May I Introduce to You . . . Jill Ball

Come meet genealogy blogger Jill Ball, author of the GeniAus blog, in this interview by Tessa Keough at GeneaBloggers.

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jill Ball and her blog GeniAus, described as “a potpourri of genealogy topics with an Australian slant.” Not satisfied with one blog, Jill as added to her repertoire Geneadictionary (an online lexicon of geneajargon), jillballau (Jill’s personal journeys, jottings and joy) and Ku-ring-Gai Historical Society (online news for Society members, the community, and those with links to the district). 

A Little Bit About Jill

(In bullet format – much like her personality – fun, fast and to the point!)

  • Short, white-haired and cuddly.
  • Wife, mother, grandmother and family historian.
  • Formerly librarian, teacher, and IT gal.
  • Lifelong learner.
  • Social media fan and gadget girl.
  • Into Evernote, lists and spreadsheets.
  • Loves geneajaunts, travel and cruising.
  • Takes snapshots not photos.
  • Happy old soul. 

What Got Jill Started in Genealogy/Family History

“I have always attributed this to the Bicentenary year in Australia in 1988 when the celebrations placed a great emphasis on our nation’s history. Looking back I realise it was also the year my maternal grandmother died. I now wonder if that also influenced me to start thinking about my personal history.

Genealogy /family history research draws on the skillset I developed from many years working as a librarian. While I was working in my ‘real job’ I dabbled in family research but once I retired from fulltime work I threw myself into it with gusto. I set out to learn as much as I could by attending talks and conferences, reading journals and joining several societies.

I soon discovered that my background in teaching and Information Technology equipped me to help other genealogists integrate technology use into their family history research so I started giving talks at various venues and online via Google Hangouts on Air. Although I get nervous before each performance I enjoy the opportunities I have to share my knowledge with others (and genealogists are more appreciative of one’s efforts than a bunch of Year/Grade 9 kids).” 

Jill’s Thoughts on Blogging

“Love it! I started blogging on library topics more than ten years ago and when I retired it left a void that I had to fill. It was obvious that genealogy could provide the subject matter that would enable me to continue blogging so GeniAus was born. Since then I have dabbled with a few blogs. Presently I am enjoying my latest venture, the Geneadictionary, this is great fun but the challenge is learning the intricacies of WordPress after being a Blogger girl for such a long time.”

  • Blogging allows me to connect, communicate and collaborate with people that I might not otherwise meet.
  • Blogs educate, enlighten and entertain me.
  • Blogging allows me to share stories and preserve family tales.
  • The dynamic nature of blogs lets me return and update my posts as new information becomes available.  

Jill’s Tips for New Bloggers (and Not So New Bloggers!) 

  • For newbies: Just do it.
  • For oldies: Regular maintenance is essential. Take a critical look at your blog and identify areas for improvement.
  • For all: Remember that blogging is a two-way street, it’s a collaborative medium. Reach out to others by liking and commenting on their posts.

Jill’s Favorite Blog Post(s)

A story of my grandmother, Ethel Jane Pusell, who was widowed at 18. http://geniaus.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/john-bertram-chatfield-trans-tasman.html

The twenty-six posts I wrote for the “Genealogy through the alphabet” challenge. I was pleased that I didn’t give up and managed to complete the whole series. http://geniaus.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/family-history-through-alphabet.html 

Jill’s Time with the Ancestors

“Every spare moment and some I don’t have to spare but I always give precedence to the living.” 

Jill’s Favorite Ancestor(s) and Why

“My two grandmothers, Ethel Jane Pusell and Mary Tierney, who both lived to see me married off. I knew and loved them both they were determined, loyal and lovable women.

Two of my convicts: Elizabeth Phipps from London and Patrick Curry from Limerick. Elizabeth was a villain who obviously used her wits to survive in the penal colony of New South Wales. When she married the much older William Magick she probably thought she was setting herself up for life but she didn’t know William would live to 108. Patrick was an Irishman who, on gaining his freedom, worked as a farmer and had a comfortable life. In 1848 he said ‘I have reared a large family in comfort, want for nothing’.” 

How Genealogy/Family History Has Improved or Changed Jill’s Life

  • It keeps me off the streets
  • It challenges the old brain
  • It provides learning opportunities
  • It has enabled me to keep on teaching
  • It has brought me a whole new set of interesting friends
  • It has connected me with unknown and lost family members who have added to my family stories. 

What Jill Loves Most About Genealogy

  • The people I meet – both dead and alive
  • The thrill of the chase – there’s nothing like a good mystery to pique one’s interest
  • Having opportunities to help fellow enthusiasts. 

Jill’s Time Capsule Message

Don’t sweat the small stuff.” 

Jill’s Expanded Time Capsule Message

“I am an amateur genealogist/family historian so I don’t get hung up on sourcing and citations. I am not concerned about commas, italics and adhering to a particular format. I believe in recording where information comes from and I always try to provide enough information so that anyone who wants to can check out my assertions. Genealogy for me is a hobby not a serious academic pursuit so I don’t see the need for rigid rules. I fear that we frighten off many newbies with terms such as sourcing and citations. We should just tell them to carefully record where they got their information so, if years later they have a memory lapse, they will be able to find things once more.

If I am writing for a journal I will correctly reference whatever I am writing but I will use the Harvard method of citation (or whatever is prescribed by the publication in question).

For me this stuff is a matter of “horses for courses”.

* * *

Please take a moment to head on over to Jill’s blogs. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by (and perhaps provide a new word for her geneadictionary!). Jill brings to her blogs a sense of humor and fun. We get the benefit of her years in the education field and she is one of the positive lights in the genealogy community. Jill will be at FGS/RootsTech 2015 and I look forward to meeting this versatile and entertaining blogger (and vlogger – she also makes videos and hosts Google+ hangouts on air!) in Salt Lake City in February. Welcome Jill, it’s great to have you here!

© 2014, copyright Tessa Keough. All rights reserved

Tessa Keough divides her time between Arlington, Virginia and Portland, Oregon. She got hooked on researching her ancestors after seeing a pedigree chart at a family reunion. She shares her paternal genealogy at The Keough Corner, her maternal genealogy at Scandia Musings & More, and technology and methodology tips at her YouTube channel TessaWatch. Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . .” series? If so, contact Tessa via email murkeo01@gmail.com.

Announcing the Genealogy Do-Over

Announcing the Genealogy Do-Over - the 2015 educational initiative at GeneaBloggers - where you do get to go home again . . . and start over.

Today I’m making a big announcement: Me and genealogy are parting ways. Done. Finished. Game over.

Have you ever said to yourself, “That’s it! I’ve had it and it just isn’t worth it anymore!” Well, have you? Sort of like the character Howard Beale in Network when he says, live on air, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

My Past Genealogy Research Frustrates Me!

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Before you think that I’m leaving the genealogy community or closing down my genealogy business, let me clarify what I mean by leaving: Starting January 2nd, I’m setting my 20+ years of genealogy research aside and starting over. From scratch.

Seriously. How many times have you thought about doing the same thing? Did you start your research the same way I did, by just collecting names, grabbing stuff from other online trees, or pasting text into your genealogy software? Lately, has the prospect of going back and citing sources and proving facts and evidence brought you down and ruined your genealogy buzz? Do you throw up your hands and say, “I give up!” only to return to the same review and edit process days or weeks later?

If you’re like me, you need a genealogy makeover. Better yet, a Genealogy Do-Over. That’s what I’m calling this journey upon which I’m embarking in 2015. And I want you to come along.

Genealogy Do-Over: A New Journey of Genealogical Discovery

journey 02

Here is the short summary of Genealogy Do-Over: I set aside everything* related to my genealogy research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files and my genealogy database files and START OVER. I’m hitting the reset button. I’m allowing myself to have a do-over! (* certain items such as vital records ordered and paid for or research gathered on long-distance trips can be retained).

Since I started my initial research, much has changed in the areas of genealogy research methodology and education. I now realize the need to collect facts and track them properly, including the use of source citations. I now understand the process of analyzing evidence and proving facts to reach a conclusion. In essence, I know a lot more about the “process” of genealogical research and I want to put it to use.

This is not to say that I haven’t been following proven guidelines when it comes to finding family history. For my research clients (mostly pro bono), I actually employ all the methods advocated by many in the genealogy community. However, when it comes to my own research from years ago, I’m not walking the walk . . . I’m just talking the talk.

It isn’t always easy to “walk backwards” and review each and every bit of information gathered over the years. Instead, I want to do more than re-walk a trodden path: I want to head out from the same starting point and see where the journey takes me this time. I’ll have better tools, better knowledge and be better equipped for each twist and turn. And again, I encourage you to join me on this journey.

The Genealogy Do-Over journey is constructed of 13 mileposts or journey markers which are laid out over 13 weeks. You can choose to pace yourself differently. You can even decide to drop some of the less important tasks and add your own. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you are on a firm footing to finding your ancestors.

A short synopsis of my planned route (a full schedule will be announced soon):

  • Take inventory of what I have, box up the physical items and set them aside.
  • Move all digital genealogy files into a HOLD folder.
  • Gather tools to research.
  • Set research goals.
  • Start with my own knowledge and write it down.
  • Start tracking research.
  • Interview family members.
  • And more!

And then, week by week, continue with my research, add more skills and areas of focus including citing sources, tracking searches, building a research toolbox, creating an educational plan, researching offline as well as online, and more.

By the end of the 13 weeks I hope to have completed a review of a firm foundation in genealogy and family history research skill building. I realize that some focus areas may differ; anyone along for the journey has the freedom to add or remove content. This program has to work for you and should not be something that you dread each week or that you find you are working against.

How Much is a Ticket?

Genealogy Do-Over Tickets

There is no price. A journey that could very well revolutionize the way you’ve been doing genealogy research is priceless.

The fact is that there is no cost to using the Genealogy Do-Over program. There will be weekly blog posts here at GeneaBloggers outlining each week’s tasks and I’ll post my own personal progress as well. In addition, there will be free webinars (like this one at Legacy Family Tree), a boot camp on using a research log, and even incentives such as prizes related to a specific week’s topic. I may even publish another free e-book!

You’re Invited – You Get a Genealogy Do-Over Too

youre-invited

What I want most is a collaborative community effort to re-examine the way in which each of us has personally pursued our genealogical research. I intend to be honest with myself without beating myself up. I want to feel the joy of looking at one small fact and perhaps realizing that I never looked at it from all angles. I want the discipline of not following a possible lead just because it shakes or makes more noise than other leads.

Most of all, I want to be open to all possibilities on my journey of genealogical self-discovery and to enjoy that journey. This means researching with a plan, with a purpose, with sound practices and with the support of my fellow researchers. I don’t intend to make this journey again. Genealogy Do-Over is my chance to get it right.

So stay tuned, watch for a new domain – http://www.genealogydo-over.com – and look for more announcements before the January 2, 2015 start date!

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Genealogy Blogging Beat – Monday, 15 December 2014

Dec 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, became effective following ratification by Virginia. The anniversary of ratification and of effect is observed as Bill of Rights Day.
Today is Monday 15 December 2014, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Items of Note

  • Today: Bill of Rights Day, Cat Herders Day, and Gone With The Wind Premiere – Anniversary.
  • Later this afternoon, come meet blogger Jill Ball of the GeniAus blog in an interview by Tessa Keough in our ongoing series May I Introduce To You.

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