May I Introduce To You . . . Diane Gould Hall

Diane Gould Hall

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Diane Gould Hall and her blog, Michigan Family Trails, described as, “. . .   As I research mine and my husband’s family, I share with readers my experiences and take them along on the journey.  In the process, I share tips and advice, along with some current genealogy news.  I also post lessons on how to do things like organize digital folders, analyze evidence, follow a trail of leads, as well as a few tips about how to use the Legacy software database.”

About Diane

“I was born in Detroit, Michigan.  I named my blog in honor of Michigan as my parents, siblings, grandparents and some great grandparents were also born in Detroit.  I am happily married to my husband of 24 yrs., Ron. I have lived in San Diego County, CA. since my sophomore year in high school.

I belong to genealogical societies both near and far, as follows:  The San Diego Genealogical Society, the North San Diego County Genealogical Society, the Ohio Genealogical Society, the Lawrence County (Ohio) Genealogical Society and the Aberdeen & North-east Scotland Family History Society.

I was privileged to facilitate a Legacy Users group for the San Diego Genealogical Society for 2 years.  I regularly attend seminars and listen to webinars in order to increase my knowledge.”

How Diane Got Started in Genealogy

“I began researching in 2000.  I became interested in family history many years ago, as a young girl.  I would ask my maternal grandmother about her family.  I would learn later on that she had left me a lot of information about the family and even a handwritten family tree.   I also used to ask my Dad to tell me about his family.  My grandmother always told me that we could belong to the DAR.  She passed away in 1986 and would be happy to know that I am now a DAR member.”

Diane’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my blog back in January 2010 as a way to share with cousins and other family members.  I wanted to do a website, but blogging seemed like a better way to really share our story.  I only wrote a few posts from 2010-2012.  Then last year I began again in earnest.  The reason I stopped and started frequently was because I felt like I really didn’t know what I was doing and thought ‘who is going to want to read this anyway?’  I’ve since learned from reading other blogs and by watching tutorials and webinars.”

Diane’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Be yourself when you write.  Read and re-read your posts before you publish them.  It’s your blog so make it whatever you want it to be.”

Diane’s Favorite Blog Posts

“There are several that seem to have been very helpful to readers.  Here are two of them:

Diane’s Time with the Ancestors

“Now that I’m retired I can spend much more time.  I generally do something every day.  It could be as little as responding to an email or a post on a genealogy Facebook page, or as much as hours looking for records.”

Diane’s Favorite Ancestors

“I’d have to say it’s my paternal Great Grandfather, William Val Gould.

My Dad used to talk about his grandparents all the time.  He was the only grandchild born to them, even though they had 6 children.  I have many pictures of my Great Grandfather and consider him the patriarch of our family.  He wasn’t rich or famous, but he was always well dressed and he had a sparkle in his eyes.  He was handsome too. “

How Genealogy Has Improved Diane’s Life

“Genealogy has improved my life by bringing me closer to my family.  I have connected with cousins who are now close friends.  I have been located by a half-brother, given up for adoption, who is now one of my best friends.  I have met some wonderful people all over the United States and in Europe.  I have traveled to places I might not have gone to if it weren’t for genealogy.  I’ve learned more about history and geography.  I think that I’m a more complete person because of my knowledge of the history of my ancestors. “

What Diane Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love the hunt and the discovery.  I love the surprises we find along the way. I also enjoy that genealogy keeps me learning new things all the time.  We are always learning about the history of an area, looking at maps and reading newspapers and books.  And, we need to keep up with current technology too.”

Diane’s Time Capsule Message

“When we are young we don’t really pay much attention to the ‘old folks.’  But, they will one day be the people you would give anything to have 10 minutes with.  They are the ones who know all the important things about the family.  How did your parents or grandparents meet?  Who were the rebels in the family?  What brought the family to a certain location?  There are so many questions that you can’t find in census reports and vital records. Once those family members are gone, you can never ask them questions, and oh my, how you will want to.  TALK TO YOUR FAMILY NOW!”

* * *

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

© 2014, copyright Gini Webb

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 . . . Lacey Frazier

Lacey Frazier

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Lacey Frazier and her blog, Branches and Twigs, described as, “. . . Branches and Twigs is a family history blog on my maternal line.”

About Lacey

“I come from a long line (at least 200 years) of Missourians. I grew up about 15 miles south of Springfield. I now live 35 miles east of Kansas City. I live in a three generation household. I live with my mother, older sister, and two nephews. I was born with a disability called Spina bifida. I’m completely paralyzed from the waist down. Living with allows me to be a constant part of my nephews’ lives. They are 9 yrs and 7 mos. We also have several (spoiled and well-cared for) dogs who range from 9 ½ lbs to 75 lbs so the house is always active! That’s another thing that I love, I wouldn’t want to live alone.”

How Lacey Got Started in Genealogy

Lacey has been doing genealogy for about 10 years now, “. . . Actively? About 10 years. On occasion? Since I was 10 years old (21 years).

On one of my grandma’s visits, she saw me with my Social Studies book and asked me what we were learning about. It just so happened that we were studying the Civil War. After a conversation about Civil War veterans she told me that her great-grandfather had been a Civil War veteran. I wanted to learn everything that I could about him so I would read just about anything I could get my hands on that discussed the Civil War. It didn’t help me find much, then, but it has helped me now with the several Civil War veterans and other war veterans in my family tree.”

Lacey’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started Branches and Twigs on 12/28/13 and to fulfill a goal that I had for 2013. I started it as Potter Family: Branches & Twigs but within a few days changed it to Branches and Twigs. Potter is my maternal grandfather’s mother’s maiden name and two years ago I connected with several cousins on that side. I decided that I wanted to be able to discuss all of my maternal side so I changed the name to reflect that.”

Lacey’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Read other blogs and don’t worry about how well you can write. It will evolve over time if you are consistent. I’m fairly new and I’m still learning my ‘voice.’”

Lacey’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I don’t have many posts yet but my favorite so far has been Written in Stone. It’s the story of how my mom and her siblings surprised Grandma with a headstone for the graves of her sister and brothers who were either stillborn or died shortly after birth.”

Lacey’s Time with the Ancestors

“In my leisure time? About ten or so hours a week.”

Lacey’s Favorite Ancestors

“I’m partial to my mother’s maternal grandmother, Eunice Velma (Hall) Stapp who died when her only surviving child was 10 years old. I wonder what my grandmother’s life would have been like had her mother gotten to raise her into adulthood. I wonder how my life would have been different had she lived. She’s so close, yet so far away.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Lacey’s Life

“I have a job that sometimes requires locating birth, marriage, and death records so knowing where to look for them is important. It’s also important to have had previous experience with the records so I know what I’ll be able to find online or if I’ll have to call and find a paper copy.”

What Lacey Loves Most About Genealogy

“The surprises are the thing I love most about doing genealogy/family history. In one week I discovered two deaths from being hit by a train. There was even a pretty detailed news article describing the injuries of one of the men.”

Lacey’s Time Capsule Message

“Be a participant in your own life. Don’t just watch it go by.”

* * *

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

© 2014, copyright Gini Webb

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 . . . Janice Sellers

Janice Sellers

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Janice Sellers and her blog, Ancestral Discoveries, described as, “ . . . My blog covers a wide range of material, including things I learn from my research, research resources, current events in genealogy, reviews of television shows (have to talk about ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’!), and sharing photographs.  My primary focus is on Jewish, forensic (real forensic, having to do with legal matters, not ‘forensic’ as used by some people, which is really only scientific) and newspaper research.”

About Janice

“I was born in East Los Angeles and lived in Los Angeles County until I was almost 9 years old.  My family then moved to Australia for two years, and from there to Florida, where I stayed six years and graduated high school (from Niceville Senior High School — yes, that’s really its name).  For college I returned to Los Angeles and went to the University of Southern California, where I graduated with a degree in foreign languages and also studied library science, music, and computer programming.  After ten years in L.A. I moved to the San Francisco Bay area, and I have been living in Oakland for more than 20 years.  (Go, Raiders!)”

How Janice Got Started in Genealogy

“I started researching my family history when I was 13 years old.  I have all my original notes from when I interviewed family members back then.

I grew up hearing family stories from my mother and grandmother, so I already had a latent interest.  What really got me going was the assignment in junior high school to create a family tree going four generations back.  I still have the original purple mimeographed handout.”

Janice’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my blog on January 15, 2011 (I just had my third blogiversary!).  I was inspired to start it by taking a class with Craig Siulinski through the California Genealogical Society.  I wanted to share my passion for genealogy with others.”

Janice’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Writing is hard and takes time!  Make sure you schedule time for your posts, or it’s very easy to fall behind and go a week or two (or more!) without posting.  Also, as an editor (my career before becoming a professional genealogist), please think about grammar and spelling when you write!  There are so many blogs out there I would read more if I didn’t become so frustrated at the poor spelling and grammar.”

Janice’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I think my favorite post is the one I did for Mother’s Day 2013, ‘Things My Mother Taught Me.’  It was a nice way to reminisce about my mother, who passed away in 1995.”

Janice’s Time with the Ancestors

“Not nearly enough!  I usually spend between 5-20 hours on research a week.”

Janice’s Favorite Ancestors

“What, I have to pick only one?!  Possibly the most interesting is Alexander Mack, the founder of the German Baptist (‘Dunker’) religion.  It takes a lot of courage and conviction (and chutzpah!) to decide you have the only correct interpretation of scripture and get a bunch of people to follow you.

I also have a Quaker ancestor who was renowned during her lifetime for giving fervent testimony; when she was older and could no longer stand for very long, she would kneel and preach for hours.  Those are both from my father’s side.  On my mother’s side of the family, my great-great-grandfather Gershon Nowicki lived into his 90’s and had a reputation for flirting with women all the way to the end.  He was a
very observant Orthodox Jew who immigrated to the U.S. when he was about 70 years old and became a Hebrew teacher here.  I have one photo of him, with my great-great-grandmother.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Janice’s Life

“I think learning about your family history gives you respect for those who came before you and lets you feel better connected to your ancestors.  Everyone’s family is interesting to learn about.  Nobody’s family is perfect, and most families have at least one black sheep, but that’s part of what makes them interesting.  And in a broader sense, genealogy has given me a way to meet and interact with people I probably would not have otherwise, so it’s broadened my view of people generally.  It’s been a very educational and humbling experience.”

What Janice Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love finding details about my ancestors and family members that make them come alive to me as real people.  Once I found a newspaper article about when my grandfather had donated his collection of antique tools for a display in a local library.  I knew my grandfather, but I had never known he collected antique tools, so it was a fascinating little tidbit about him.  Newspapers are wonderful for this kind of knowledge.”

Janice’s Time Capsule Message

“Talk to your relatives, especially the older ones, now, while you have the chance.  They are the best sources to tell you about themselves and your family.  Once they have passed away, their memories go with them, and the only way to learn about them will be by trying to piece together whatever pieces of information you can find.  And share the information you find with other family members, so that what you have learned and put together doesn’t disappear after you are gone.”


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

© 2014, copyright Gini Webb

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.