May I Introduce To You . . . Patricia (Dever) Greber

Patricia Greber

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Patricia (Dever) Greber and her blog, My Genealogy Life, described as, “. . . I don’t have any hard set rules when I blog,  I have joined the #52 Ancestor challenge that Amy Crow started, but I am behind because I was working on Elizabeth Norton’s autograph book post and that took some time!”

A Little About Patricia

“I was born in Montreal, Quebec but moved west when I was 7 and have called Alberta home for the last 35 years. I now live in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I married young and when we were calving cows in the harsh Alberta winters I needed something to occupy myself. It was genealogy! I started collecting everything I could about my family. I took courses at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I joined the local genealogy society and they were a great support group! I have traveled as much as was possible visiting cemeteries and many hours in libraries looking at microfilm. I am thankful now that things are more accessible on-line. Just 2 days ago I decided to do a search for a relative who moved west from Ontario and I could not track her down. I searched Ancestry and low and behold via Find-a-Grave I found her headstone and now I am on the hunt for her obituary. All from my home. This definitely was not an option when I started!”

How Patricia Got Started in Genealogy

“I started as a young mother who lived out in the country on a cattle ranch. The internet was pretty new and there was not a lot of genealogy on it. I would go to town when I could get a sitter and scroll through microfilm at the local library and Family History Library that was about 16 years ago now.

I think I have always been interested, I took my first genealogy course in grade 7 as it was offered as an option for a year or two at my school. I think the saying – I was born this way is exactly how I feel about my genealogy bug. I have fully embraced my genealogy side!”

Patricia’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I first started blogging in 2009 at,  I Remember You but I wasn’t regular as I had 2 more children (my older two were 10 & 8 and I have been married for 22 years so yes they are all have the same father!). The reason why I started blogging is 3 things:

1) Simply cousin bait, I think it would be fantastic if someone e-mailed me and said they too connect with my family!

2) It is a great way for me to see what research I have done and what needs to be done.

3) But probably the main reason is to share it. I have spent years gathering this information – for what? To sit in my file cabinet and drawers? Not at all, for me I do genealogy to share it and possibly ignite the passion in someone else!

I hope you enjoy my blog and I look forward to connecting with more genealogist! I love how many of us use the internet to share our genealogy journeys and invite others to follow our genealogy lives!”

Patricia’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Network, reach out to other people researching, the genealogy community is wonderful! Join a society or find friends on-line, it is great to know people who share your interest!”

Patricia’s Favorite Blog Post

“Probably my latest post is my favourite, 52 Ancestors – Elizabeth Norton #11. I love using technology and I try to present my genealogy in a way that may appeal to a wider audience!”

Patricia’s Time with the Ancestors

“Is that measurable? I think I am always researching. It is my mind set when I go about my daily life, it is what I am thinking about when I lay my head down at night, sometimes I have broken through brick walls thinking my genealogy through at the end of the day. Genealogy and research happen daily in my world!”

Patricia’s Favorite Ancestor

“I love them all but . . . my favourite ancestor is William Robert Jordan, he was born 1852 in Quebec City, he was involved in the Fenian Raids as a bugler and later the Northwest Rebellion. William was a soldier all his life and later was an instructor at the Citadel in Quebec City. He married 3 times, had a total of 10 children, with 5 surviving childhood. I still haven’t found him on the 1861, 1871 censuses for Canada, I do not know where in Ireland his father Samuel was born (so there are still unknowns) but having said that – I know so much about his life, I feel like I know him. William died at the age of 85 in Quebec City in 1938.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Patricia’s Life

“It has become a way of life for me. I belong to the Grande Prairie & District Branch of the Alberta Genealogy Society and enjoy meetings. I have been secretary of that group for a year and now have stepped down to take on Editor of the newsletter. But probably the biggest and best thing is because of genealogy I have found an amazing job!  While clipping newspapers for the genealogy society’s obit project I saw that the local archives, South Peace Regional Archives, was looking to hire. I haven’t worked outside the home in 20 years but I was determined to throw my hat in the ring! It was a big step – but the biggest surprise was they hired me! I have been working there for almost a year and I feel that this is my dream job! Their website is truly a genealogist dream with all the content they put on-line! It’s pretty amazing with only 3 employees.”

What Patricia Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love the research, looking for clues, I feel like a detective and the amazing feeling when I have found that missing piece!”

Patricia’s Time Capsule Message

“Don’t forget to look back, the people in your past helped you become who you are!”

* * *

Please take a moment to head on over to Patricia’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Patricia, 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 . . . Cynthia Berryman

Cynthia Berryman

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Cynthia Berryman and her blog, We’re All Relative, described as, “. . . A place to archive my family’s stories and photos.”

A little About Cynthia

“I grew up in a little town called Encinitas, in the 1950s and ’60s. It was really three towns that adjoined – Cardiff, Encinitas, and Leucadia – and the three together had a population of less than 5,000. It was idyllic. We lived on a ranch, with horses and dogs and chickens, occasionally a goat or a few ducks, with all that open space. Ours was the only house in a valley that was close enough to the ocean that I could hear the waves at night. It was so casual then. After a day of sun and surf I could walk into the grocery store barefoot, and all the other kids in there would be dressed the same – bathing suit with maybe a t-shirt over it. My father and sister occasionally drove a pony cart to town to get a doughnut. And of course, everyone was pleasant.

It’s not like that anymore, of course. I live about 60 miles north of there in a coastal community called Costa Mesa. Southern California is just one big sprawling suburb. My sister and brother both live in the mountains now because the coast is so crowded. But I can’t leave this weather. I’m a wimp for cold or humidity.”

How Cynthia Got Started in Genealogy

“I started doing family history when I was about seven. My father’s family has a long documented heritage, so in my home we had things like christening gowns from the 1800s, old Dutch wooden shoes from the early 1900s, journals written in the late 1700s, things like that. A couple of pieces of furniture had their heritages taped inside drawers. We have a dresser that supposedly came from Isaac Newton’s half-sister. Its genealogy was written on a note some time long ago, probably the late 1800s or so, telling exactly who it passed from at each succession. There is one person I can’t track down, and it drives me crazy!

Getting actively involved in genealogy is something that has been nagging at me for years. I have most of the family treasures – journals, hand-made furniture, photos, china, etc. I have them because to me they’re treasures, and my siblings didn’t seem too interested. But now they’re getting more interested, and would like copies of the photos. It took me a long time to get around to it, but I’m finally starting. My main goal besides the photos is to get the stories down. I know so much about our history, things I know my siblings don’t, so my nieces and nephews don’t have anything to connect them with their past, really. I want to make sure all of what I know gets to them.”

Cynthia’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I only started my blog two months ago. I did it for several reasons. For one, it’s going to take me years to get all the family stuff organized, and I don’t want to be doing this on my deathbed. So it’s been on my mind for a long while. But the reason I started exactly when I did is because I needed to get back to writing. My career is writing, and for the past decade or so I’ve written for investment newsletters. It’s my own business, and I take on as many or as few clients as I want. Well, I kept taking on more and more work, and pretty soon I was working seven days a week, about 12 hours a day. And it burned me out. I literally could not string together the words to make a meaningful sentence. I would write a page, and when I got to the end of it I couldn’t remember what the beginning said. So I took a two year break. Before jumping back in with paying clients, I wanted to make sure I could write again. I love doing the blog now, and I think it will help keep me balanced once I go back to work.”

Cynthia’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Heck, don’t ask me this question. I used to be a creative director. I could talk for a month (and I have!) on learning to write. There’s a popular blog I’ve seen with a perfect message: No story too small. I can see where it might be intimidating for a blogger to think about having enough to say. But don’t look for the great American novel or the universal truth. And don’t worry about perfection. The absolute best writers in the world never — N-E-V-E-R — nail it on a first draft. And blogging isn’t even a novel. Just write from your heart and hit ‘Post. ’”

Cynthia’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I launched the blog with a couple of deeply personal posts, right out of the gate. Then I looked around and thought to myself, ‘uh-oh, I’m supposed to come up with one of these every day? Or even every week? This is going to be like a comet once it hits our atmosphere – a spark of bright light, then nothing.’ I had to step back and start interspersing the very personal posts with ones that might have a few family tidbits within a larger broader theme.

So my favorite posts are from early on, the ones that are most from my heart. Those are:

Stories My Father Never Told Me

The Only Photo of My Mother’s Childhood

My Mother’s Special Drawer.”

Cynthia’s Time with the Ancestors

“Research is my weakness. I LOVE to research. I think all writers do. My husband used to be an ad man at a famous agency, and he remembers the founder of the agency used to say, ‘somewhere, somehow, some time, someone has to sit down and write the *#%$& ad!’ So for me it’s not how much time I get to spend on research, it’s how good I am at dragging myself away from it.”

Cynthia’s Favorite Ancestor

“I don’t have any favorites. They’re all wonderful.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Cynthia’s Life

“I wrote about this the other day. I think it grounds me, gives me a deeper understanding of myself.”

What Cynthia Loves Most About Genealogy

“Everything but trying to reconcile dates and places.”

* * *

Please take a moment to head on over to Cynthia’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Cynthia, 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 . . . Emily Kowalski Schroeder

Emily Kowalski Schroeder

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Emily Kowalski Schroeder and her blogs, The Spiraling Chains, described as, “. . . The Spiraling Chains chronicles both my and my husband’s Ohio ancestors. My husband is descended from 19th century German and French Catholic farming immigrants who settled in rural western Ohio.  My ancestors were Polish, Italian, and Croatian blue-collar immigrants who came over during Cleveland’s industrial boom in the early 20th century.  I also write about tools, resources, and methods that have helped me in my own research process, in the hopes that they will help someone else as well.”

Emily also manages an additional blog, Growing Little Leaves, described as, “. . . Growing Little Leaves is dedicated to sharing activities, projects, books, and films helpful in introducing young children to family history vocabulary and concepts.”

A Little About Emily

“I grew up in Parma, Ohio and I currently reside in Brownsburg, Indiana.  Growing up, I was a big weather junkie, and I have two university degrees in meteorology.  Right now, I am a stay-at-home mom to two young children, ages six and three.  My husband is also a meteorologist, and we’ve been married almost ten years.”

How Emily Got Started in Genealogy

“I began researching in earnest in 2010, shortly after my second child was born.  The area in which I was raised was home to people with a wide range of European nationalities.  Most of my classmates had at least one parent or grandparent with direct ties to the ‘Old Country,’ so knowing where we came from was always second-nature to us.   However, my interest in active and thorough genealogical research was sparked by the TV show Who Do You Think You Are?  (It’s so cliché to say, but it’s true!).”

Emily’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my genealogy website and blog in 2012.  I actually first just created a website as a way for family members to easily access all of the documents and photos I had been collecting.  But there was so much information, I wanted a way in which to highlight one or two things at a time so my relatives wouldn’t be so overwhelmed.  I started the blog so that I could depict our ancestors’ lives as more of a story instead of just a list of documents.

I recently started my Growing Little Leaves blog because I am developing ways to get my own children interested in family history.  I wanted to share our projects and activities in the hopes that others’ will encourage the kids in their lives to learn more about family history, too.”

Emily’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Don’t worry about writing about what you think other people want to read.  Write about what and who interests YOU. Write to help yourself understand your research better.  Write truthfully, but compassionately about your ancestors to honor their lives, even though those lives may not have been perfect.”

Emily’s Favorite Blog Posts

Creating a Family History Wall

Visiting Ancestral Places…From Your Living Room

Jesse Owens and…My Grandpa

Emily’s Time with the Ancestors

“In a typical week, I probably only get maybe 2-3 hours a week at the most to research.  Life these days is full of homework-helping, gymnastics classes, and soccer practices.  I’ve learned to organize well so that I don’t waste time figuring out where I left off.  My mantra has become, ‘My ancestors aren’t going anywhere, but my kids won’t be kids forever.’”

Emily’s Favorite Ancestor

“My maternal grandmother, Dina Licciardi Bellan emigrated from Italy when she was about six years old and served in the U.S. Coast Guard SPARS during World War II.  She served as my confirmation sponsor and she lived with our family for a couple of years when I was a teenager.  She shared my love of books and reading; I would be the only teenager in the library’s large-print section, because she would ask me to bring her a few books back home.  She was also a good cook, and very sociable and outgoing around other people, two qualities that, to this day, I am still envious of and wish I could do better at.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Emily’s Life

“Going from being a full-time scientist to a stay-at-home mom was difficult for me; I had no outlet for using my analytical and critical thinking skills that I had developed over the years.  Genealogy has helped me keep my brain sharp.  It’s also been great to meet and interact with other family history researchers online and at seminars and conferences.”

What Emily Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love being able to find and share information with other family members to help them learn about and appreciate their ancestry.  It’s been great to hear my parents, aunts, uncles, and in-laws talk more about their parents and grandparents and what it was like growing up.”

Emily’s Time Capsule Message

“Keep the art of storytelling alive. No matter how many documents or photos we collect on a person, they still can’t tell the entire story of a person’s life.”

* * *

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