I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Linda Huesca Tully and her blog, Many Branches, One Tree, described as, “. . . We are all connected in some way, like the many branches of a tree. This blog explores those branches, sharing family stories and information – both known and yet to be discovered – so we can meet the people behind the names and gain insights into our own lives. Many Branches, One Tree introduces the numerous dimensions of these branches, including the Huesca, Tully, Perrotin, Fay, McGinnis, Riney, Schiavon/Schiavone, Hoppin, Gaffney, and Makepeace families, among others.”
Linda was born in Chicago, Illinois and resides in the San Francisco bay area with her treasures, “My husband and our three grown children.”
How Linda Got Started in Genealogy
“I started in my teens. I was the kid who stayed behind at the dinner table while the others went out to play. Coming from a family of storytellers, I knew that after dinner was when the real conversation got going!
My mother always explained how the people in the stories were related to us. She’d draw pedigree charts for me on paper napkins, scrap paper – whatever was handy. She’d pass these around the table, and people would chime in with dates of birth, death, where people lived and what they did. Inevitably, someone would say, ‘You know, you ought to write that down.’ So I took that to heart, collecting those scraps of paper, photos, and other memorabilia. I also have corresponded with my relatives since I was young and saved their letters over the years, so there’s probably a bit of an archivist in me, too.
Having a journalistic side, I have always been curious about people – always looking for the who-what-why-when-how angles – and genealogy was sort of a natural outgrowth of that. I really can’t remember when I haven’t worked on genealogy – it’s about my flesh and blood, after all, so it’s my passion.”
Linda’s Thoughts on Blogging
“I had been thinking about starting a blog in June 2006 when a British couple, Don and Jennie Murray, contacted me through Ancestry.com about my family tree. It turned out Jennie and I were third cousins whose families lived an ocean apart and had lost touch over 100 years ago. Relatives on both sides had speculated about each other’s fate off and on ever since. We began a correspondence that led to our visiting each other, as we re-established close family ties and met many more cousins.
That’s when I knew this could be a powerful tool for sharing information – and for keeping it available for generations to come. I also wanted it to be a modern day ‘virtual’ dinner table, bringing people together to add and share information and connect with one another.”
Linda’s Favorite Blog Post(s)
“They’ve all been fun to write, because they give me an opportunity to put myself in my ancestors’ shoes. When you write about them, you kind of ‘become them’ for a while, you dream about them and find yourself wondering what obstacles they had, what they would have said or done. When I write about someone, I wish I could ask him or her, ‘What do you want me to know about you?’ That’s not to say that I hear voices or see them, but it does feel like we connect in some strange way. I’d like to think they’re pleased with this and that they’re guiding me through this process.
The posts I like best tend to be the ones I’ve worked on the hardest – the same ones that can’t seem to let me go until I’ve finished them.
A few that come to mind:
- My great-grandfather, Francisco Perrotin, died of yellow fever in Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico, in1899, leaving my great grandmother to raise their four young children. My ‘long-lost’ British cousins sent me the photograph in this post, which shows my great-grandparents holding my infant grandmother on her Baptism Day. The photo caused quite a lot of excitement in our family, as no one on this side of the Atlantic had ever seen it!
- My father-in-law, Welner “Bing” Tully, was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met – I am so grateful to him and my mother-in-law for giving me my wonderful (and very supportive) husband, Chuck.
- My maternal grandfather, Ralph Schiavon, was the quintessential immigrant success story. He worked on a loading dock and in a shoe factory as a young boy to help support his family, joined the U.S. Navy during World War I, and became a tax consultant with the IRS in Chicago, eventually turning down Al Capone’s request to ‘fix’ his taxes. This is one of a four part series about his life.
- Every list needs a romantic story, and this one, about how my parents got engaged after only a two-month courtship, should do the trick.
Currently, I’m writing a series on my mother and three of my relatives who were trapped on the roof of a building in one of the worst fires in Mexico City’s history. It’s a complex story, and I’ve done a lot of research and conducted several interviews in my quest to write an accurate and compelling story. An interesting thing happened several nights ago in the midst of writing. I was describing how my mother felt as she was waiting to be rescued when I began shaking, as if I was right there with her in that moment. I had to stop writing and made a pot of tea to steady myself! I hope to post the first episode this week but have to finish checking some facts.”
Linda’s Tips for New Bloggers
“Start wherever you are. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to acknowledge them or to ask for help. Someone out there may have the same questions or better yet, the answers. Remember we are works in progress, and so are our blogs. Let your ancestors tell their story – this can be very freeing, particularly when you feel too close to tell it yourself.”
How Genealogy Has Improved Linda’s Life
“Genealogy has blessed our family in many ways. It has shown our children who they are and how they relate to the world. It has taken our family places we never thought we’d go and introduced us to cousins, new and not-so-new. One of the big thrills of my life was standing side by side with my ‘new’ cousins Jennie Murray and Dorothy Stephens in front of the house our Irish great-great grandmother, Catherine (O’Grady) Perrotin, built in Ruardean, England after she left Mexico. We could almost feel her smiling down on us, as if she’d orchestrated our coming together…but that’s a story for another day!”
Linda’s Favorite Ancestor
“Ah . . . the impossible question! That’s like asking who is your favorite child . . . but I guess it’s whomever I am working on at the time. The more I research my stories, the more I learn and the closer I feel to them.
- First would have to be my parents, Gilbert and Joan (Schiavon) Huesca, because they taught me what it means to love and value and honor family. I owe who I am today to their love and example.
- My great-great grandparents, Francois and Catherine (O’Grady) Perrotin, have always captured my imagination because of their adventurous nature and their willingness to take risks in new places. He left Melle, France for America to escape the French draft while she came from Waterford, Ireland to escape poverty. They met and married in Shreveport, Louisiana, on the eve of the Civil War, moved to Mexico to work on the burgeoning railroad, and raised two children there.
- My husband’s great-great grandfather, Charles Hoppin, is another favorite. A member of an early American family from Rhode Island, he was mayor of Mobile, Alabama, survived a duel, served as a judge in Texas and a postmaster in New Mexico, brought stage coach commerce to New Mexico, and played a part in the Compromise of 1850, was part of a survey group to establish state borders between Texas and New Mexico.
- For some reason I always felt close to my great-grandfather, Thomas Eugene McGinnis, though he was born 100 years before me. He was orphaned as a toddler in New York. He moved with his brothers and sisters to be with relatives in Ontario, Canada, but ran away when he was still a boy. He went off to sea and sailed around the world several times, writing a book about his adventures before the mast before he returned home to settle down in Conneaut, Ohio. Years ago, I had the honor of transcribing his manuscript and then self-published his book for my family.”
What Linda Loves Most About Genealogy
“I love it when our children proudly explain our family tree to their friends. I love that they enjoy reading the stories about our family, especially when they ask for a sneak peek at something even before it’s posted. I love the creativity involved in solving mysteries and the thrill of watching a brick wall start to crumble, then come crashing down. And I love getting to write about the things that are nearest and dearest to my heart.”
Linda’s Time Capsule Message
“I loved you and cared about you and you mattered to me, whether you came before me, were part of my life, or were not even born yet. You are my reason for all the things I have ever done.
Remember that every human being has a purpose and a story. Everyone deserves to be loved, and no one wants to be forgotten. People’s stories are important; they should not fade away in time to become, as my mother once said, ‘just another name on a family tree, hanging precariously from some obscure branch.’
Don’t wait until it’s too late to talk to your relatives – especially the older ones. Take the time to listen now. Ask questions. Ask again. Write what you know and note where you got it. Years from now, you’ll be glad you did. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to write your own story today. What will it say about you tomorrow?”
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Please take a moment to head on over to Linda’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Linda, 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.