May I Introduce to You . . . Barbara Garrett
I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Barbara Garrett and her blog, Digging for My Roots, described as, “. . . A little of this and that, helping me to sort out my family history, with the hope that it is interesting to my readers, too.”
Barbara, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
“I was born in a little backwater town on the Mojave Desert and now live in the Los Angeles area. I’m a wife of 39 years, a mom of three grown children, all married, and the grandmother of six little people.”
How did you get started in genealogy?
“I think my love for genealogy was planted in me early, but it lay dormant until about five years ago. I remember as a little girl that my Nanna, when meeting someone new, would often ask, ‘Now, who are your people?’ She knew that where you came from, the story of your ‘people’, would help her to know and understand better the person in front of her.
About five years ago, my husband and I took a trip to the Isle of Man, where his great-grandparents had immigrated from in the 1850s. My husband had been talking about a visit to the island ever since we got married. So, we finally did it, and it was one of the best vacations we have ever had. We stayed in a little bed-and-breakfast just down the hill from the island’s one national museum archive, where we were shown his grandparent’s original marriage registry and the deed of sale for their property that financed their voyage to America. We were shown out the museum window where their home once stood, now the car park for the Manx Museum. We walked up the hill to the church where his great-grandparents had been married, and we stood by the grave where his 3-and 4-times great-grandmothers were buried in the same spot.
It was amazing to us to discover that there are stories, our stories, filed away in a museum, or on a dusty shelf somewhere, just waiting to be discovered and told.
That visit began a huge passion in me to find our families’ histories. A passion to pass on to my grandchildren that they weren’t just dropped into time and space, that there were people, their people, whose collective decisions brought all of us today to the family we have now.”
When and why did you start your genealogy blog?
“I began my blog a little over a year ago, hoping that I could share stories and perhaps find some extended family.”
How did you choose the name for your blog?
“It was the one name that I thought of that was available!”
Barbara, what research tool or source has been particularly helpful in researching your family history?
“My best sources have been other family members! Once my family learned that I was interested in genealogy, I became the go-to person to pass on bits and pieces. I think it quite common to have little bits of ephemera spread about in an extended family, but no one knows what to do with it all. So, I think family members can be quite relieved to find a repository for it all, and they won’t have to store it anymore!”
Do you have any tips for new genealogy bloggers?
“Spell check! ;-)”
Barbara, what other genealogy blogs inspire you?
“I follow quite a few genealogy blogs and podcasts, and I like them all!
For my French-Canadian research, I like Genealogy a la Carte (blog) and Maple Stars and Stripes (podcast).
For my Norwegian research, I read Norwegian Genealogy and Then Some, by Martin Roe Eidhammer.
A great site for general genealogy is Genealogy Gems, with Lisa Louise Cooke.”
What has been your most exciting genealogy discovery in your research?
“About 19 years ago, when I had first started with my job, I had an overnight stay in Morristown, New Jersey. Being a West Coast gal, I had never been to New Jersey, let alone Morristown, nor had I ever heard of it. I fell instantly in love and called my husband to tell him that I wanted to move there. I had several more opportunities to visit over the next few years, and each time, I loved that little town more. Fast forward to about a year ago, when I was researching my Gard family for my DAR application. My Revolutionary War patriot is/was Jeremiah Gard, whose family was one of the early settlers in Morristown! I had goosebumps. My family’s history is in the Combined Records of the First and Second Presbyterian Churches of Morristown, several ancestors are buried in churchyards there, and a few of them even died in the same dysentery outbreak that killed so many of General Washington’s troops quartered there.”
Barbara’s favorite blog post.
“I honestly don’t think I have a favorite; I think I am finding my voice and becoming more comfortable, though.”
How much time do you get to spend on research?
“I research in fits and starts. I find that I am like a bloodhound: I need a scent to follow, a reason for my rooting around. In the past, my goals have included qualifying for the DAR and finding out more about my uncle, a Pearl Harbor survivor, in order to write a book for him for Father’s Day 2016. I am now pondering where I want to go next, and I find I am getting excited about digging into my French-Canadian roots and the many ‘Filles du Roi’ in my family tree.”
Barbara, do you have any favorite ancestors?
“Oh, I can’t play favorites!”
What family story or heirloom do you cherish?
“I have my Nanna’s copper letter opener on my desk and use it often.”
In what ways has genealogy improved your life?
“It has given me a rich appreciation of my ancestors and what they endured so that I can live this life.”
Barbara, what do you love most about doing your genealogy?
“I love making books to pass these stories on to my grandchildren and family members. I especially want my grandchildren to know that they come from somewhere and someone, that the struggles or pleasures they enjoy today were shared by those who came before them.”
What is on your genealogy bucket list?
“I really hope that our next genealogy travel can be to Norway. I’d love to see where my great-great-grandparents came from, to visit the farm they left, and to find more family!”
If you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you tell them?
“You are not alone. The life experiences (loss, grief, love, success…) you are having are shared by those who came before you; the experiences that they lived through and survived have helped to shape you. Respect and honor that.”
Please take a moment to visit Barbara’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Barbara, it’s great to have you here!
© 2017, copyright Gini Webb. All rights reserved.
Gini Webb lives in San Diego, California and manages her own blog, Ginisology, while also researching her own German heritage, retired, enjoying life with wonderful husband Steve and visiting with her 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.