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May I Introduce to You . . . Devon Lee

Come meet genealogy blogger Devon Lee, author of A Patient Genealogist, in this interview by Jana Last at GeneaBloggers.

Come meet genealogy blogger Devon Lee, author of A Patient Genealogist, in this interview by Jana Last at GeneaBloggers.

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Devon Lee and her blog, A Patient Genealogist described as, “Searching and Sharing So They Will Know” is the motto of my family history blog. I share my stories of my ancestors along with research successes and failures. You’ll also find tips on photographing your memorabilia (from an amateur’s perspective) and tips to preserve memories in scrapbooks.”

A Little About Devon

“Though I wasn’t born here, I learned to talk, walk and chew gum in Texas. Therefore, I’m a Texan. After the birth of my second child, my husband and I moved to upstate New York, South Carolina, and Iowa. We recently moved back to the Lone Star State and I’ve learned that you can go home again, depending upon how you define ‘home’. I couldn’t be happier.”

How Devon Got Started in Genealogy

“The better question is how I became hooked on family history. When my dad’s parents died, family feuding caused the most important treasures to be lost… the photos and documents. Grandma Geiszler had loved telling family stories the few times I was able to visit and was truly her treasure.”

“From that moment on, I knew that I couldn’t wait until I had more time to preserve memories. If I did, more and more history would be lost. My father passed away after my second child was born. As I was driving to Ohio for a surprise trip, my sole surviving Geiszler ancestor died and I had lost the opportunity to ask her more about the stories she had recently shared.  Most recently, my last living grandmother and my mother died as book ends to 2012. In short, there is really no one left to tell me the stories of my ancestors.”

“Waiting until ‘the time is right’ to do family history. I’m glad I had started 20 years ago as church youth project. Once technology made ‘pajama genealogy’ possible, my activity level and research successes have increased.”

Devon’s Thoughts on Blogging

“9 December 2010 I started my blog with the first post entitled Family History: Patience Essential. I think this paragraph highlights the whole reason I named my blog what I did:

“The lesson to learn is that genealogy and family history takes patience. Patience in waiting for a response to inquiries. Patience as you wait for the contact with the family history to compile their work. Patience as you wait for your copy of the work. And patience as you wait for documents and photos in a format you can use in your research projects.”

“Ironically, I’m not a patient person. The blog title isn’t so much to tell others to be patient. It’s really to constantly tell myself!”

“I originally started the blog as a way to share my research findings with my mother who lived in Texas while I lived in Iowa. When she passed away in December 2012, I didn’t have my muse anymore. I then realized something and wrote this post about it: Thankful Thursday: Followers Have Become My New Muse.”

“My followers and those I’ve inspired keep me going. Many people have been inspired to do something with regards to family history: be it labeling their photographs, photographing their artifacts, climbing their family tree using sources, or turning memories into scrapbooks. I love receiving emails, phone calls, and Facebook messages from friends and readers who have had success with genealogy and wanted to share it with me. They share because I’m probably the only one they know who would appreciate it. All of this works together to keep me going when it’s hard to remember the motto I mentioned earlier: “Searching and sharing so they will know.”

Devon’s Tips for New Bloggers

“You have a voice, use it. Sure there are a lot of family history related blogs online. So what!?! Share the parts of family history that make you giddy. Share the lessons you’ve learned (including mistakes) so others can benefit from your experience. Share the stories you desperately want your family to know and remember. Don’t try to copy anyone else. Just be you.”

“Also, don’t worry if your followers are few at first. Be patient. Either you’ll be found, or you’ll find ways to promote yourself (if you wish).”

Devon’s Favorite Blog Posts

“After 500+ posts, it’s hard to pick one, so I’ll offer four based on categories:

Devon’s Time with the Ancestors

“I research whenever the mood strikes and time is available. This could be 10 minutes a day, it could be more. It all depends upon what’s happening in the household my 5 home schooled children. They are the priority.”

“My philosophy is that it’s better to preserve memories a little at a time, like dropping oil in a lamp. Over time, those little drops can really add up. In addition to preserving the memories of today, I preserve as much of the stories from the past. In time, I’ll seek to research further up my family trees when time and money allows.”

Devon’s Favorite Ancestors

“Do people really have favorites? I mean seriously? I have folks I would want to meet and questions I want to ask them, but I don’t have any favorites per se.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Devon’s Life

“Family history has taught me patience! (Ironic, isn’t it?) Seriously, learning about the struggles, triumphs, and failures of my various family members has taught me to be patient with myself and with others. I still have a long way to go, but I think my ancestors are helping me out.”

What Devon Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love sharing the history. I love photographing the stuff and recording the stories behind them. I love making heritage scrapbooks that my family members not only want to read, but they want a copy of their own. I love sharing stories with my children about myself and my ancestors. Finally, I like how I can inspire others to do something that will benefit their own family’s history preservation efforts.”

Devon’s Genealogy Bucket List

“Hmmm… with the release of my third book, 21st Century Family Historian, I’d love to speak at a major conference to inspire genealogical burnt out or the “I hate Genealogy” crowd to do something to preserve their personal and family history. When we understand the heart of this work, we will do something, no matter how small, to contribute to the efforts of preserving and sharing the story of our family.”

Devon’s Time Capsule Message

“Everyone has a story but only some folks take the time to record them. Turn your heart to your family members (past, present, and future), then go and do something so your story is preserved.”

An Additional Message from Devon

“Somehow after 17 days of knowing him, my husband and I became engaged and have been together ever since! We love Texas A&M Football, BBQ, and Kolaches. The best dates we have are usually spent at home talking and relaxing. My husband and my kids encouraged me to write my first two books which focus on sharing family history through scrapbooking:

  • Power Scrapbooking: Get Caught Up, No Matter Your Style
  • Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps

“After speaking at a few conferences and inspiring friends and family, my third book 21st Century Family Historian was written to breathe new life into those who have done genealogy and have burnt out or encourage and challenge those feeling guilty for not doing something yet. I could not have written these books with out my 6 biggest fans in my home and my ancestors who have departed this world.”

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Please take a moment to head over to Devon’s blog, A Patient Genealogist, and leave her a comment, letting her know you stopped by. Thank you Devon for telling us about yourself and your blog. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.

© 2014, copyright Jana Last. All rights reserved.

Jana Last is a wife, mom and grandma living in sunny California. She loves family history and enjoys learning about her ancestors. She started her family history research in 1996 after the death of her maternal grandfather. She is the author of three blogs: Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, Grandpa’s Postcards, and Jana’s Place.  Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . .” series? If so, contact Jana via email at jmlast61@gmail.com.

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