When I first saw Cheryl “Cherie” Cayemberg’s link to her blog in a blogging group on Facebook, I knew I wanted to know more about her and her family. Her sassy title Have You Seen My Roots appeals to my sense of humor. But make no mistake – she is not merely playing around with genealogy. Her stories are serious and well-researched. Cherie also shares just HOW she learned the details, and so while her blog does not intend to be instructional, readers will glean valuable tips on how to find more about their own ancestors. She participates in a number of memes and the daily prompts at Geneabloggers. So without further ado, meet Cherie Cayemberg.
Cherie, can you tell us a little about yourself?
“I was in the Army for almost 10 years so I traveled a bit. I was born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania (I won’t say when!) and after college I joined the Army to be a Russian linguist. Currently I’m living in Monument, Colorado with my wonderful husband and two boys. I’m also currently going to Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design for a degree in commercial photography. I already have an associates in Intelligence Operations from Cochise College, a Bachelors in German from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and a Basic Russian certification from the Defense Language Institute, but since I served during 9/11 I received the post-9/11 GI Bill. I couldn’t transfer it to one of my boys, so I either get to use that benefit or watch it expire. I wanted to do something fun with it so I chose photography since I take my camera everywhere.”
How did you get interested in doing genealogy?
“It’s a little odd how it all got started. My husband and I were walking around some software/tech store in Hawaii. It was our first Christmas together, and we were shopping. I had gotten bored and started looking at some software. I saw the genealogy software (I can’t remember which brand I started with) and started reading the box. I thought it sounded really interesting, so I told him that I’d like it for Christmas. I sent an email to my mom asking some background questions. When I opened up my present and started my free Ancestry trial, I found my great grandmother within minutes, and I was hooked!”
What research tool or source has been particularly helpful in researching your family history?
“I recently fell in love with Newspapers.com. I have a Hazleton [Pennsylvania] genealogy group on Facebook, and I was lamenting about being so far away from the Hazleton libraries where I could easily look up obits. Another member of the group told me about Newspapers.com. I was extremely hesitant at first because I was sure that they couldn’t possibly have the newspapers from my little hometown, but I contacted them and they did. They don’t have them all, but they had so many more than I expected and they were searchable to boot. I’ve knocked down a couple brick walls using their site.”
Why did you start a genealogy blog?
“I became interested in blogging back in 2010. Jen Woods from Climbing my Family Tree and I were talking about blogging (her blog is amazing), and she told me that I should go for it. I’ve known Jen since we were stationed together in San Antonio way back in the late 90s, and I trust her completely.
“I was also seriously considering becoming a genealogist and thought that blogging would help me hone my skills before deciding what kind of certification/accreditation I should pursue. I thought that sharing my finds as well as my processes would help others and maybe help them in their research. Connecting with others researching the same lines was an added benefit that I knew was out there but never expected they’d find my little blog. I was certainly mistaken and have found numerous cousins since I started five years ago.”
How did you choose the name for your blog?
“Oh, I think you’ll get a laugh out of this story. I wasn’t just looking for a blog name but a potential business name. So I turned to social media and asked my Facebook friends what I should call my genealogy blog/business. Lots of names were tossed around, but ‘Have You Seen My Roots?’ just clicked with me. Of course, fellow researchers get the title, but when I tell others the name of my blog or give them my email address, they start looking at my hair for my roots!”
Where do you get your inspiration for your blog posts?
“I usually find inspiration in whatever branch of my family tree I’m trying to unravel. Whether it’s from scanning obits and funeral cards (I have a ton of them!) or adding sources to people I already have, if something strikes me, I start a post on it. I’ve got a number of posts in the draft folder on my blog for those passing ideas that need to be developed.”
What is your favorite post on your blog?
“I have a few favorites, but my all-time favorite is my very first post. I usually re-share it each year. It’s the story of my 3rd great grandfather, Manus Boyle, who left his family in Pennsylvania to mine for gold in Australia. On his way home he died in the shipwreck of the Royal Charter. That name doesn’t mean much to Americans, but it’s a rather well-known shipwreck in the UK because of the sheer loss of life and the amount of gold that had been onboard. Manus left his family behind for this journey. His wife was pregnant with my 2nd great grandmother, Anna, when he left. He never got to see her. That made the whole thing even sadder to me. The impressive bit was that the shipwreck was actually written about by Charles Dickens.”
What is your favorite heirloom?
“I’ve got stories of crime, passion, and daring escapes on my blog, but one of the things I cherish most in the world is a rosary my mother gave me. I even blogged about it. It’s 200 years old this year. Wow. I didn’t even realize that until right this moment. We aren’t completely sure whose it was, but we believe that it belonged to William Quirk, my 2nd great grandfather. It may have been a relative’s though because the rosary is actually older than him. The date would have referred to the date of a pilgrimage and purchased as a memento of the event.”
What is the most frustrating part of blogging?
“Bloggers always want to get more readers, but I’ve kind of looked at that as ‘it’ll happen when it happens.’ My frustration is finding time to spend as much time on it as I would like. Being in school full time as well as taking care of my family and other obligations leaves me little free time. By the time I get an extra hour or two for research and blogging, I’ve lost my rhythm and that can be hard to get back on the fly. I’m looking at setting aside a chunk of time each week to lock myself in my office and just do genealogy. We’ll see how that goes.”
What kind of networking do you use to attract readers to your blog?
“Twitter and Facebook are the two biggest places I go to attract readers. I share post links to genealogy groups like Genealogy Bloggers, as well as to my own group sites and on my timeline. I always tweet a shortened link with the genealogy hashtag. I used (and loved) Google’s reader and was so upset when they did away with it. It was a great way to share my posts and catch up on posts from other blogs. I’m still mourning its loss.”
What other genealogy blogs inspire you?
Naturally, Jen Woods’ Climbing My Family Tree inspires me. She is the main reason I started blogging. I also envy her ability to keep up with her blog, take care of her family, and homeschool her children. She is a force to be reckoned with!
I also love Thomas MacEntee’s Destination: Austin Family, Marian Pierre-Louis’ Fieldstone Common blog, Heather Wilkinson Rojo’s Nutfield Genealogy, and Linda McCauley’s Documenting the Details. There are so many more I could list, but I’d be here all day!”
What is on your genealogy bucket list?
“The biggest item on my genealogy bucket list is to go to Ireland. I’d love to see where my ancestors came from. I think I’d actually go on a pilgrimage to Lough Derg and walk in my ancestor’s footsteps.”
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Please take a moment to visit Cherie at Have You Seen My Roots and leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Thank-you, Cherie, for letting us inside your blogging world.
© 2016, copyright Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.
Wendy Mathias is a retired teacher who divides her time between her home in Chesapeake, Virginia and Smith Mountain Lake. She enjoys researching her family and digging for the story behind old family photos for her blog Jollett Etc. Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . .” series? If so, contact Wendy via email firstname.lastname@example.org.