I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Colleen G. Pasquale of the Leaves & Branches blog described as, “. . . focused on my research & my family’s genealogy/history.”
How Colleen Got Started in Genealogy
Colleen didn’t realize genealogy existed until about 1990, when she had come across and purchased a book titled: Do People Grow on Family Trees? Genealogy for Kids and Other Beginners, by Ira Wolfman with a forward by Alex Haley. Within its pages Colleen had made a marvelous discovery. She could discover more about her family than just the stories. Colleen had always thought family history was an oral history; stories told by family members and then passed on to the next generation. She grabbed a notebook and trotted off to her local Family History Center where she learned about microfilm and microfiche.
Colleen traveled to the National Archives in Pittsfield, MA to find census records and city directories. Each time she would come across an ancestor’s name, she was “thrilled.” Soon, family vacations included trips to cemeteries to search for ancestors. Colleen’s notebook grew into several binders, a filing cabinet and a small library of genealogy books.
Colleen’s mother Alberta Joy (Gardner) Brown and her mother, Colleen’s grandmother, Helen (Coyle) Gardner, would share the stories of their lives as little girls, growing up in New York City with Colleen. As a little girl herself, Colleen wanted to go back in time and have fun with those little girls. “When I learned that I could do genealogy for my family, I began with the Gardner’s and the Coyle’s in New York City.
Colleen’s Family and Her Blog
Colleen’s family “loves” her blog. Her daughter, Alyssa, helped Colleen set up her blog and showed her how it works. Colleen’s children, her brothers, nephew, and several cousins (who live in New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin . . .) check in on a regular basis to find out what’s new. Colleen’s cousins check Facebook to see when she adds a new post and will then send comments through Facebook.
How Colleen Follows the Rest of Us
Colleen uses Google Reader to keep up with part of her blog reading. Currently, she also follows about a dozen blogs that are linked to her blog, checking them when a blogger posts something new. Colleen also checks in regularly with GeneaBloggers to discover new favorite blogs. “I learn a lot from seeing what others are doing and how they do it.”
Colleen’s Thoughts on Blogging
Colleen wanted a method to share her genealogical findings with her family. In the past she would send out family findings in Christmas newsletters or at their annual Independence Day Family barbeque. By creating and having a blog, Colleen realized she could “disburse” information much more quickly and easily.
When Colleen started her blog, her first hesitation was centered on the technology involved, “. . . Would I be able to make it work and keep it updated smoothly? My daughter, Alyssa, has a delightful blog, Vegtopia, where she shared Vegan recipes. She kindly helped me set up my blog and helps when I have those technical questions. Thanks, Alyssa!”
Colleen was also concerned if she could present her information in an organized manner so that people searching for the same ancestors could find their connections, “I hope I am doing that. I’m sure there is still room for improvement! I am still new at blogging. It is my hope that my blog will only improve with time. Be sure to check back and see what new ways I discover to keep us all connected and informed.”
Colleen’s blog title came about as follows, “. . . I should probably tell you the name of my blog has some deep connection to my family or some significance to American history but truly it just popped in my head!”
What Colleen Loves the Most About Genealogy
“My parents always had a very strong love of our country, perhaps because they lived through World War II. My brothers and I marched in our small town Memorial Day parades, wearing our Scout uniforms and proudly carrying the American flag. My mother loved reading about American History. Through my research, I can place my ancestors in that history: the Revolutionary War soldiers who helped at our country’s beginnings, the farmers and carpenters and wheel wrights who built the country with their strength, the other soldiers and sailors who kept us strong, the Irish immigrants who added laughter and fun, and the strong women who always held the families together in every generation. I can feel a connection to those strong women and hope I can live up to them.”
Colleen’s Time Capsule Message
“Keep a journal. Our lives are constantly sending us in new wonderful directions. Keep a journal, on paper or on your computer, to record how you feel about the events in your life, not just the big events but the everyday things you love or hate. It will be something the future will enjoy reading. It will be a way to span time and generations. Read my journals and learn how much we have in common.”
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Please take a moment and head on over to Colleen’s blog. Leave her a message letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Colleen, it’s great to have you here!
© 2011, 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.