I have the pleasure of introducing you to Beverly Harrison Huffman-Harms and her blog, A Genie in Arizona, described as, “ . . . A genealogy journal with stories of my ancestors; the roots and branches of my American, Irish, Scottish, German, Swiss, and French heritage.”
Beverlywas born inPineville,Louisiana. She grew up in Southern California (OrangeCounty), from the age of five through nineteen, “. . . Currently, I live in theTucson,Arizonaarea. I’ve lived in numerous states including LA, CA, TX, NM, WA, and FL. We have moved around a lot, first for my dad’s career opportunities; then when I married the relocations were first for my husband’s career, and later for my own career in the insurance industry as a Catastrophe Claims Adjuster. Unfortunately, I have never lived in any of the states where my ancestral roots are, so all of my research has been either via snail-mail (in the old days) and genealogy libraries, or now online via such tools as Ancestry.com and other online repositories of genealogy records.”
How Beverly Got Started in Genealogy
“I started researching my family tree in earnest in 1990 . . . so have been working on it off and on for about 22 years now.
I have always been interested in history in the context of the biographies of historical figures, the times they lived in and experiences they had. Around age 20, I developed an interest in my own family roots since I grew up knowing very little about my mother’s side of the family and not a whole lot more about my father’s family.
My parents were both last children to middle-aged parents, and by the time they married, had me (their 3rd child), all of my grandparents were either already gone or were elderly and soon to pass away before I was old enough to get to know them. All of my great-grandparents were long-gone before I was born. Most of my relatives on both my mother’s and father’s side of the tree lived in Missouri, while we lived in California; so in those days (50’s and 60’s) distance and lack of affordable travel options kept me from getting to know most of my kin very well. My mother passed away when I was fairly young, so I was never able to ask her about her family history. By the time I was a young adult, married, and starting a family of my own, I became intensely curious about my roots on both sides of the tree. The “Roots” series on television intensified my curiosity about my own roots, but it was not until years later that I would have an opportunity to start doing research on my own.”
Beverly’s Thoughts on Creating a Blog
“The credit for turning me into a full fledged ‘GeneAholic’ goes to my aunt on my father’s side, his sister Lona Harrison Curtis, who was a family historian in her own right. She was the keeper of the family legends, stories and ‘secrets.’ Her method was not very organized . . . she kept most of her information, photos, old letters, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia stuffed in shoeboxes which she stored in various nooks and crannies in her house, attic and basement. Aunt Lona was the proverbial packrat hoarder; she kept everything from her lifetime! Her favorite saying was ‘I just clear a path instead of house-cleaning’ and how true that was! Her home was a treasure-chest of genealogy information, packed from floor to ceiling literally in some rooms! By the time Aunt Lona was in her 80’s, I finally had reached a point in my life when I had a window of opportunity to go and visit her for a few days inMissouri, to do a little genealogy gold-mining through her treasure trove. As it turned out, she had saved some information not only on my paternal side of the tree, but on my maternal side as well. She and my mother had been good friends as young women. I was able to make copies of enough information from what my aunt shared with me to get started on the right path to sketching out the first few generations of the tree, and the rest, as they say, ‘is history!’”
Beverly’s Tips for New Genealogy Bloggers
“I would suggest that for anyone who wants to start writing a genealogy blog, don’t fret too much about how to write, when to write, or how well you write. The important thing is to just get started; make your blog whatever you want it to be rather than trying to follow a template or someone else’s idea of what a blog should be. Just write it to please yourself! I personally don’t write in my blog by a set schedule or even that regularly. I write when I have the time, and when I feel inspired by something or someone – perhaps to share a story I have learned about one of my ancestors, to simply post a headstone to memorialize a forgotten ancestor, or to share a new discovery I have made, or to comment on some technological aspect of genealogy such as DNA testing and how it has affected me in my research.”
Beverly’s Favorite Ancestor
“It is hard to pick out one favorite, because I am fond of them all! Probably one of my first ‘favorites’ was discovering my great-grandfather, John Milton Harrison, who was a Union Veteran of the Civil War in Missouri (Company H, 11th Missouri Infantry). Each time I discover a new ancestor with a story that unfolds about that person, they become my ‘favorite’ ancestor.”
How Genealogy Improved Beverly’s Life
“The biggest joy has been in getting to ‘know’ the people who were my grandparents, great-grandparents, and extended family kinships from researching their life histories. For example, obtaining my great-grandfather’s Civil War pension file from the National Archives enabled me to get to ‘know’ him by reading affidavits he had written detailing their association with him and what they thought of him as a person. I have learned a lot about the hardships my ancestors endured as a part of their every day life, which has helped me to appreciate the relative comforts of our own modern-day life more. Last but not least, I have met new cousins who are related to me by blood, that I never would have known existed if we had not mutually done genealogy research. Facebook and DNA for Genealogy are two tools that are making it possible to ‘meet’ and network with new genea-cousins fairly regularly now.”
What Beverly Loves Most About Genealogy
“Two aspects I find really enjoyable are finding and exchanging info with new genea-cousins, and also networking with other Family Historians both in-person at Genealogy Conferences, and online via genealogy webinars, Facebook and of course their blogs.”
Beverly’s Time Capsule Message
“I think the message to future generations would be two-fold: Remember our ancestors and remember to leave our own biographical stories preserved for future generations as well. Let’s not forget those who came before us; because all of our ancestors played a part in making us who we are and getting us where we are today. Remember and honor our ancestors. Their DNA is our DNA; we learn a lot about ourselves from studying our ancestry. Our DNA will be part of our descendants’ history. I have had many ‘ah-ha’ moments, such as discovering that I look physically very much like a great-aunt, or that my musical ability comes from one of my great-grandfathers, or that my interest in journaling the family history via a blog is something I actually get from my paternal grandfather (who kept a very rudimentary genealogy journal). We are more than just a product of our mother’s and father’s; we are a composite of all our ancestors who came before us. I’m looking forward to many more discoveries and hopefully having a few more of those ‘ah-ha’ moments. I really enjoy sharing in those ‘Genealogy Happy Dance’ moments that my fellow family historians have, too.”
* * *
Please take a moment to head on over toBeverly’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. WelcomeBeverly, it’s great to have you here!
© 2012, copyright Gini Webb
Gini Webb lives in San Diego, California and manages her own blog, Ginisology, while also researching her own German heritage, recently retired, enjoying life with wonderful husband Steve and visiting with her now seven 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.