I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Stephanie Pitcher Fishman and her blog, Corn and Cotton, described as, “’. . . Genealogy and family stories from both sides of the Mason-Dixon’ my life is full of situations where I represent both sides of the coin. I’m North and South. I have abolitionists and, though I haven’t found them yet, most likely slave owners. I have German genealogy to research which contrasts the Jewish genealogy of my husband.”
How Stephanie Got Started in Genealogy
Stephanie lived half her life in Atlanta,Georgiaand inColumbus,Ohiofor the other half, “Both feel like home to me. That said,Ohio is ‘home now’ whileGeorgiais where I think of when I say that I’m ‘going home.’
I started researching in 1998, and I can’t believe that it still feels as fresh as day one sometimes!
My journey into family history started when I was looking for an activity to do with my cotton Granny, Cortez Bullington Flowers. Little did I know that she was in the beginning states of dementia. The project that started as a time killer grew into one that created memories that I would soon cherish. It saved names and places that we may have lost with her a few years later. It’s become a connection to her and to the family that I either wasn’t able to meet or wasn’t able to spend as much time with as I would have liked. Genealogy is my link to the relationships that I treasure.”
Stephanie’s Family and Her Blog
“They love it, but I doubt that they read it! Every now and again I will mention a sister in a post to see if she catches it, or I will drop a hint or story into a blog post that would catch my mother’s eye if she read it. Sometimes they do, and others take months to be located! I blog for me and for the potential relatives and/or friends that I will meet online. Any family participation I receive is simply a bonus.
Thankfully I have some loyal readers who follow me through various means. I do try to share my links through Twitter (@cornandcotton) as well as Facebook (facebook.com/cornandcotton) because in today’s busy routines I know that sometimes I rely on the reminder of a post within social media. I assume that others are just as I am!”
How Stephanie Follows the Rest of Us
“I love using Google Reader through my Flipboard application on my iPad. Typically that is how I keep up with blogs and websites. It allows me to follow those I’ve added to my reader as well as any that I have added through Flipboards’s own search feature. I can tweet and post links as well as comments from one place which makes it much easier for me.”
How many blogs does Stephanie follow on a typical day, “It truly varies depending on the day or week. I have over 100 in my Google Reader, though I tend to be a marathon reader. I will follow my closest friends and local researchers on a regular basis and then power through large majority of the other blogs on the weekends. I like to sit and read several posts at a time. I just love collecting links to good blogs. Now, I need to get better at commenting on them!”
Stephanie does use her email to stay on top of her favorite blogs, “Such as The Arm Chair Genealogist, that I receive via email. I reserve this function for the must-have blogs that I follow. I try to limit it to only five email-subscribed blogs at one time. That said, I love subscribing to comment feeds via email.”
Stephanie’s Thoughts on Blogging
“I’ve blogged in the past on subjects such as homeschooling and arts/crafts. I was determined that I wouldn’t fall victim to the heavy empty-nest identity crisis that so many of my homeschooling mom friends have gone through when their kids head to college. As a homeschooler, we literally lose our jobs when children grow up and move on. It was natural for me to think of blogging because I loved it so much in the past, and genealogy was being more and more a force in my life. The two came together at the right moment!
I think that my biggest fear was the same as everyone else . . . Will anyone read what I write? My fears now run more along wondering if I will run out of ideas, and I do at times.
From the beginning I have struggled with the issue of transparency. There are some stories that long to be told but could be upsetting to various family members of my extended family. I continually try to assess the information that I share and evaluate if I am doing it in a tactful way. I don’t ever want my words to be a source of pain for someone.”
How Stephanie created her blog title, “It truly stems from the image that I have of my family. One line grew up among the cornfields ofOhioand roaming through the lands ofNew England. Another is deeply rooted in the cotton fields growing in redGeorgiaclay and proud of it.”
What Stephanie Loves Most About Genealogy
“I adore the stories told through the lives of our ancestors! I am completely and totally enamored by their stories. The lives of individuals are what create our collective social history, and I get so excited when I learn about a part that my relatives may have played in those events.”
Stephanie’s Time Capsule Message
“Record everything! The tiniest detail of your lives will be important to those who long to know you. One day these threads will bind you to generations that you will only dream of, so make sure that they exist. Write letters by hand. Photograph your children as they stumble and climb. Live your life on paper and film so the next generation can enjoy your stories.”
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Stephanie Pitcher Fishman is an editor, researcher, and writer specializing in Midwestern and Southeastern United Statesfamily history. You can learn more about her editing, research, and writing services at Corn and Cotton Genealogy.
Stephanie is also the Publisher and Editorial Director for The In-Depth Genealogist, a free monthly digital newsletter providing articles and columns for the advancement of all genealogists, professional or hobbyist. For more information visit: The In-Depth Genealogist.
You can sign up for Stephanie’s monthly newsletter, Corn and Cotton: News from the Field, to receive articles and inspiration from a group of genealogists with specialties ranging from archives to research and everything in between, “Current contributors number seven and are growing!”
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Please take a moment and head on over to Stephanie’s blog. Leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by. Welcome Stephanie, 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.