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May I Introduce to You . . . Valerie Craft

Come meet genealogy blogger Valerie Craft, author of the Begins With Craft blog, in this interview by Michelle Taggart at GeneaBloggers.

Come meet genealogy blogger Valerie Craft, author of the Begin With Craft blog, in this interview by Michelle Taggart at GeneaBloggers.

I am excited to introduce to you Valerie and her blog, Begin with ‘Craft’, which Valerie describes as her “journey in genealogy.”  Valerie takes her readers along on her adventure as she researches her southern ancestors, particularly those who lived in Georgia and South Carolina.

A Little About Valerie

“I can trace my paternal family back 9 generations in Georgia, with many other lines arriving just after the Revolutionary War. My maternal lines were similarly situated in South Carolina. Because my ancestors immigrated to America so early, I don’t identify with any specific European ethnicity. Instead, because of my roots in the history of the South, I identify strongly as a Southerner.”

How Valerie Got Started in Genealogy

“I started researching my family history as part of a geography project in college. The assignment had a few different options, including showing how geography affected our family over five generations.  I didn’t know my grandmothers’ maiden name, let alone who my great great grandparents were. But my mom had been longing to research our family history and encouraged me to do the project.  From there, I was hooked and have been researching our family history for over 10 years.”

Valerie’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my genealogy blog as a “What’s New” section on my Rootsweb site.  From there, I found out about the Geneablogger community and moved to Blogger. I wanted a place to share my family finds and the strategies I used.”

Valerie’s Advice for New Bloggers

“I would say that it’s not necessarily about the length of your blog posts, but about the content. A short post that is well written, but only a paragraph long, can be more effective than a wordy and meandering post that doesn’t get to the point.  It can also be better to split up your content into a series of posts, rather than have readers lose interest in a post that takes an hour to slog through.  Also, and this is my preference, always include an image in your post. It adds visual stimulation, highlights the point you are making and can help attract viewers who see a link on Facebook, Google or another site that includes a thumbnail image.  If you don’t have a photo of your own, you can find images available through the creative common license at Flickr: Creative Commons.” 

Valerie’s Favorite Blog Post

“One of my most recent blog posts is Cabbagetown – Then and Now.  In this post I share my visit to the home of my great great grandparents and some unique photos – and the surprise I got afterwards.”

Valerie’s Favorite Ancestors

“I honestly don’t think I could pick just one favorite ancestor. I identify with different ancestors for different reasons: my great-aunt, Ollie Britt, who was a riveter during WWII, my Civil War ancestors whose footsteps I’ve walked on local battlefields, my 4th great-grandfather, Willis Craft, who represented his county in the Georgia State House, and my 6th great-grandfather, John Cash, through whom I joined the DAR.”

How Genealogy has Changed Valerie’s Life

“My research has taken me to places I wouldn’t have gone otherwise and connected me with people I would not have otherwise met.  It’s impossible to imagine what else I might be doing if I hadn’t started doing genealogy.  I’m an introvert who is nervous around new people and in new situations.  Although this remains true, I am much more outgoing and self-assured, thanks in part to my experiences with genealogy research.”

“I love that genealogy is like a puzzle. It takes hard work and determination, but when you figure it out, there is a sense of accomplishment. My work has benefited others and will continue to do so for years to come, from photographing headstones and adding them to FindAGrave.com, to transcribing records and uploading them to the internet for others to find, to buying old photos in antique stores and sending them back to their family, to simply being able to tell my own family who their ancestors were. I truly feel that I have accomplished something and that my research will be of benefit to others.”

Valerie’s Genealogy Bucket List

“I would love to travel overseas and do research in Europe, break through my Waters and Leaphart brick walls, travel to the Family History Library, and make some amazing DNA connections.”

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Please take time to head over to Valerie’s blog Begin with ‘Craft’ and leave a comment, letting her know you stopped by.  Thank you Valerie for sharing your thoughts and your blog with us!

© 2015, copyright Michelle Ganus Taggart, All rights reserved 

Michelle Ganus Taggart lives in Kaysville, Utah, where she enjoys the beautiful outdoors, time with family and researching her ancestors.  She shares her passion for her southern research in her blog, A Southern Sleuth.  Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . . “ series?  If so, contact Michelle  via email shelltag1@gmail.com

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