’s letters, a teapot from the 1840s, a sewing rocker from the turn of the century, my grandmother’s birthstone ring are the ones that come to mind right now.”

Debby, what is on your genealogy bucket list?

“I have two: To go to Salt Lake City for a week of Research and when I retire to drive Cross Country to visit several different states with places my ancestors lived to do research and some traveling to countries where they came from.”

If you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you say to them?

“Start recording the everyday stories you are listening to right now!”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Debby’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Debby, it’s great to have you here!

© 2016, 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.

May I Introduce to You . . . Kathy Duncan

Come meet genealogy blogger Kathy Duncan, author of Porch Swings, Fireflies, and Jelly Jars, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

May I Introduce to You . . . Kathy Duncan

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Kathy Duncan and her blog, Porch Swings, Fireflies, and Jelly Jars, described as, “. . . Family Genealogy and History.”

Kathy, please tell us a little about yourself.

“I was born in Texas but spent my formative years in Kansas and New Mexico. Currently, I live near Dallas with my husband and our cat. We have two grown children and one granddaughter. My husband raises daylilies, and I would quilt more if I could stop myself from spending so much time on research.”

How did you get started in genealogy?

“I started doing research in the summer of 1975 after my high school graduation. My mother was researching her family at the time, but no one was researching my father’s family. As a beginner, I dutifully sent off for a copy of my paternal great-grandparents’ marriage license and enclosed the required $1 fee. A few weeks later I received their original marriage license because they had never picked it up from the courthouse. It was magical, and I was hooked. I’ve been researching ever since. I was lucky to begin at such a young age because I had the opportunity to talk with and to question many people who are now gone. I pestered my grandparents, and wish I’d pestered them more. This summer was my big 4-0 anniversary as a researcher.”

Kathy, why do you blog and what do you hope to accomplish by sharing your stories?

“When I realized that I would never get around to publishing a book or be able to afford to publish a book, I decided to ‘publish’ my research on a blog. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Blogs really are excellent cousin bait. My blog has put me in contact with other family researchers, many of whom have additional pictures, letters, bibles, etc. that I would never have seen otherwise. It has been a wonderful way to meet other family researchers. One generous man, who is not a family researcher but is a collector of old envelopes and stamps, sent me an envelope mailed by my husband’s great-grandfather in about 1868/69. He was thinning out his collection and decided to see what he could find out about Rev. D. H. Selph. He found my blog and decided to return the envelope to its family.”

How did you chose the name for your blog?

“My favorite memories of childhood revolve around visits to my grandparents. In the evenings, I raced around the yard with my brother and cousins, catching fireflies that we put in jelly jars. When it got dark, we would take our jars of fireflies and join the grown-ups on the porch. It was always a treat to get to sit in the porch swing. Then we’d listen to the adults recount old family stories that went back as far as the Civil War. My blog’s name is a tribute to those evenings and the stories that drew me into genealogy.”

Kathy, do you have tips or advice for new bloggers?

“Just do it. Blogger is fairly simple to use. Be patient because it takes a while for search engines to find you. The more you post, the better. Eventually, you will start to hear from other researchers. Then the magic happens.”

What other genealogy blogs inspire you?

“I read Randy Seaver’s, Genea-Musings and James Tanner’s, Genealogy’s Star on a regular basis. I am also a fan of Nicolas Weert’s attempt to identify old photographs and to reunite photographs with their families on his Dead Relative Collector blog.”

Kathy Shares Her Favorite Blog Post

“One of my favorite posts concerns my great-great grandfather, James Hogan Dendy and his experience at Elmira. I had known through his widow’s Confederate pension papers that he had been captured during the war and was in prison. When I finally was able to check his service papers, I was surprised to learn that he had been at Elmira. I treated his service records like a timeline and then researched what was going on at Elmira during the same time frame. The result is a glimpse at what he might have experienced while he was there.”

How Kathy Spends Her Genealogy Time

“I do some research every week, but because of my current circumstances most of my research is online. I really need to get back into a brick and mortar library to do some substantial research. As wonderful as online research is, my local library has more information. Of course my ‘local’ library is the Dallas Public Library, which is a gem.”

Kathy’s Favorite Ancestor

“My favorite ancestor to research is my great-great grandfather, Grandison D. Nevill Sr. He has been very difficult to research. I have been able to document the oral traditions about him, located at least four wives for him but only two divorces out of the at least three divorces that he must have had. I’ve documented the surnames of three of the four wives, but not the one I descend from. It is entirely possible that he had more wives than I’ve accounted for. I’ve tracked him to various locations between census years, but cannot locate him in 1850 and 1870. Most secondary sources have him dying in 1878 in Texas, but I can document that he was living in Arkansas in 1880. If it had been easier to find him, I would probably know less about him and would not have honed my research skills. I try to remember that lesson in my research – go beyond census years and birth, marriage, and death dates. There is so much more to be found for each ancestor.”

What family story or heirloom do you cherish?

“My grandmother gave me a photograph album that belonged to her mother. Too many of the photographs are unidentified, but I cherish it.”

How has genealogy improved your life?

“Genealogy makes the world smaller, and I’ve met a lot of interesting people.”

Kathy, what do you love most about doing genealogy?

“The thrill of the hunt. Organizing, not so much.”

If you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you say to them?

“This message would be for future generations of researchers: no one has ‘done it all.’ That cousin or aunt or other relative who you believe has ‘done all’ of your family’s genealogy has not. I know because in my family, I am that relative. I can assure you that there are great gaping holes in my research. Questions still to be answered. Please take what I leave behind and continue the search.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Kathy’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Kathy, it’s great to have you here!

© 2016, 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.