I have the pleasure of introducing you to Deborah Tomasetti Perham and her blog, A LIFETIME LEGACY State of Mind, described as, “. . . Connecting generations and preserving memories of the 20th and 21st centuries. Helping us better understand ourselves and others by learning about our family history: where we came from, WHO we came from, why we are who we are, why we do what we do, why we say what we say. It’s our legacy. Let’s pass it on.”
“I was born on Long Island and now split my time between Long Island and New York City. For the past 30+ years (until recently), I owned a court reporting agency. Court reporters are natural-born listeners, recording stories in the courtroom of people’s everyday lives and the difficulties they’ve encountered. In 2012 I decided it was time to move beyond the courtroom and into the living room, combining two of my passions: memorializing stories and family history. I reinvented myself as a personal historian helping other families’ research and preserve their own history. Jumping right in to the profession, I proudly serve as Secretary on the board of the Association of Personal Historians.”
How Deborah Got Started in Genealogy
“From the time I was a young child I have been fascinated by the lives of my ancestors, recording stories (initially on reel to reel tape recorder) and building our family tree long before I was familiar with ‘genealogy’ and ‘family history.’ General history (as taught in school) was painfully boring to me, but when I was able to attach myself to times and places in history, I viewed the world from a different vantage point. So began my trip through history.
All my maternal grandmother’s photographs were lost in a basement flood in the 1950s. To compensate for that loss, she told stories about her life, lots of stories. I got to know my maternal great grandmother (who passed away when my grandmother was only 8), I ‘knew’ my maternal great grandfather, my great great grandmother and grandfather. All these people passed away before I was born, and having gotten to know them through my grandma’s stories, I dearly love each of these long-gone relatives. That day in the 1950s when my grandmother lost all her photographs was the impetus to me passionately preserving our family history, and that event happened before I was even born.”
Deborah’s Thoughts on Blogging
“Since I’ve been working with families helping preserve their stories, my mind is overflowing with experiences, ideas, stories, all outside of my own personal stories. I started a blog to keep all these stories and experiences, everything I’ve learned, in neatly organized blog posts. I hope in my own humble way, through my blog, to inspire others to begin family history preservation.”
Deborah’s Favorite Blog Posts
“I’m a new blogger, not many posts . . . yet . . . but there are two favorites so far. Here are links to both . . . one is personal and one is personal with a lesson built in:
Personal with a lesson:
Spending Time with the Ancestors
“As with many passionate genealogists/family historians, I’m always on the lookout for new bits of information. I keep my eyes open, hoping to discover some jewel amongst the mountains of content now available to us on the Internet.”
Deborah’s Tips for New Bloggers
“Well, I’m new to blogging and can’t speak from experience. But I’ll pass along something my 18-year-old daughter, Julia (‘White Pearl City Girl’ blogger), told me just last evening. ‘Mom, when you write blog posts, write as though you’re telling someone a story. Don’t use words you wouldn’t ordinarily use, and don’t worry about what anyone thinks about what you’re writing. Be your sincere self. Write for yourself. People will either like it or not. And if they don’t like it, they won’t follow you. But if they like it, it’s an extra bonus. Just proof it, click Publish, and don’t look back.’ (18-year-olds can be very smart!!).”
How Genealogy Has Improved Deborah’s Life
“Having learned about my ancestors and their sacrifices, ‘genealogy’ has taught me to be thankful for all that I have. Every one of my ancestors has made it possible for me to sit here today surrounded by my family and loved ones. Although I cannot thank them personally, I live every day being the best person I can be, as a tribute to them for every breath they took to give me the life I have today.”
Deborah’s Favorite Ancestors
“My most favorite ancestor is my maternal grandmother’s maternal grandmother, Donata Barbera (my great great grandmother). I never got to know Donata but sure feel like I did. My maternal grandmother, Antoinette LaPreta, was so very dear to me, and she told story after story about her own grandmother. Grandma’s own mother passed away when my grandmother was only 8, so she was raised by her maternal grandmother, Donata. I was curious about this strong woman who left her country to come to America, and after losing a daughter, raised my grandmother to be the incredible woman I was fortunate to call ‘Grandma.’ If I could pop back in time for one day, I’d pick a day in the 1890’s when I could meet Donata.”
What Deborah Loves Most About Genealogy
“For each person I learn about on my own tree and particularly those on the trees of people who I assist in their search, I feel gratified knowing I’ve helped descendants learn who they are and how they got here, that we should all strive to live a good life for our descendants, the way our ancestors did for us. Our ancestors’ efforts on our behalf may not have been intentional, but their very being was paramount to creating the people we are today.”
Deborah’s Time Capsule Message
“We lived our life as best we knew how. (Please do the same.) We hope you are proud of us.
Print and digitize your photographs, label them with names, dates, short stories, and complete your census whenever it’s time to. Your descendants will want to know!!”
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Please take a moment to head on over to Deborah’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Deborah, it’s great to have you here!
© 2013, 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.