I am excited to introduce to you Anna Matthews and her blog, Tripping Over My Roots. On her blog, Anna shares her ancestors’ stories while journaling the experiences she has as she researches. On her blog Anna shares photos, documents and most recently even a piece of a home movie of the wedding of her grandparents!
Anna, please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up and what is your current hometown?
“I live in Rockville Centre, NY (on Long Island) with my boyfriend, our Basenji, DJ, and our tortoise-shell cat, Moxie. I have lived in RVC, as the locals call it, since the age of two when my parents and I moved from the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village. I am the only child of my parents’ marriage, although I have four stepsisters and a stepbrother. I work for a vascular surgeon, I am a rabid ice hockey fan (Go Habs Go!) and love to bake, craft and watch Masterpiece on PBS. I also love all things vintage and family research has given me a renewed interest in history. When my back isn’t acting-up I love to take DJ for long walks.”
How did you get started in genealogy?
“In some ways I have always been surrounded by family history from old family portraits on our walls to visits to my cousins’ farm, which was founded by a third great-grandfather. There are many people in my family who have worked to preserve our history, even long before home computers and the Internet. I started my first online tree in 2007 but my real research started when I realized that two of my maternal grandfather’s brothers, who died in infancy, were not buried with the rest of the family. That search led to other discoveries about our family and really gave me the bug.”
When and why did you start your genealogy blog?
“I started my blog in May of 2012 after I found GeneaBloggers. Although I wanted to be a part of this wonderful GeneaBlogging community, Tripping Over My Roots was just cousin-bait for a long time. Now I feel like I am finally finding my blogging voice. Sharing my experiences while doing the Genealogy Do-Over has been a big part of that. Thomas MacEntee shared two of my blog posts with the Do-Over Facebook group and in doing so, he showed me that I do have something to offer other genealogists, not just my cousins.”
What is your favorite post(s) on your blog?
“I recently finished sharing my paternal grandfather’s family history and autobiography in 22 posts for Amanuensis Monday (this is the first post):
I loved sharing his story and giving others a glimpse into the past in a small town in Pennsylvania. It also brought me two new cousins!”
What do you love most about doing genealogy?
“This is a difficult question to answer! I love the complexity of genealogy. How’s that for not answering the question. But I really love just about everything about it except destroyed records and defunct churches. I love that when I’m a little burned out or frustrated by that brick wall or from chasing a record, there are many other things I can do and still be doing genealogy. I have blogs and books to read, photos to scan, memories to preserve, technology to explore, blog posts to write, webinars to watch and trips to plan. All of it involves learning and certainly engages my brain and imagination more than my 9-5 job!”
What is your favorite genealogy research tool or source?
“Newspapers! For instance, finding the Pittston Gazette of Pittston, PA online has been so much fun. It has provided me with names and dates but much more than that, it has given me some insight into and context for the daily lives of my grandfather and his parents and siblings. You just never know what you are going to find in an old newspaper, like my grandfather’s letter to Santa published in 1909 when he was eight; one of my favorite finds of any kind.”
What other genealogy blogs inspire you?
“In some ways all GeneaBloggers inspire me with their willingness to spend so much time and energy sharing their families and their stories with us.
I recently made a commitment to visiting more blogs again, something I had gotten away from for a while. I now have a feedly.com account and follow a number of GeneaBlogs, a list that grows every week.
Good writing is particularly inspirational to me. I wish that I could write well enough to engage readers in the lives of my ancestors, to make them come alive on the page and evoke the readers’ sympathies.
I recently found Linda Stufflebean’s “Empty Branches on the Family Tree” http://emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/ who is very inspirational as a blogger. She posts every day, or close to it, shares her research stories as well as her ancestor stories, participates in at least one year-long weekly challenge, which is a commitment I admire, and also posts a weekly roundup of blog posts called Recommended Reads. I love bloggers who take the time to do that for the rest of us, like Randy Seaver (http://www.geneamusings.com/) and Jana Last (http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/) who posts weekly roundups as well.”
What is on your genealogy bucket list?
“Where do I start?
- Finding the burial places of those great-uncles I mentioned.
- Breaking through the brick wall of my second-great grandfather Benjamin Smith who was actually born not far from where I live.
- Confirming or busting the family myth that we are descended from Francis Cooke of the Mayflower, which I have to say is not looking good.
- Finding proof of my great-grandfather’s birth so that I can apply to the D.A.R. on behalf of myself and my mother and any interested cousins.
- Learning to research in countries other than the US and Canada and visiting those places (Sweden, England, and Scotland) is also a long-term goal, although they might have to pump me full of sedatives to get me on the plane!
And that was just off the top of my head!”
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Please take a moment to visit Anna’s blog Tripping Over My Roots and see all of the wonderful things she has to share. Be sure and leave a comment to let her know you stopped by. Thank you Anna 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 firstname.lastname@example.org