May I Introduce to You . . . Devry Dennis

Come meet genealogy blogger Devry Dennis, author of the Down Home Genealogy blog in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

MAY I INTRODUCE TO YOU . . . DEVRY DENNIS

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Devry Dennis and her blog, Down Home Genealogy, described as, “. . . The blog features my genealogy research, along with research tips and anything else I find useful that is related to genealogy. The majority of my ancestors settled in Tennessee and Alabama, but my research spans far beyond.”

Devry, please tell us a little about yourself.

“I was born, raised and still live in Nashville, Tennessee. I am a rare Nashville native. Most people are transplants to Music City USA. I have ancestors who were early Nashville pioneers.”

Devry, what got you started in Genealogy?

“Early on in school I always loved history. During my high school years, I went to a genealogy fair in Wayne County, Tennessee with my mom and Uncle Johnny, where my grandmother (their mom) is originally from. It made me want to learn more about my ancestors. My Uncle Johnny gave me a copy of Family Tree Maker software for my birthday shortly after that, and I started my own research then. It’s been about 14 years now.”

Why Devry created her blog and her thoughts on blogging.

“A few years ago, my mom suggested that I create a website containing our family tree and history. I decided on September 20, 2016 to create a blog to share my research and hopefully turn up in a few Google search results if someone was also researching my ancestors. My mom originally suggested the name “Down Home Genealogy”, because she said as a child her mother always talked about going back to Wayne County, Tennessee as going “down home”. It gives me the feeling of going back to my roots.”

Devry, what research tool or source has been particularly helpful in researching your family history?

“I always do a Google search to see if the county my ancestor is from has a genealogy page. Sometimes they have county records there that you can’t find anywhere else. It has been extremely helpful.”

What tips can you share with someone just starting a family history blog?

“I think genealogy blogging is half research, half heart. Just write from your heart. Find your own writing style. I like to write memorials or short biographies about my ancestors, but your style might be completely different. Whatever you write about, it’s important to really enjoy the topic, or you won’t stick with it.”

Devry, what other genealogy blogs inspire you?

“I am new to the world of genealogy bloggers, so I’ve just started branching out. A neat blog I enjoy is Paper and Roots Genealogy. She posts her research along with paper crafts she creates, which are beautiful.”

What has been your most exciting genealogy discovery through research?

“If I had to pick, I’d say it’s when I discovered the identity of my grandfather’s great-grandmother, Martha Harris Windsor. It was a mix of research and my grandfather’s DNA test. That was the topic of my first blog post.”

Devry’s favorite blog post.

“I wrote a post about Jane Boyd, my third great-grandmother. I have a soft spot for her. She experienced a lot in her lifetime, and was such a strong woman.”

Devry, who is your favorite ancestor?

“My grandmother, Ruth Harper. I haven’t wrote a blog about her yet, because I want to make sure I get it perfect and I’d like to put a lot of time into it. She was my best friend. She passed away 20 years ago, but left a lasting impression on me. I was very lucky to call her my Nana.”

How much time do you get to spend on research?

“Being a mom with a full-time job, I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like to, but I try to squeeze time in for my favorite hobby. I’d say at least a few hours a week.”

What family story or heirlooms do you cherish most?

“I never got to meet my grandfather Fred Harper. He was in the Army Air Force in World War II. He made a clock out of a wood airplane propeller. It’s very neat and I’m glad it was passed down to my family.”

Devry, how has genealogy improved your life?

“I have a better understanding about where my ancestors were from, some things they witnessed, and how things fell into place for me to end up where I am today. I am amazed by the strength of my ancestors. They ventured to a new country, they fought in the Revolutionary War and spent the winter at Valley Forge, they raised children on their own after losing their husband in the Civil War, etc. It makes me proud to know I am related to some extraordinary people.”

What do you love most about doing your genealogy?

“I love when I make a new discovery, or finally unite pieces of the puzzle for an ancestor. Even small discoveries really excite me. I love preserving my family history for future generations.”

Devry, what is on your genealogy bucket list?

“Too many things to list! I would love to visit places my ancestors are from.”

If you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you say to them?

“I would tell them to preserve history now. Talk to your grandparents, parents and family elders. Record precious details and stories.”

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Please take a moment to visit Devry at Down Home Genealogy. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Devry, 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.

May I Introduce To You . . . Katie Andrews Potter

Come meet genealogy Katie Andrews Potter of Storybook Ancestor blog as interviewed by Jana Last at GeneaBloggers

MAY I INTRODUCE TO YOU . . . Katie Andrews Potter

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Katie Andrews Potter and her blog, Storybook Ancestor, described as, “Writing the stories of our families with the youngest generation – a place to encourage children to explore their family history.”

Katie, please tell us a little about yourself.

“I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, and am a 9th generation Hoosier, and so is my husband. We have two kids that we homeschool and many pets. I have a degree in Elementary Education, have done graduate work in History, and am working on my certificate in Genealogical Studies. I am a Girl Scout leader, an avid hiker and the author of the young adult historical fiction novels Going over Home and Going over Jordan.”

How did you get started in genealogy?

“I became interested in learning about my family history when I was sixteen. I spent a lot of time talking with my great-great aunt and my grandma and listening to their stories and going through their old photos when I was in my teens, and I began to realize how important it was to listen to our elders when we are young, because if I hadn’t taken the time when I was young, so much family history would have been lost.”

When and why did you start your genealogy blog?

“I launched my blog in January 2017, after the idea had been brewing in my head for years. I have always had a passion for family history and writing, and bringing it to kids completes that passion, as I have loved working with kids since I was in high school. I think it’s so important for kids to explore their family history, and I would love to see them use their creativity to write the stories of their family and share it with others.”

How did you choose the name for your blog?

“The ideal outcome of this blog is to see kids turn their ancestors’ lives into storybooks. I am working on a children’s picture book based on the memoir of one of my ancestors right now, and will hopefully release it in the fall. I would love to see kids do the same.”

Who is your favorite ancestor and why?

“Almyra King Holsclaw is my favorite ancestor. She is my 3rd great-grandmother. She was born in 1842 and lived her entire life in Jennings County, Indiana. She is the one who wrote the beautiful memoir of growing up in pioneer Indiana that I am turning into a picture book. I have heard so much about her from family and am somewhat in awe of her.”

What do you love the most about genealogy?

“The stories. Always the stories.”

What interesting connections have you made through blogging?

“Before Storybook Ancestor, I had another smaller blog where I blogged more about my own personal family history, and I had a grandparent’s first cousin find my blog and contact me. It was amazing.”

What is on your genealogy bucket list?

“To visit Ireland. My mother’s side is very Irish, and I would love to visit County Galway especially where my Mulry ancestors were from. Ireland has always been a dream destination for me.”

If you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you tell them?

“Make connections to the past, and invest in the future.”

“A big part of the Storybook Ancestor blog is sharing family stories with the world. If your child has a family story they would like to share, please contact us! You can visit our site to see stories we have already published, and if your children need help writing, subscribe to our newsletter to receive a free e-book Writing Family History for Kids: A Workbook & Guide. We would love to share your special family stories with the world!”

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Please take a moment to head over to Katie’s blog, Storybook Ancestor and leave her a comment, letting her know you stopped by. Thank you Katie for telling us about yourself and your blog. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.

© 2017, copyright Jana Last. All rights reserved.

Jana Last is a wife, mom and grandma living in sunny California. She loves family history and enjoys learning about her ancestors. She started her family history research in 1996 after the death of her maternal grandfather. She is the author of three blogs and a website: Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, Grandpa’s Postcards, Jana’s Place and Jana’s Genealogy and Social Media Hub. Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . .” series? If so, contact Jana via email at jmlast61@gmail.com.

May I Introduce to You . . . Darcie Posz

Come meet genealogy blogger Darcie Posz, author of the Kickin' it with Genealogy blog in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

MAY I INTRODUCE TO YOU . . . DARCIE POSZ

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Darcie Posz and her blog, Kickin’ it with Genealogy, described as, “. . . Listenin’ to Music while Learnin’ about Genealogy.”

Darcie, please tell us a little about yourself.

“I was born in Burlington, Iowa and currently live in Washington, D.C. Ten years ago, my husband and I had a contest to see who could find a job first on the east coast and I won. We came to D.C. with 200 bucks and the first month’s rent; the 200 bucks was emergency gas money, in case we needed to drive back to Iowa since the closest person we knew was in Georgia. I took clients so we could eat; he found a job two months later.”

How did you get started in genealogy?

“I began doing genealogy when I was 14, because I wanted to know why I was a Hawaiian in Iowa. I went to the local library and found a Honolulu phone book and sent a letter to everyone with the Hind surname. One was a relative and I went from there.”

Why Darcie created her blog and her thoughts on blogging.

“For years, when I went to institutes and conferences I felt like I was unable to talk about genealogy or methodology in the spastic fashion that I do at home. I tried to seek out people who would be open to that, but it usually fell flat. So I thought why not just do a blog so that it is out there?  Kind of like a Voyager Golden Record:  just out there in the digital universe and those who find it, find it.

I read a lot and I usually have music playing in the background. I also listen to a lot of audio recordings of genealogy lectures. I can remember things better when I hear them. Some of the journals, quarterlies and publications I had been reading were over my head on the first read, but when I applied beginner’s mind and calm down with music, they were easier to understand and sunk in. Applying this method has worked for me and it may for others.

Some genealogy conversations need to happen, so some posts, particularly dealing with race, I have attempted to align what is happening now with what has been previously discussed by genealogists. I grew up in an area where the only other Hawaiians were my family, and statistically most of the rest of the people around me were Caucasian. As the only Hawaiians, we were stereotyped: people expected Hawaiian shirts, eating pineapple, and listening to Elvis. Truth was that we are American and Americanized: BBQ, Chicago Bears and ZZ Top. All I knew about my culture was what I learned in books. As I began doing more genealogy, I found out that I had Japanese ancestors, Shoshone ancestors, English ancestors, and so on. It became complicated and confusing trying to identify what they were, let alone what I am. Having a regional specialty would not help, so I knew I needed to strengthen my genealogy education, to understand what has been done in the past, and see if it could be applied to my genealogy. So far it has worked to enhance my skill-set in this way.”

How did you choose the name for your blog?

The Office (Season 5, Episode 15) had this episode where Kelly (played by Mindy Kaling) was being grilled by Dwight about what she was doing when she was 14-15 years old and she replied, ‘I was kickin’ it.’

I would probably give the same vague answer about what I was doing at that age, but it was also when I began seriously doing genealogy research. I would check out books from the library and go off the grid for days, documenting the lineages of Ancient Egypt and the Royal Houses of Europe and England.

Plus, genealogy can be cool, so you can be ‘kickin’ it’ with genealogy.”

Darcie, what research tool or source has been particularly helpful in researching your family history?

The Newberry Library’s Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.”

Do you have any tips for new genealogy bloggers?

“If you are thinking about starting a blog, just do it. Don’t over think on what to write about; it is your blog and you can veer in whatever direction you want. You could always have multiple pages too.”

Darcie, what other genealogy blogs inspire you?

Evidence Explained Blog

The Demanding Genealogist

Vita-Brevis

Genetic Genealogist

Cari Taplin’s Genealogy Pants

BCG Springboard.”

Darcie, what has been your most exciting genealogy discovery in your research?

“I have to admit, DNA is the most exciting discovery. There is nothing more vindicating than being able to use DNA evidence to corroborate what you have proven using the Genealogical Proof Standard.”

Darcie, please tell us your favorite posts on your blog.

“The one entry that was the most popular was Elizabeth Shown Mills and Zongamin.

My personal favorite was David Mura and Digitalism.”

How much time do you get to spend on research?

“Not as much as I used to. The research is very specific and I find I write more after analysis and correlation. At this point, it is half the time researching and half the time writing. And then hours studying and reading.”

Darcie, who is your favorite ancestor?

“My favorite ancestors are actually my husband’s, but I researched them for so long that I thought I would never find out what happened to them. I was able to find out that they both died (separately) as the result of trains running them over.”

What family story or heirloom do you cherish most?

“My Grandpa Ned’s military jacket. I have pictures of him wearing it during his tour in China, and now I have the real thing in my closet.”

Darcie, in what ways has genealogy improved your life?

“Is it sad to say that genealogy was my life? I restructured my values a few years ago, and now genealogy is the third most important thing in my life after my husband (and dog) and still-living family. Genealogy has allowed me to meet a different caliber of people than I think you would meet in other fields. Each person I meet has three generations attached to them and what they do; it is very powerful to see how they apply themselves to their research and their research to themselves.”

What do you love most about doing your genealogy/family history?

“Finding the answers and knowing that they meet the standards, and can uphold the test of time.”

What is on your genealogy bucket list?

“I want to visit Northumberland/Durham in England and finally touch the Atlantic Ocean there, like my ancestors did.

I want to take a train ride from Austria, through Germany to see where my ancestors and my husband’s ancestors lived.

I would like to meet an actual Tanaka or Ishihara relative.

I would love to figure out what the deal is with my relative, Robert Bradford Murry, because he dropped off the face of the earth. “

Darcie, if you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you tell them?

“Read. Read TAG, TG, NGSQ and other such periodicals so you can have a bouquet of different case studies and family narratives.”

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Please take a moment to visit Darcie’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Darcie, 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.