May I Introduce To You . . . Diane Hewson

Diane Hewson

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Diane Hewson and her blog, The Other Half of My Tree – stories of my female ancestors, described as, “. . . This blog tells the stories of the women in my family tree.”

Diane manages an additional blog, Family Stories: Photographs and Memories, described as, “. . . This is a more general blog in which I write about my researching experiences, share some tips I have found useful and of course share some photos and memories connected to our family history.”

Diane was born in New South Wales, outback town of Broken Hill. She currently lives in Australia.

How Diane Got Started in Genealogy

“I have been interested in our family stories/history since I was a little girl. However, I didn’t start seriously researching until my early twenties. (That would mean I have been collecting family bits and pieces for about 38 years – now that makes me feel old).   It was so much harder finding information back then!

Once my children started school, and I re-joined the workforce, my research took a back seat.  However, if I did come across anything of interest, I filed it into the collection of boxes in our garage for later.  Then in 2000 my husband and I moved to Sydney, our children had moved on to University and other things. I now had time to pull out the dusty boxes and start going through them again.  To my delight there had been a complete revolution in the world of genealogy with access to data on line.

Since then, with little breaks for some study at Uni, I have been making a serious effort to collect the stories of our families, (my husbands and mine).

I think I have always been interested in family stories.  I loved to hear the stories my parents told about their parents and other family members as a young girl.  My Dad was especially good at telling stories with lots of colour and excitement, (often about the mischief he would get when he was a teenager).

About the time I started to take it more seriously my father’s sister Nancy had also started collecting and recording the family history, we worked together sharing our discoveries, pictures and documents.  I even attended a couple of family reunions with her.

Another person who really influenced me was my husband’s great Aunt, who lived until she was 100 and who had collected family memorabilia for years. (Lots of other things as well).  She had a wonderful collection of old photos and letters and was very excited to find another family member (even if she was a Kapok member) who shared her love of ‘all things past’.  I was extremely lucky that she approved of my family research as she gave me quite a bit of her collection for safe keeping.

It is funny, though I am labeled the family tree geek by my relatives; they are quick to consult with me if there is some dates that need clarifying. I am sure a lot of family tree researchers have experienced the same thing.”

Diane’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I had created a couple of travel blogs, one for a trip to Nepal and another when I lived in Mexico for 6 months while completing a Masters in International Studies.  I found it a great way to share my experience and photos with family and friends.  I enjoyed doing this so much that at the beginning of last year I decided to start blogging about my genealogy research, with the aim of sharing my experiences and some family stories.”

Diane’s Favorite Blog Post

“My favorite blog would have to be the last blog that I wrote on my grandmother, Christina Lee.  I think the main reason for this was that it was a written from a personal experience and my memories of her, whereas a lot of my other blogs are written from information I have gathered from certificates, letters and newspapers.”

Diane’s Tips for New Genealogy Blogs

“Well, I wouldn’t say that I am an experienced genealogy blogger.  However, I do think it is important to write stories on what you know and are familiar with and to make the stories interesting, not just a jumble of dates and names.

Also, I believe it is important to engage with the blogging community.  Reading other blogs is very rewarding and provides you with ideas and insights for your own blog.  It is nice to take the time to comment on other blogs and always acknowledge those who take the time to read and comment on your work.”

How Genealogy Improved Diane’s Life

“My family would have a little groan at this question as they recall the times they have tramped through old cemeteries with me taking photos of gravestones or stopping in at small town museums to check out their local publications.  Also there is, our spare room, with the bookshelf full of files marked Birth, Deaths, Marriages, Newspapers etc., as well as quite a number of photo boxes. Seriously though, I have gained a lot from genealogy, a sense of where I came from and an appreciation of the times that our ancestors lived in.  And it goes without saying; one of the biggest benefits is the connection with other family members and researchers.”

Diane’s Favorite Ancestors

“My favourite ancestor would have to be Elizabeth Rushworth.  She is my husband’s great great grandmother.  She was a home nurse and caregiver, for many years, in times when community nurses hadn’t been thought of. Even though she had 16 children of her own, she found time to train as a St. John Ambulance nurse and treat a wide variety of illnesses in her community.

I have been lucky enough to inherit a notebook which outlines a history of all the people she cared for, the doctors she worked with and some family history. I have written 5 blogs on Elizabeth and would really like to write a book on her story sometime. This is the last blog: Sunday’s Obituary – Elizabeth Taylor (Rushworth) – Part 5.”

What Diane Loves Most About Genealogy

“What do I enjoy the most?  I guess it would be the piecing together the pieces of the puzzle.  I love gathering all the information I have on a person and chasing up leads to find out more about them and their way of life.

I also really enjoy the interaction with other researchers.  There are a number of people who I have been sharing information with for quite a number of years. An example of this is a small group of family members that are researching the Rushworth/Taylor family in Lancashire.  About four years ago, three family members connected at about the same time and we started sharing all the information that we had, then over the last couple of years a couple more researchers have contacted us and joined the group.  Every now and then there is a flurry of emails when one of us finds some new information.”

Diane’s Time Capsule Message

“A message for the future generation! Mmm!  I think it is important to have an awareness of where you came from.  Hopefully the future generation will be interested in those who came before them.”

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

 

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