May I Introduce To You . . . Niall McMahon

niall mcmahon

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Niall McMahon and his blog, Niall McMahon, described as, “. . . Blog post about three main interests of mine – web development, music and genealogy.”

Niall currently resides in Guildford,Surrey,England.

How Niall Got Started in Genealogy

“I’m pretty sure I was given a family tree school project back in 2005, but after completing it, I didn’t really pursue the subject much further. I picked it up seriously a couple of years later and it soon developed from a hobby into a major passion. I don’t fit the stereotypical genealogist image – I’m only 23.

I think it was just wanting to know more about my family; I never knew one set of my grandparents and the other set died when I was 8. Both my parents were born when their parents were fairly old, so by the time I was interested in finding out more, sadly the older generations of family members just weren’t around anymore.”

Niall’s Thoughts on Creating a Blog

“I have always had a website showcasing my portfolio (I’m a web developer when I’m not researching my family history), but in August 2011, I re-launched my website to include my other two passions – music and genealogy. I had always wanted to start a blog and these three subjects give me enough material to post about. The GeneaBloggers Daily Blogging Prompts are great for helping when I can’t think of something to post.”

Niall’s Favorite Blog Post

“I wrote an article in October 2011 titled ‘A family legend of illegitimacy and landed gentry ancestors.’ It’s about a family legend that was told to my mother by her mother, about an ancestor who had an illegitimate child with a landed gentleman. I haven’t been able to prove the legend completely, but a lot of what I have found out definitely matches up with what was passed down. It’s the kind of story that would appear on an episode of Downton Abbey!”

Niall’s Tips for New Genealogy Bloggers

“Quality over quantity. You don’t have to post every day, spending time on your articles is worth the effort. Make sure your post is interesting to read; include photos and documents and reply to any comments you get. It’s good to get your blog out there to as many people as possible and social media is a great way to do so; get a Twitter account and follow fellow genealogists and bloggers, tweet them links to your articles. The Ancestry page on Facebook is another great community, and is a great place to share articles and get feedback. The community on there really helps out each other a lot – if you get stuck with your research, trying posting your problem on there. Try to help others out too, though!”

Niall’s Favorite Ancestor

“Probably my maternal 5x-great-grandfather, Thomas Collingwood. He was born in 1751 near Berwick-upon-Tweed, right on the England/Scotland border. He was a very successful doctor and surgeon in Sunderland (inDurham,England) in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was very academic, and wrote a number of essays, books and even a play during his lifetime. I managed to find an obituary for him published in a gentleman’s magazine that was over 7 pages long. His ancestry can be traced back to Lords and Knights of Northumberland, all the way back to the 14th century! Although I have lots of interesting characters in my family, Thomas and his family certainly make a change from all the farmers and coal miners that make up most of my tree!”

 How Genealogy Improved Niall’s Life

“I have got in contact with a lot of cousins, and stayed in touch with them. I’ve even met up with some. We also hold family gatherings at least twice a year for the Irish side of my family, many of whom live in England, and even a few who come over from Ireland (there are plenty of them!). I certainly now realize how important family is, and I have got to know a lot of family members that I wasn’t lucky enough to meet.”

 What Niall’s Loves Most About Genealogy

“It’s the thrill of finding out interesting things about your ancestors. I honestly think that finding scandals or skeletons in closets makes for exciting research and shouldn’t be something hidden away. I love tracking down living cousins who have themselves been passed down information or photos that you didn’t know of. It’s great finally seeing the face of an ancestor who you feel you know so well.”

Niall’s Time Capsule Message

“Talk to your family members. If you have your grandparents – or if you’re lucky enough, your great-grandparents – then speak and spend time with them as much as you can; before you know it, they won’t be around, and all the information they have could die with them. Keep hold of family heirlooms and keepsakes. Keep printed copies of photos and/or backup your digital photos in a safe place; hardware can go wrong too!”

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

© 2012, 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.

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