May I Introduce to You . . . Andrea Kelleher

Come meet genealogy blogger Andrea Kelleher, author of How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Andrea Kelleher and her blog, How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, described as, “. . . Just my way of sharing with family, friends, and anyone who will listen, the things that I have learned about my ancestors with a little bit about myself and my own little family in the mix.  My blog highlights the discoveries I’ve made regarding my ancestral roots from Eastern North Carolina and Barbados predominantly.”

A Little Bit About Andrea

“I was born in Queens, NY during the early 1970’s. For the first 10 years of my life, my family and I lived in Cambria Heights, NY and were blessed to have a wonderful group of relatives living within a 15 minute drive from our house.”  Andrea currently resides in New York.

How Andrea Got Started in Genealogy

“I have been researching my ancestors since August 2009. I think there was always a curiosity about where my ancestors came from.  My maternal grandmother had this beautiful old photograph that hung on the wall of her bedroom while I was growing up. It was a picture of my great grandmother holding my grandmother in her lap. My grandmother was this tiny 6 month old cherub and there holding her was this woman who’s gaze just captivated me.  It was like she was sending me a message with those eyes.  She was saying, ‘Find out who I am?’

Since my childhood, I was curious to know more about my roots, but it wasn’t until I had my kids that I started researching.”

Andrea’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I began my genealogy blog on May 30, 2011, on a whim.  Yes, that’s right on a whim. Let’s just say, I was a bit nervous about sharing my writing with the world but I wanted to do it.  I wanted my kids to have something that they could refer to about their family history.  Then I thought it would be neat to share this with the rest of the family. I thought I could present things to them in a way that they would appreciate and would easily understand.  Finally one day, I got up the nerve and wrote my first post, Okay…Here We Go! LOL.

Andrea’s Tips for New (and Not So New) Bloggers

“Just do it! Start writing and sharing. One of the things that is always floating around in my head is that tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Wouldn’t it be terrible if the stories we know as family historians weren’t shared, written down and passed on? I would like to write a book at some point but I didn’t want to wait to share what I’d learned.  Plus the process of discovery is so wonderful. Every time I find something knew out, I take a moment and reflect on it. I look at how it fills in part of the story of the individual I’m researching. Then I think about how that reflects on to me. Is there something about this story that can help me on my own life’s journey? What struggle did someone before me go through and how can I learn from that experience? Perhaps it’s learning something like I have an interest or talent in common with an ancestor.  There’s that sense of connectivity you get from doing family history that we are all part of the same chain of life. The more you learn, the more it brings you closer to truly understanding that.”

Andrea’s Favorite Blog Posts

Andrea’s Time with her Ancestors

“As much as I can.  It can be difficult at times because I am a stay at home mom with two kids ages 6 and 9 to keep up with.  I would say about an hour a day. Sometimes that hour is broken up into 5-10 minute increments because I am squeezing it in between gymnastics, soccer, or keeping up with the house.  I try to write something for my blog a couple times a week so that is probably another couple of hours there.”

Andrea’s Favorite Ancestor

“My great grandmother Ophelia Jones Bryant, because of the picture she had taken with my grandmother. It laid the groundwork for me to begin my journey.”

How Genealogy/Family History has Improved or Changed Andre’s Life

“Genealogy has improved my life by giving me the knowledge that I come from very strong people. I know now that no matter what happens in this world I have an inner strength that is capable of handling whatever may come my way. I have read about some of the things my ancestors went through and endured. If they had the strength and courage to carry on then so can I.”

What Andre Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love genealogy/family history because it brings people together. My family now has a deeper sense of where our kin came from and I have now been connected to this wonderful online family of people who have the same passion for family history as I do. Really, there is no bad side to this.  At least I haven’t come across it yet.”

Andrea’s Genealogy Bucket List

“Go back to Barbados and do some research at the archives there. Also, visit the area in St Philip Parish where my grandfather grew up. I visited there, years ago before I was into family history. If only I had come down with genealogy fever, then. (Sigh)”

Andrea’s Time Capsule Message

“There is something to be learned from all those who have come before you. Take the time out and learn about your family’s history. By learning about your ancestors, you will learn more about yourself.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Andrea’s Blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Andrea, 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 . . . Dara McGivern

Come meet genealogy blogger Dara McGivern, author of the Black Raven Genealogy blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to, Dara McGivern and her blog, Black Raven Genealogy, described as, “. . . Black Raven Genealogy is an Irish family history blog, created to share discoveries made while researching my ancestors.  ‘Black Raven’ is the name of the house in Co. Dublin where I grew up. It has been home to our family since at least the 1850s. The cottage was probably named after a prize greyhound belonging to my great-grandfather and, as such, seemed a fitting name for a blog about my genealogy.”

How Dara Got Started in Genealogy

“Unlike so many other GeneaBloggers, I am a relative newcomer to the genealogy world and only started researching my family tree in the summer of 2011. My first blog post Welcome to Black Raven Genealogy sets out how my interest was initially sparked. Not being one to do anything by half-measures, I immediately signed up for a three year course in Genealogy at University College Dublin and graduated this year.  It became clear early on that family history is more than the bare bones of genealogy’s dates, places and relationships and, while an amateur genealogist, like me, may well create an accurate, extended family pedigree, they will not be able to contextualise the results without an adequate grasp of relevant social and economic history. For this reason, in 2013, I also obtained an MA in History of Family from the University of Limerick.

Over the past few years, I have traced a number of my paternal and maternal lines back to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Dublin, and so far have identified only one pair of potential fifth great-grandparents. Unless the family was titled or belonged to the landed-gentry class, this is about as far back as many of us with Irish ancestors can go. Irish genealogy is renowned for its challenges, making it occasionally infuriating, but nevertheless, extremely rewarding and I’m now completely hooked. Out of necessity, we use some fairly unusual record sets, adding an extra flavour to the research. For example, I am eagerly awaiting Findmypast’s release of our local court’s Dog Licence Register, which will hopefully reference my elusive great-grandfather, Michael Byrne, and his fore-mentioned famous greyhound. Just maybe, this register will contain the clue that will help me locate his origins. Wouldn’t that be something to write about!”

Dara’s Thoughts on Blogging

“Last September, with my MA dissertation out of the way, there was more time to spend on genealogy research. Some of the information being uncovered about our ancestors was amazing and I wanted to share it with my extended family. Blogging seemed the ideal medium and my family was very encouraging. Even those with no huge interest in their family history dip in and out occasionally. I love the interaction it generates when a story catches their imagination. And then there are the ‘new’ cousins that I hoped to encounter – thus far, half a dozen genealogy cousins have contacted me, all as a result of this blog. Not bad for my first year!  Some just wanted to say ‘hi’, some provided the clue that helped to solve a family mystery and others shared a wealth of family memorabilia and photos with me. Priceless!”

Dara’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Join GeneaBloggers! Soon after my first post, my uncle Colm commented that he thought I was very brave, saying it took a lot of effort and commitment to make a blog successful. Brave? I knew nothing about blogging and the thought of ‘failure’ hadn’t even occurred to me. I had absolutely no idea if I was on the right path or not and had never expected that anyone unrelated to my family would ever want to read my posts. Then, I discovered GeneaBloggers.  This led to a myriad of other genealogy blogs and bloggers, each providing example and know-how, not to mention a ready flow of engaging stories. Blogging is so much more fun when someone, in addition to family, reads your posts, so it was great to become part of this community. I appreciate everyone that comments on my blog and I’m most grateful to my friend Ellie from Ellie’s Ancestors for offering so many words of encouragement and support, especially during my early blogging days. It is wonderful to hear from others who share my enthusiasm for family history.”

Dara’s Favorite Blog Posts

“My personal favourite may well have been one that I wrote earlier this year, entitled ‘Some truth in our family lore’. It was fascinating to see how events occurring nearly 150 years ago shaped the stories still told in our family today, particularly as they occurred more than 10,000 miles from Dublin. I wrote this post while still high with excitement from having finally found my third great-grandfather, John Radcliffe, who had vanished in the 1850s. Phyllis, my new friend and third cousin, read my post lamenting his disappearance and decided to help. She located John’s death record in Victoria, Australia, thus opening up a whole new avenue for further research. My first cousin, Aileen, then obtained the register of his burial and a photograph of his gravesite. Another unforeseen perquisite of blogging is having someone help with the research!”

Dara’s Favorite Ancestors

“Undoubtedly, every family historian would struggle to answer this question, or the answer they gave might vary over time. Currently, I am drawn to my Dad’s maternal grandmother, born Mary Agnes Donovan, probably in Dublin in the 1850s.  Following Mary Agnes’s ancestral trail has been exceptionally enjoyable, peppered as it was with just enough hints to maintain a search, but with the occasional breakthroughs as reward. I wrote about identifying her in two posts entitled ‘Finding Lena’s mother’ Part 1 and Part 2 and am now plugging away at trying to prove her maternal lineage.  Mary Agnes was supposedly a talented pianist and was said to have played piano accompaniment in the silent movies and in Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. Someday, it would be great to find documentary evidence of this and maybe even a photograph of the lady herself.”

What Dara Loves Most About Genealogy

“Like many others, what I love most about genealogy is the detective work, starting with what little is known, searching for further clues, evaluating all the information and finally, hopefully, finding that piece of corroborating evidence that either makes or breaks the case.”

An Additional Message from Dara

“Thank you for inviting me to participate in the ‘May I Introduce to You’ series and the opportunity to ‘meet’ other GeneaBloggers. Céad míle fáilte or, one hundred thousand welcomes, to everyone that drops by ‘Black Raven’ to say hello.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Dara’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Dara, 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 . . . Jenny Lanctot

Come meet genealogy blogger Jenny Lanctot, author of the Are My Roots Showing? blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Jenny Lanctot and her blog, Are My Roots Showing?, described as, “. . . Basically, it’s a place where I can tell the stories of my ancestors and provide hints and tips about stuff I learn along the way.”

A Little About Jenny

“I was born in Portland, Oregon and spent my formative years (age 5 to adulthood) in Atlanta, Georgia.  I currently live and work as a paralegal in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  I’m slowly (emphasis on slow) working toward getting my genealogy certification.”

How Jenny Got Started in Genealogy

Jenny has been researching and doing genealogy on and off since about 1985-86, but researching in earnest for about the past five or six years.

“My grandfather (who was adopted at age 4) started working on his family history when he was trying to find out who his biological parents were.  I’m pretty sure I caught the bug from him.  He passed away in 1990 and I inherited all of his research.  And no, we still haven’t found his biological parents.”

Jenny’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years now.  I love to write, and the blog provided a vehicle for my writing and allowed me to tell the stories of my ancestors.  Plus, I’m a huge fan of instant gratification, so the idea of being able to publish my work ‘in the now’ is perfect for the impatient side of me.”

Jenny’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Don’t be afraid to change things up.  Your blog is your own and it doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.  But the most important tip is to BE YOU.  If you aren’t authentic, how will anyone believe anything you have to say?”

Jenny’s Favorite Blog Post

“It’s probably surprising that it isn’t a post about an ancestor or any fancy research methodology.  Instead, it is a how-to post for a concept that was so simple I was almost embarrassed to write about it, but then I thought … I can’t be the only one who has this problem.  I was right.  People are still looking at it almost every day.  It reminds me that we’re all human and we’ve all ‘been there.’  This Might Be a New Record.”

Jenny’s Time with the Ancestors

“Not as much as I like (I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard THAT before!). It’s easier to find time now that I’ve completely given up personal hygiene and housekeeping on the weekends.  I try to do some bits here and there during the week too, but this pesky full-time job keeps tiring me out and I’m just not very motivated by the end of the day.  But one day, I’ll remember to buy that lottery ticket . . .”

Jenny’s Favorite Ancestor

“It would be easier to tell you which one annoys me the most.  But if I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be Eliza Bourke Lanctot.  She was a strong, independent woman during the early 1900’s when women just weren’t supposed to be.  After her husband died, she became the first female hotel proprietor in Armour, South Dakota.  She went against the grain; marched to her own drum.  I like to think I inherited a little of that tenacity.  (Now maybe she’ll reveal where the heck she was born).”

How Genealogy Has Improved Jenny’s Life

“I definitely feel more in touch with my family who came before me, and I want to know more.  I want to know everything!  Our family wasn’t very close when I was growing up, and the research leading to the stories (or scandals!) has really started to bring us together more.  It also keeps me busy, so I stay out of trouble most of the time.”

What Jenny Loves Most About Genealogy

“My favorite part of researching my family history is finding out who my ancestors were.  Not just when and where they lived, married, and died, but trying to figure out WHY they did certain things or made certain decisions; what sort of things they did when they weren’t busy with their occupation. I enjoy making them real, not just statistics on a piece of paper.”

Jenny’s Genealogy Bucket List

“To identify and visit all the places my ancestors lived, especially in Europe.  I would love to be able to walk in their footsteps just for a moment.”

Jenny’s Time Capsule Message

“Talk to your family before it’s too late, then write everything down (and cite your sources the first time)!  I’m sure I’m not the only genealogist who wishes she had a nickel for every missed opportunity to really talk to a relative who is no longer with us.  When I think of all the stories that I’ve missed because I waited too long, it just breaks my heart into a million pieces.”

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

© 2014, 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.