I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Michelle Ganus Taggart and her blog, A Southern Sleuth, described as, “. . . In this blog, I share the stories I uncover as I research my ancestors in the Southern States, primarily North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and even “Southern” Colorado. Surnames include Rainwater, Faucett, Gurganus, Ganus, McCluskey, Roberts, Swain, Lanier and others.” Michelle currently resides in Utah.
How Michelle Got Started in Genealogy
Michelle “dabbled” in genealogy a little back when she was in college in a historical writing course, but began to actively do research about 17 years ago.
“I think the seed was planted many years ago when I was just a young girl. My maternal grandmother had a passion for genealogy and had a skill for telling stories. I have vivid memories of her telling stories about our ancestors in a way that made them live. But college followed by raising a family took priority for years. Then about 17 years ago I decided to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City along with my parents. I had been told by others that had tried to research my father’s line that everything had been burned and it was impossible to go back beyond my second great grandfather, which was just enough to make me want to see what I could find. I was hooked from that very first visit.”
Michelle’s Thoughts on Blogging
“I am a relative newcomer to the blogging world, having just started my blog in August 2012. I have followed various blogs over the years, but I really had not considered starting one myself. At the same time, I began to feel really selfish about the fact that in the process of doing research, I was uncovering the stories of my ancestors’ lives and had not found a way to share those stories. I kept thinking in the back of my mind that I should write a book and yet I felt very intimidated by that thought. Meanwhile, our son got a degree in Digital Media and offered to help me to create a website and encouraged me to share my stories. Writing one post at a time has made sharing these stories do-able.”
Michelle’s Favorite Blog Post
“That’s a hard question because a lot of my posts are about a story very close to my heart. One of my favorites however is ‘Write Soon Please.’
I found a postcard with a tender message on it among my grandmother’s papers and had no idea who the card was from. It opened the door for me to find my great grandfather’s first wife and the daughter from that marriage that no one in my family knew had existed.”
Michelle’s Tips for New Genealogy Bloggers
“I know I’ve read it many times before, but I think we all have to find our own voice. While there is so much to learn from other genealogy bloggers, I think we all have to find our own style and our own voice and not feel pressure to try and imitate everyone else. When we make our blog our own, it’s fun.”
How Genealogy Improved Michelle’s Life
“Genealogy has taught me so much. It has taught me about the strength of the human spirit and that truly everyone’s life impacts not only those that they encounter day to day, but those that will follow. I’ve been stunned by some of the tragedies that I have uncovered in my ancestor’s lives and it has helped me as I have encountered my own trials to know that everyone in each generation has difficulties, but we can get through them.
It has also taught me about the goodness of so many people living today as I have worked with people from literally all over the world. There are so many wonderful people willing to share of their knowledge, time and experience to help others.”
Michelle’s Favorite Ancestor
“I think it is easy to feel closest to those we know the most about. My 2nd great grandfather’s life was so varied and I have loved learning about him. John Monroe Ganus was born in 1826 in Georgia and during his lifetime moved to Alabama, then Arkansas, back to Georgia and then onto Colorado and Oklahoma, where he died on April 9th, 1906. I’ve found him in so many varied sources from court records, land records, tax digests, church records, friends’ journals and on a Colorado map that showed the location of his house. While he never had a lot in terms of material possessions, he showed a strength and determination that carried him through difficult times.”
What Michelle Loves Most About Genealogy
“I love the way I feel when I work on my genealogy. I also love the way that it binds the generation. I feel closer to those that are long dead and I love being able to share those stories with my family today. I also love finding cousins that I didn’t know and having them be part of my life.
I also love the opportunity for learning and growth as well. I take courses, attend webinars and conferences whenever I can and love the ever continuing opportunity to learn more. I have learned so much from the instructors as well as the many new friends I have made along the way.”
Michelle’s Time Capsule Message
“Finding out about our ancestors really helps us to find out about ourselves as their life choices influence the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Researching our genealogy is worth our time and effort and similarly, taking time to record our own life is a gift to those that follow.”
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Please take a moment to head on over to Michelle’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Michelle, 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.