I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Travis LeMaster of the TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family History blog. “Genealogy & family history research. Chronicle of my research of my family lines, including lines of my children and stepchildren. Maternal lines include a mix of Scots-Irish and English Quakers; paternal line has Swiss, German and French.” Travis was raised in Alexandria, Indiana, and currently lives in Indiana.
Travis started working on genealogy when he was about 12 years old and in the Boy Scouts. He remembers working on his Genealogy Merit Badge. Travis’s father had done preliminary research on his family lines, but Travis wanted to expand on his father’s research, and also work on his maternal lines. That was when the “genealogy bug” bit Travis and he hasn’t looked back since!
Travis recalls reading “Searching for Your Ancestors” by Gilbert Doane, cover to cover over many summers at the lake, “I was always a bookworm.” Travis’s father had a copy of a genealogy on the LeMaster Family, he remembers thinking about how he was going to complete it.
Along with Travis’s father being a history teacher and spending family vacations visiting historical sites, his passion for genealogy and family history grew stronger and stronger. He loved walking the Civil War battlefields in the south, and hearing about ancestors who served at the Battlefields of Shiloh, Chickamauga, and about many more stories.
Travis’s dad instilled a love of history in him and he has enjoyed discovering how many members of his family were involved in the events that have helped shape America. His mother was a librarian, so Travis grew up respecting libraries as institutions and at the same time, still loved to hang out in them. Travis found that when he would stick to one family line, he could start working on his wife’s lines to keep him busy!
Travis’s Family and His Blog
Travis receives very positive feedback when family members read his blog. In Travis’s own words, “of course, they aren’t as excited or as obsessive as I am about the hobby.” Travis loves making new discoveries about ancestors and relatives, and then doesn’t mind sharing them with the world. Family seeing his posts on his blog will at times prompt family members to share additional stories – so he definitely feels having a blog is a plus.
Some family members do follow Travis’s blog, but he also likes to email and share information that is cross-posted at his blog. His blog posts to his Facebook page as well, so other family members follow him that way.
How Travis Follows the Rest of Us
Travis uses Google Reader to follow and keep up with a number of blogs. When new blogs are mentioned, he adds them to his Google Reader to follow them. He regularly checks out the ‘weekly picks’ mentioned by Randy Seaver or John Newmark and adds them as well.
Travis has found so many great bloggers and new information through these recommendations. “Even if you don’t have Jewish, African-American, Italian, etc. roots, I would recommend you follow these blogs because you will be amazed at the tips you will discover and the similarity of the research.”<
Sunday’s seem to be Travis’s day to try and catch up on the several hundred blogs he follows in Google Reader. He is usually reading blogs while watching Nascar and Football.
Travis’s Thoughts on Blogging
One concern Travis had when he first started blogging was “would anyone read it?” Shortly after he started writing, he discovered the GeneaBloggers community and since then he has made so many friends.
One of his first connections to reach out was Becky Wiseman at the Kinexxions blog. He joined the group at Facebook and has met so many great bloggers. Now he is onto Twitter and learning how to leverage it to further his research.
Additionally, Travis had a concern whether or not he would run out of material to post. He has since discovered that he could never write it all down, and to just do the best he can. Using the daily GeneaBloggers blogging prompts, has helped him to add content to his blog, and he is learning to relax and not worry if he doesn’t have a post every week for a particular meme.
Being so visible on the “net” may have caused hesitations on starting his blog, but Travis feels it has improved his research. “Being on the net with this blog has garnered comments that have not only furthered my research, but also has fleshed out the details of my ancestors lives.” Travis feels the great thing about putting it out there, is that people will find you through the search engines and these exchanges will lead to more information being shared. Through his blog, he has learned that he had an ancestor who for example, developed his own variety of apples in the early 18th century, “how cool is that!”
Travis would like to add, “My experience in blogging has been wonderful. Not only have I become a better researcher, but also, I’ve made friends and connections through the GeneaBloggers community. I’ve yet to meet a fellow blogger who would hesitate to answer a question or help solve a brickwall. The dialogue that can be developed through comments on posting has also been a net positive to the whole blogging experience. If you are thinking about starting a blog, what are you waiting for? Start today!”
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Please take a moment and head on over to Travis’s blog, leave him a comment letting him know you stopped by. Welcome Travis, it’s great to have you here.
© 2010, 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.