May I Introduce to You . . . Jack Coffee

Come meet genealogy blogger Jack Coffee, author of The Edward Coffey Project, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Jack Coffee and his blog, The Edward Coffey Project, described as, “. . .  A blog hopefully useful for other Edward Coffey researchers.  Really, it’s an attempt to correct a lot of misinformation floating around on Ancestry and other websites.”

“People ask me why my surname is spelled Coffee and not Coffey.  I have a theory that spelling of the surname changed sometimes because of movement out of the Carolinas and into KY, TN, GA and later into AL and on into AR and TX to other points west.  For example, Coffee was and is a rather popular name in AL, GA and TN.  Some officials in counties that had heard of the exploits of such men as Gen. John Coffee – of Mrs. Andrew (Rachel) Jackson kin – would spell the name of a new Coffey arrival the only way they had ever seen it spelled.  A tenuous argument but no one has ever been able to convince me of a better way the spelling changed.  Spelling varies even amongst siblings with some even spelling it Coffia.”

Jack, can you please tell us a little about yourself?

“My hometown and that of my wife is Baton Rouge, LA.  We have been married nearly 56 years and we now live in a small rural area some few miles north of Lafayette, LA and on the outskirts of the town of Sunset, LA.  My military service made us travelers.  We lived for three years in France and a couple of years in Germany.  In all, I served my country for eight and a half years before taking a discharge and a job with Exxon, now Exxon-Mobil Corp.  During the 28 years I worked for them, we lived and worked in Saudi Arabia and in Singapore and Baton Rouge.  I retired in 1995 and we left Baton Rouge and moved to some lake front property we owned in a remote and sparsely populated Parish in the NE part of Louisiana where we lived for 10 years before moving to Sunset where we have lived almost eight years.  In 2012, believing I had appendicitis, I went to the emergency room of a local hospital and came home with a diagnosis of Lymphoma.  After months of chemo I was finally declared in remission and have been now for nearly two years.”

How did you get started in genealogy?

“I never knew my paternal grandparents or any cousins from the three marriages of my grandfather.  Really, I never knew my father while growing up.  He was a real loser, married six times siring another child, a girl, with I believe his third wife.  A co-worker was researching his European roots and knowing that I spoke German – not so much now – he asked if I would translate some letters for him.  We both decided it might be good to take a basic course, me to help restore some vocabulary, him to learn the basics.  That got me interested in my roots but not before reading a bio of John Coffey Hayes, the Texas Ranger.”

How long have you been researching your family history?

“I began to seriously do research in the early 80’s when I discovered Baton Rouge had one of the finest genealogy libraries in the SE.  Since that time I have continued to do Coffee/y research even after learning that none of my Coffees are actually Coffee or Coffey.  It appears that my 3G-grandfather was either adopted or illegitimate and DNA testing shows us to be Mills.  Ironic that we are Coffey Mills.  My research points to an unmarried Coffey woman in Burke Co., NC living in close proximity to a single young man named Hardy Mills.  DNA shows my descent from Hardy’s father.”

When and why did you start or create your genealogy blog?

“I began the blog on Dec. 7, 2004 and wrote regularly for several years.  I am rather slow to write and post because it has become difficult to find anything new and of interest to readers.”

Do you have any tips for new bloggers?

“Jump in and start.  Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.  Well, not too much, anyway!”

Are there other genealogy blogs that may inspire you?

“I rely on Twitter a lot and the professionals who post there.  When I find a topic that one has posted and stirs my interest I will jog on over to their blogsite to see what they have to offer in the way of advice.”

Jack, what is your favorite post on your blog?

“I would guess that my favorite was the one in which I discovered a bigamist and a murderer in my family.  That was only recently (2014) and can be found here:  William Noah Coffey, Bigamist & Murderer.”

How much time do you get to spend researching your family history?

“Being retired and having no other hobbies, I spent the greater part of the day working on both Coffee/y families as well as my wife’s Acadian ancestors.”

What family story or heirloom do you cherish most?

“The walking stick that I inherited from my maternal great-grandfather who died when I was 10.”

How has genealogy improved your life?

“Well, hard to say.  I suspect it helped me forget all of the difficulties I had not only with the cancer but also with the chemo.  I spent a lot of time in my easy chair with my tablet, researching, reading and the like, all the while sending what I found via e-mail to my desktop computer. On those days I felt like moving from the easy chair to the desk chair, they were waiting for me and occupied me for a few hours.”

What do you love most about doing genealogy?

“I love searching old newspapers and finding out who shot who, who went to jail for moonshining, illicit love affairs and divorces, stuff like that! I’m really not a voyeur but it’s kind of cool to find out that even though I am the ‘perfect father and husband’ (tongue in cheek), not everyone in my family even came close.”

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

“If it was left to my own family, grandchildren for example, I would tell them to take what I have begun and fill in the blanks!”

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

© 2015, 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 . . . Anne Robinson

Come meet genealogy blogger Anne Robinson, author of the Phamily Blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Anne Robinson and her blog, Phamily Blog, described as, “. . . A history of my phamily and good therapy for those days when you are missing someone you loved and lost.”

A Little About Anne

“Like my hubby, I was born in Pueblo, CO. We live in Northglenn, CO. today.  We raised five kids together. We work hard, three of the kids have college degrees and the youngest one is studying so he can get his BS and then a Masters. Makes a mom proud.

We have dogs and cats always with us and we like to travel. We love spending time with our phamily and we lead simple lives. No showy stuff, just good old fashioned values, lots of phamily photos and kids are always around. We like to walk and run and hike together.

I love collecting dolls and my hubby studies the Bible diligently. We attend church together and considering we have been hit with lots of difficult stuff throughout our marriage, sickness, job loss, etc., we remain strong and stick together like glue.

I am a tea collector, anything with tea I love tea pots, cups, etc. I am the baby in my sibling order and I like to dream. My hubby is the middle child, he is very kind and very level headed. I am an emotional mess some days and he balances that out for me. I am like our youngest Nick, he is like our middle Rebekah. We love our kids and the grand kids and we are so young (wink wink) we have some great-grands too!”

How Anne Got Started in Genealogy

“About five years ago, when a co-worker told me she traced her dad’s phamily back to the 14th century and Vasco de Gama. I went to Catholic school, a girl never forgets a really cool explorer like him! I have dabbled in my phamily history for several years but the past six months I have kicked it up a lot!

My girlfriend Barb started me blogging but my cousins, Mike and Kay, encouraged me to write about the phamily. Wanting to know things about my ancestors that I was too young to ask them. I have always been fascinated where they came from, Yugoslavia/Slovenia/Austria. Plus my hubby has his dad’s genealogy from Ireland for several generations back and someone did lots of research. They did not include photos so I am filling in those blanks too.”

Anne’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I have been blogging since Nov 1, 2009 but got into the genealogy aspect of it because my cousin Mike Barnett was blogging a history for his kids, ‘Life in Bojon Town.’ He wanted his kids, grandkids and nieces and nephews to have something to remember us by.

When I started my blog, my lifelong friend Barb encouraged me. Our middle daughter had a little poodle who got really ill and diagnosed with cancer. She said write about her, you will never regret it, so I did. Plus now when I look back on my blog posts and see improvements I made I feel good writing a mini history of my life and those I loved and cherished.

I am not very tech savvy so I learn a little at a time with various good buddies I have meet through blogging. Makes me feel good to accomplish many things, like these questions, where my text was changing colors! It seems like it only happens to me, but I laugh and roll with it! Thank you.”

Anne’s Advice for Genealogy Bloggers

“Don’t give up! My cousin Kay is a puzzle solver and she encourages me to keep keeping on. She will visit the homeland of our ancestors in August.”

Anne’s Favorite Blog Post

“It is hard to say, I have written a few on weddings posting my mom and dad’s siblings and their own weddings. But there are more than one post. I love that everyone pitches in and sends me photos to use. I love photos.”

Genealogy Blogs That Inspire Anne

“My cousin Mike but I have started to look at others. There is so much info out there.”

Anne’s Time with Ancestors

“I lost my job in November 2014 so right now I have more time. Once I get back to work, hopefully by September, I will work on it maybe two hours daily. Some days I work 4-5 hours at a time.”

Anne’s Favorite Ancestors

“My grandmother Cecilia Steblay, she suffered so many hardships and they made her stronger. Her faith prevailed. She was my mom’s mom and then my dad’s father, Joe Kocman, he and his brother were orphaned and he was one of the best parents ever! Life could not beat him down and take his joy away.”

Anne’s Most Cherished Family Heirloom or Story

“My mom’s cedar chest and a photo I have of my great grandfather, Joseph Kralj and my uncle Louie as a small boy.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Anne’s Life

“It makes me more determined. I am searching now about my great grandfather and you cannot tell me no! I will prevail! I keep searching, redoing it and searching more! Plus I find little bits of info that make me smile. Like my youngest daughter Hannah is born on July 3 and so was my dad’s little brother Frank that passed away during the Influenza Epidemic in 1918.”

Anne’s Time Capsule Message for the Future

“Talk to the older generation. Tape them, record them, listen and date all your information. You won’t ever regret the search you are on.”

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

© 2015, 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 . . . Angela Money

Come meet genealogy blogger Angela Money, author of Northern Mama: Family History ~ Family Life, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Angela Money and her blog, Northern Mama: Family History ~ Family Life, described as, “. . . Part mystery, part history, and a whole lot of family, genealogy is not solely academic but personal. Understanding the origins of my family has empowered me in unexpected ways.  It has forged greater bonds with family members, and created an environment of open communication and storytelling.  This is what I wish to share with my readers.  Genealogy is not just history in action; The loving creation of family memories!”

A Little About Angela

“Born in Ontario, Canada and currently living in Saskatchewan, Canada.

I am a creature of contradictions! I am a professional who is a home-body; A mother of three–nine if you include horses, dog and cats–with an independent spirit; An academic nerd with a love of the stylish and the aesthetic.  I am a modern woman who cherishes antiquity. A former ‘mommy-blogger,’ I realized imparting my ‘infinite mommy wisdom’ and advertising products–which were beyond necessity–was not my niche.  I wanted to write; Write about my passions which included both my family and that which inspired me in life.  I am an archaeologist and a teacher, a writer, and an artisan, but my latest passion seems to encompass it all–genealogy!”

How Angela Got Started in Genealogy

“I suppose I have only been actively pursuing genealogical research for 5 years, however–in a much more subtle and inadvertent way– I have been collecting family history since I was a child.  I like to say my Grandmother, Madeline Grace (nee Blancher) Carter, was a family historian in her own right.  She felt it important to record all significant family dates—births, marriages, deaths.  She also kept a record of all the places she–and my Grandfather, Harold Thomas Carter–worked and lived.  She was full of family lore and she collected and protected old family photos, the family bible, as well as heirloom glass pieces from her ancestors.  I would say she set the kindling which sparked the fire, which was to be my genealogy obsession.

The spark which lit the fire however, ignited 5 years ago when my son came home from school bombarding me with questions regarding our genealogy.  He had a family history project to complete for class and being the actively involved, educated parent that I am, I began to bequeath to my son the wealth of family tales and knowledge my Grandmother had bestowed upon me.  It was at this time that I realized there were huge gaps in my knowledge, and my husband was not quite so aware about his side of the family.  And so it was, I took my research skills as an archaeologist, got a subscription to Ancestry.ca, and began to run with my interest!”

Angela’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I began blogging years ago as a ‘Mommy Blogger’ but later decided that was becoming mundane. It was only about a month ago that I decided to re-enter the blogging world but this time as a genealogy blogger.  I have always had a passion for writing; I am one of those people who was going to write a great novel but time got away from me and life got in the way!  I have not completely dismissed this dream, but in the meantime I think blogging is a wonderful incentive to write daily.  Genealogy is also a passion of mine so I thought why not combine these two passions? “

Angela’s Advice to New Bloggers

“My tip for new genealogy bloggers would be to write for yourself; Write what you are passionate about and what you personally are experiencing.  I realize for many blogging is a business.  It is an enterprise in gaining readers and achieving notoriety.  While there is nothing ignoble about this it can be draining and can divert your focus from your true interests to constantly guessing what others want and expect.  Be authentic!  I know from ‘Mommy blogging’ that worrying about what others think and focusing on stats can make a person miserable and cause you to forget what you loved about blogging in the first place.”

Angela’s Favorite Blog Posts

“My favourite post? That’s a difficult one.  My favourite would probably be my continuing Thriller Thursday serial (which of course is a group of postings).  They are just fun to write as they read like a ‘penny awful’.  I guess I will say the latest in the series (but you can always follow the links there to the earlier posts in the saga): My most popular post however was a Tuesday Tips post about using Evernote to create a Brick Wall Ancestors File.”

Angela’s Time with Ancestors

“My research time varies remarkably from week to week. I am a mom of three very active children, my husband has a very demanding job with a crazy schedule, and I work part time, so I guess I just fit it in between everything else!  I also have many hobbies . . . yes, a novice of all trades, a master of none! I do spend many hours of my leisure time doing online research and I make a trip to the local library at least once a week.  I am unfortunate to live away from my home town and I know I would spend even more research time in museums, archives, and libraries if I lived nearer the homes of my ancestors.”

Angela’s Favorite Ancestor

“My favourite ancestor (aside from those I knew and loved myself) would have to be my Great-Grandfather, Thomas Carter.  His life was a difficult one: his mother dead, his father hanged, life in a workhouse and then Fegan’s Home for Boys, and from there he was shipped overseas to Canada.  A 10 year old boy on his own, an indentured servant in a strange new land, I am proud of his endurance.  His life has provided me with great research opportunities and amazingly rich genealogical investigation!  There are others, but I think the breakthroughs I made in the research of my Great-Grandfather and his family were among the most exciting!”

How Genealogy Has Improved Angela’s Life

“Genealogy has improved my life in many ways.  It has been fulfilling to provide my family with roots—particularly my children.  It has provided me a great outlet for my research skills and interests in history and writing.  I have become the keeper of family lore and knowledge which is a position in our families which I take very seriously.  Honestly, it is just thrilling being able to bring my ancestors to life in vivid colour and detail, from what may seem the most inert and inanimate objects—documents and scraps of that which they have left behind!”

What Angela Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love pursuing Family History!  What I love most and what I think has created my obsession is the discovery of stories.  Just like on those genealogy television shows we enjoy so much, we are discovering, piecing together, and resurrecting the stories of those who may well have been forgotten and unknown otherwise.  It’s the stories and the detective work it takes to find them which enthralls me!”

Angela’s Genealogy Bucket List

“My Genealogy Bucket List would have to include travel!  My husband and I took a second honeymoon a year and a half ago to England. We spent some of that time exploring the haunts of our ancestors.  This was a beautifully cathartic experience.  Walking in the footsteps of our ancestors is something I want to repeat.  Travel to France and Belgium, England, Scotland, and Ireland are on my bucket list, and eventually–when time permits–we would like to spend some of that travel time exploring archives and libraries in these foreign climbs!”

Angela’s Time Capsule Message

“If I were to leave a message for future generations . . . well I think it might be a novel!  A simple message can turn into page after page due to my ‘wordy’ personality (as you’ve probably guessed).  I hope to write a bit of a biography for future generations and I hope to live a long, full life so I can–like my Grandmother–share family tales with my Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren.  I suppose like everyone my simple message would be this, ‘Don’t forget me!’ and ‘Remember, that you are your own individual and truly not the sum of all your ancestors; However, you can learn much from their history, and your family roots.  Whether it be endurance and survival, human resilience or fallibility, humility or self-confidence, those characteristics our ancestors’ represent to us can also inspire us in our lives and allow us to forgive our human weaknesses!’

Oh, and I’ll be leaving my family tree research with the instruction that it drive someone else’s obsession in a future generation!!”

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

© 2015, 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.