I have the pleasure of introducing you to Heather Collins and her blogs, OF TREES & INK and Young & Savvy Genealogists . Her personal blog, OF TREES & INK, is described as, “where I share and preserve my own family stories and research experiences.”
A Little About Heather
“I was born and raised on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. I currently live with my husband and a very spoiled cat in Boise, Idaho.”
How Heather Got Started in Genealogy
“I’ve been doing genealogy for more than ten years. I’ve kept a diary since I was 12 years old. I scribbled my first pedigree chart in the back of a spiral bound notebook covered in stickers, which I still have. I grew up on the Mason Dixon line in one of the oldest cities in Maryland. We often went to Baltimore to visit with family. We took day trips to historic Philadelphia or Washington D.C. Two of my great grandmothers were alive for most of my childhood, and both of my grandmothers are still living. No matter where I went, I was constantly surrounded by history. History was in the air that I breathed for so long, it simply became a part of me.”
Heather’s Thoughts on Blogging
“Of Trees & Ink was born in spring 2011 because I was going to live overseas in Brazil for 18 months. I was going to have limited contact with my family, and I wasn’t going to be in a position to do genealogy until I came back to the States. I knew I was going to miss my family and doing genealogy, and blogging gave me a way to slowly detach from my research. I picked up where I left off after I came home in late 2012.”
Heather’s Tips for New Bloggers
“For someone doing a personal family history blog like Of Trees & Ink, the most common pitfall is to be ordinary. Don’t do the same thing everyone else is doing. Even if your story is similar to that of other people, find a new way to tell it. Be a character in the stories you tell, not just the narrator. People love to read about new discovery. They love to get inside your head, to find new ideas in your approach. Achieving a good balance between the stories I want to preserve and the methods I used has always been really important to me.”
“I would also say to avoid the bandwagon topics. If you aren’t starting the trend or blowing the first whistle on the controversy, your voice gets lost in the crowd all saying the exact same thing you are. Ask yourself, “Am I only writing about this because other people are doing it? Or do I genuinely care about this? Why do I care? Is there anything new I can say? Are people tired of hearing about this already?” I’ve scrapped a lot of posts because of these questions, and every single one of them deserved it.”
Heather’s Favorite Blog Posts
“I love this post because I love this story. Annie was one of my longest standing “brick walls,” so anything to do with her always gets me excited. I only know this story because of Pomp’s autograph album, which easily makes it one of my favorite finds. Pomp and Annie Fenity loved each other dearly, and Annie died tragically young. He spent the rest of his life living without her, and I imagine that he missed her every day. Seeing their handwritten love notes from their courtship is something I will always treasure.”
“This post also represents many years of patient, persistent work. My grandmother grew up in a foster home, and told me very little about her birth family. She gave me very incomplete information about her mother, which were the only clues I ever had. She finally let slip that her mother was buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, which ended up being the key to the mystery. I added 4 generations to my tree in less than a week after that, which I couldn’t have done without my husband’s help and support. I love that his part is visible in this post.”
Heather’s Favorite Ancestors
“I can’t have favorites, I love them all for their own unique story. I love Annie Rorer Fenity because I waited and wished so long to meet her, and was overjoyed the first time I saw her picture. I love Charles Pinheiro because he was the secret I was never supposed to find out. I love Pearl Bartlett for being a survivor. And I love Violet Greene for making the hardest choices, many of which have shaped my life today. The more I learn about each of them, the more I love them all for who they were.”
What Heather Loves Most About Genealogy
“I love the way it has allowed me to connect and reconnect with the older generation in my family. All my life I’ve been surrounded by incredible women, and genealogy gives me something of substance to share with them, to give to them. It has brought us closer in a way I don’t think anything else ever could.”
Heather’s Genealogy Bucket List
- Visit Halifax, Nova Scotia and lay a rose on the grave of Charles Pinheiro.
- Find a missing relative using my DNA test.
- Find the emancipation documents of one of my slave ancestors.
- Meet/speak to another descendant from my Barbadian lines.
- Discover where my Doyle ancestors came from in Ireland.
- Write my great grandmother’s memoir.
Heather’s Time Capsule Message
“Life is beautiful. Life is simple. Life goes on.”
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Please take a moment to head over to Heather’s blog, OF TREES & INK, and leave her a comment, letting her know you stopped by. Thank you Heather for telling us about yourself and your blog. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.
© 2015, 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 and a website: Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, Grandpa’s Postcards, Jana’s Place and Jana’s Genealogy and Social Media Hub. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.