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May I Introduce To You . . . Emily Kowalski Schroeder

Emily Kowalski Schroeder

Emily Kowalski Schroeder

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Emily Kowalski Schroeder and her blogs, The Spiraling Chains, described as, “. . . The Spiraling Chains chronicles both my and my husband’s Ohio ancestors. My husband is descended from 19th century German and French Catholic farming immigrants who settled in rural western Ohio.  My ancestors were Polish, Italian, and Croatian blue-collar immigrants who came over during Cleveland’s industrial boom in the early 20th century.  I also write about tools, resources, and methods that have helped me in my own research process, in the hopes that they will help someone else as well.”

Emily also manages an additional blog, Growing Little Leaves, described as, “. . . Growing Little Leaves is dedicated to sharing activities, projects, books, and films helpful in introducing young children to family history vocabulary and concepts.”

A Little About Emily

“I grew up in Parma, Ohio and I currently reside in Brownsburg, Indiana.  Growing up, I was a big weather junkie, and I have two university degrees in meteorology.  Right now, I am a stay-at-home mom to two young children, ages six and three.  My husband is also a meteorologist, and we’ve been married almost ten years.”

How Emily Got Started in Genealogy

“I began researching in earnest in 2010, shortly after my second child was born.  The area in which I was raised was home to people with a wide range of European nationalities.  Most of my classmates had at least one parent or grandparent with direct ties to the ‘Old Country,’ so knowing where we came from was always second-nature to us.   However, my interest in active and thorough genealogical research was sparked by the TV show Who Do You Think You Are?  (It’s so cliché to say, but it’s true!).”

Emily’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my genealogy website and blog in 2012.  I actually first just created a website as a way for family members to easily access all of the documents and photos I had been collecting.  But there was so much information, I wanted a way in which to highlight one or two things at a time so my relatives wouldn’t be so overwhelmed.  I started the blog so that I could depict our ancestors’ lives as more of a story instead of just a list of documents.

I recently started my Growing Little Leaves blog because I am developing ways to get my own children interested in family history.  I wanted to share our projects and activities in the hopes that others’ will encourage the kids in their lives to learn more about family history, too.”

Emily’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Don’t worry about writing about what you think other people want to read.  Write about what and who interests YOU. Write to help yourself understand your research better.  Write truthfully, but compassionately about your ancestors to honor their lives, even though those lives may not have been perfect.”

Emily’s Favorite Blog Posts

Creating a Family History Wall

Visiting Ancestral Places…From Your Living Room

Jesse Owens and…My Grandpa

Emily’s Time with the Ancestors

“In a typical week, I probably only get maybe 2-3 hours a week at the most to research.  Life these days is full of homework-helping, gymnastics classes, and soccer practices.  I’ve learned to organize well so that I don’t waste time figuring out where I left off.  My mantra has become, ‘My ancestors aren’t going anywhere, but my kids won’t be kids forever.’”

Emily’s Favorite Ancestor

“My maternal grandmother, Dina Licciardi Bellan emigrated from Italy when she was about six years old and served in the U.S. Coast Guard SPARS during World War II.  She served as my confirmation sponsor and she lived with our family for a couple of years when I was a teenager.  She shared my love of books and reading; I would be the only teenager in the library’s large-print section, because she would ask me to bring her a few books back home.  She was also a good cook, and very sociable and outgoing around other people, two qualities that, to this day, I am still envious of and wish I could do better at.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Emily’s Life

“Going from being a full-time scientist to a stay-at-home mom was difficult for me; I had no outlet for using my analytical and critical thinking skills that I had developed over the years.  Genealogy has helped me keep my brain sharp.  It’s also been great to meet and interact with other family history researchers online and at seminars and conferences.”

What Emily Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love being able to find and share information with other family members to help them learn about and appreciate their ancestry.  It’s been great to hear my parents, aunts, uncles, and in-laws talk more about their parents and grandparents and what it was like growing up.”

Emily’s Time Capsule Message

“Keep the art of storytelling alive. No matter how many documents or photos we collect on a person, they still can’t tell the entire story of a person’s life.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Emily’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Emily, it’s great to have you here!

© 2014, 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.

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