I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Jen Baldwin and her blog, Ancestral Breezes, described as, “. . . Discussions on genealogy methods, trends and particular interests, utilizing examples from both my personal and professional research. Genealogy in the High Country of Colorado; with an emphasis on gold rush miner’s, fraternal societies and other related topics.”
“I was born and raised in Enumclaw, and if you know where that is, you are a step ahead of most. I have been a small town girl all my life, and have spent many years exploring the western United States. I have lived and researched in Washington, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, reveling in dusty basements, unexplored Courthouses and being ‘bear aware’ in cemeteries.”
How Jen Got Started in Genealogy
“I have been researching my family actively since 2000, but took my first notes when I was eight years old. I have been engaged in the business of genealogy since 2011.
The very first day was an interview conducted in order to complete the obligatory elementary school family history project. Having always been a fan of puzzles, it felt very natural many years later to do some initial digging into some letters found in their home after they passed away. The letters, remnants of the Civil War, were written by a set of brothers, who I shortly was able to identify as my 2nd great grandmother’s brothers. I have been hooked ever since.”
Jen’s Thoughts on Blogging
“I started my blog in 2011, for a variety of reasons. I wanted to document what I had found in my research so far, I wanted to find an audience for my interests, I wanted to work towards a professional reputation. The blogging format has allowed me to do all of that and more. I soon found that it fit my lifestyle quite well, and I now write for multiple blogs.
One thing that I have enjoyed immensely, and is a direct result of joining the GeneaBloggers community, is the social media channels that are available to us all. We have such wonderful platforms to connect with each other, engage in conversation, learn from each other and even to have debates. It is mind blowing to think how far we have come in the past few years, and I cannot wait to see how far we will go in my lifetime. How incredible is it to be able to have casual, spontaneous conversations with genealogists from around the globe?”
Jen’s Tips for New Bloggers
“Take the time to investigate several different platforms for your blog before you get going. Get the feel for the various options before you start writing, so you can identify what you need and what works for you. Secondly, stop reading articles on ‘how’ to blog, and just start doing it. Yes, there are best practices in blogging, just like with anything else; but blogging is personal for most of us. It has to come from you, from your soul. Only you can find your best method and style. Have fun, be creative, write about whatever you want, and remember your #1 reader in all things: You.”
Jen’s Favorite Blog Posts
“I do not think I could pinpoint one exact post to say is my favorite, but I do have two favorite series! The first was a set of posts I did on Robert and Anna Hamilton, residents of Breckenridge, Colorado. A lot of questions still exist about these two, and I have not given up the search just yet, but it was a fun series to write. I also am really enjoying my current series on Fraternal Societies in Genealogy; the who, what, when, where, why and how of conducting research into these sometimes mysterious organizations.”
Jen’s Time with the Ancestors
“Not as much as I would like. Choosing to do genealogy professionally does not allow for a great deal of time for personal research, partly because there are so many other elements of your small business that require your time and energy. However, I would estimate that I spend about 40% of my time conducting research for one project or another. I am lucky in that almost all of the material I seek out has some impact on my professional niche or personal interests, so even when I am preparing a new lecture, I am still in some capacity, researching something that I enjoy.”
Jen’s Favorite Ancestor
“Oscar F. Brown (1832-1906). Oscar is my 2nd great grandfather, brother in law to the aforementioned Civil War veterans. Oscar has been at the top of my research list as long as I have been actively researching, and he is still right there, in his usual place! I enjoy working on his story because he is challenging and he forces me to find creative and unique ways to get to a possible answer, solution, or even to another question. I have already accumulated a great deal about his life, but I do not think I will ever tire of researching Oscar.”
How Genealogy Has Improved Jen’s Life
“Too many to list here! What an incredible adventure we have all decided to go on! I have made lifelong friends, I have explored unique stories from my personal history as well as our collective history, I have learned a great deal. I have had the opportunity to be closer to my immediate family, especially my parents, by connecting with them through this process. I have traveled, visited some incredible places. I have gained an entire community through social media and blogging.”
What Jen Loves Most About Genealogy
“Solving the puzzle, by first trying to find all the pieces. I love mixing together the social history, the specific facts about my ancestors, and the elements of science that all come together to create moments in time. It is a challenge and a joy.”
Please take a moment to head on over to Jen’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Jen, 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.