May I Introduce to You . . . Janice Trumbell

Janice Trumbell

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Janice (Guthrie) Trumbell and her blog, The Guthrie, McCoy, Misson & Showalter Families blog, described as, “. . .  The blog is my online home! It is my space where I share what I have learned about my family, not only the history but also the documents and photos. The blog also provides a way to connect with others researching the same family lines.”

A Little About Janice

“I was born in Toledo, Ohio. I am the mother of two children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. I live in a small town in southern Iowa with my husband and our fur babies. When I’m not doing family research, I love to garden and read suspense novels.”

How Janice Got Started in Genealogy

“In my senior year of school, I was given the assignment to prepare a pedigree chart for one of my classes. During my research, I found I had very little information to work with. My parents divorced when I was very young so I had only my birth certificate for my father’s information. My grandmother had already passed so I didn’t have a lot on her side either, only what my grandfather could remember. So my chart was pretty incomplete. This was the spark that started the flame to find out all I could about my ancestors.”

How long has Janice been doing genealogy? “It seems forever! I have not had access to a large library so all my research is via snail mail. I received my first computer around 1995 and that is what opened the gates for me.  It provided the outlet to connect with others and find new cousins, in addition to the resources to all the distant locations and histories.”

Janice’s Thoughts on Blogging

“Originally, the blog was basically for me. I am not a writer and didn’t think others would be interested in my family. I had a large collection of very old photos, stories and documents and wanted a place to store my treasures. This was the beginning of the blog in September of 2010. However, over the years, I have added other items that were of interest to me too.”

Janice’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Don’t wait, just start! Look at other blogs for ideas.  Pay attention to their color schemes, layout, etc., make notes of what you like and don’t like.  Think about what you want to say and do with your blog. Pick a name and URL that will be easy for others to find you. Your blog will evolve as you become more comfortable using it.”

Janice’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I have several favorite posts but I love my grandfather’s journal!  I lived with my grandparents as a child, so every time I read his words I can almost hear his voice. His childhood was so sad and difficult but in spite of it, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather. The journal is actually a seven page hand written letter describing his life from childhood to adulthood written to his children.”

Janice’s Time with the Ancestors

“I’m retired so most every day is spent working on family history in one form or another. My days are not spent just on researching but also include updating my database and scanning documents and photos into my computer. Many times I spend all day on genealogy but there are periods where I may have only an hour an then there are times I just walk away from it all. Sometimes, I need to clear my head and get a new perspective.”

Janice’s Favorite Ancestors

“This is a tough question. At first, I had picked two women because I know very little about them and they have become a challenge. However, when I think about my family, I really can’t pick just one. I have a grandfather who was a religious artist from Belgium. I have a long line of ministers in my history. The women had large families and worked hard to take care of them and most had farms to work too. Their lives were not easy so each person is special to me! How do you pick just one?”

How Genealogy Has Improved Janice’s Life

“Ever since my high school years, I have had this burning desire to know more about my family.  Maybe it’s because I knew almost nothing about my father. I have learned so much about my family and ancestors. The genealogy has given me a glimpse into their lives and has eliminated the many blanks in my first pedigree!  I now have a better understanding of who I am because of the research and I am so thankful for it.”

What Janice Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love the challenge! Finding that one clue, that will solve a puzzle and bring everything together. There always seems to be one piece that is still missing. So the hunt continues!”

Janice’s Genealogy Bucket List

“Seeing my elderly parents’ health decline has made me realize that I need to preserve my years of work. As I complete one task, I find more to do, but this is a start: Finish my research, as least as much as I can.

  • Post all notes, documents, histories and photos to the blog.
  • Donate my genealogy reference books to Allen County Public Library. I have already sent two boxes.
  • To have all photos digitized. This is almost complete!
  • Send my completed info to genealogy societies where my ancestors lived.”

Janice’s Time Capsule Message

“I have regretted many times, not asking questions while my grandparents were still living. Once you lose the older generation, the stories and history are lost too! You can never get this back. Take time to know your family. Ask questions of your grandparents, aunts and uncles while they are alive. Record the stories, family recipes and histories.

I am in awe when I think how strong our ancestors were to survive the hardships, illness, and losses that many of them lived through for us to be here now. It saddens me that so many young people today have no idea who their great grandparents were and to be honest, it seems they don’t care.

We are all here because of the older generations. It is not just about us. It is about all those who came before us too! Without the ancestors we would not be here!”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Janice’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Janice, it’s great to have you here!

© 2014, 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 . . . Christopher Shaw

Christopher Shaw

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Christopher Shaw and his blog, Diggin’ for Family, described as, “. . . Documenting the search for my family while throwing in some tips and tricks I have learned along the way.” 

A Little About Christopher

“I grew up in Northville, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. After graduating high school I enlisted in the Air Force where I stayed for 24 years, retiring in 2012. I was too young to just be retired so we moved to where the job offer took us, Summerville, South Carolina. We fell in love with the area (especially the weather) and bought a house and started planting roots. I live here with my wife, Michele, of just over 10 years and our three kids; Tyler, Nathan, and Katie.” 

How Christopher Got Started in Genealogy

“I started my Family History journey back in 1999 but have had some long breaks from time to time since then. I was single when I started but since have married and have three kids, so time with them takes priority over the research.”

“As stated above, I started back in 1999. I was in the Air Force and was being assigned to Germany. I knew that my maternal grandfather was killed in World War II while serving in the army and my mother said he was buried in Germany. However, no one knew anything about his death or the exact location of his grave. There were lots of rumors but nothing official. I wanted to know exactly where he was buried so when my mother came to visit me in Germany she could visit her dad’s final resting place. Well, finding his grave just sparked my interest and I had to know more about his service and how he was killed. My efforts paid off and I found the actual investigation report of his death, dispelling the rumors that my mother heard. And, happily, I was able to get my mother over to Germany on two different occasions where she could visit her dad’s grave at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands.

The research into my grandfather’s WWII service wasn’t enough; I wanted or needed to know more about the rest of my family and our origins. I recruited my sister to help me out and we have been researching ever since. By the way, I have also inflicted my wife with the family history bug and she has joined us in tracing her roots.” 

Christopher’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my blog, Diggin for Family, back in 2011, although I have not been real consistent with it over the years. I was trying to maintain a static website where I could share what we were finding with family. I started reading some genealogy blogs and was fascinated by how people were sharing their journeys and the possibilities of making those cousin connections. I also liked that fact that it could help me put a written record of our search together. After reading some of the blogs for a while, and finding the Geneabloggers community, I decided that a blog web presence would meet my needs more than a static type website.” 

Christopher’s Tips for New Bloggers

“If you are serious about writing about your research and history, then write! One piece of advice I have always heard from successful writers is that you have to write and you have to write every day, even if it is only 15 minutes a day. A blog is the perfect opportunity to put that advice into action.

Read every post out loud to yourself and have someone proofread every post before you hit that publish button. Reading your written words out loud can help identify little mistakes in sentence structure, flow problems, and meaning. Try it, I didn’t believe it myself at first, but you’ll be amazed at how different your written words sound out loud. My wife proofreads every post that I write and she is very honest in her constructive criticism, sometimes brutally honest. But, she always finds little mistakes that I made and tells me if everything makes sense and flows nicely.

Lastly, join the Geneabloggers community and follow and read the other blogs. You will get a lot of good information, tips, and ideas from what other bloggers are doing. When you find a post that you like or think is a great idea, leave a comment telling the author. Bloggers love getting that feedback and in return, they will probably start following your blog and leave you a comment. The more people you get reading and following your posts, the more chance of making those great cousin connections. I have made a few connections that I would not have made if it had not been for the blog.” 

Christopher’s Favorite Blog Posts

“The three listed below are my favorite posts, by far.  I guess what makes these my favorites are that each one is written more with emotion than the facts of doing research.

Blood is not Always Thicker when it comes to Family

Making Memories

Documenting the Present? – although I should be better at following my own advice. 

Christopher’s Time with the Ancestors

“Not nearly enough, as all would probably say. I probably spend an average of 8 -10 hours a week on family history related activities. The time I get each week changes with the different times of the year. My kids play baseball and soccer and I try to at least help out the coach if I am not actually coaching. So during those seasons my time at family history takes a back seat. But, no matter what time of year, I try to at least block out some time each week that I can do something family history related.” 

Christopher’s Favorite Ancestors

“It’s pretty hard to name a favorite ancestor, many come to mind. But, if I had to pick just one, right now, it would be my great grandmother, Anna Maria (Hinterhauser) Pakledinaz. She was born in a small German dominated village in what is now Hungary; at the time of her birth in 1890 it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When she was 19 years old, she decided to leave her mother and father and make a new life in the United States. The courage that must have taken fascinates me. Anna, along with my other grandparents and great grandparents that decided to make that trip across the ocean in the early 20th century is why me and my family can enjoy the freedoms and liberty that comes with living in this great nation.”  

What Christopher Loves Most About Genealogy

“There is a lot I love about researching my family history. The most enjoyment I have is making connections to times past. For instance, we live real close to and have visited Colonial Dorchester State Park here in South Carolina, a village founded back in 1696. However, we just recently made a connection through my wife’s ancestors to that very village. None of her ancestors lived there, that we are aware of yet, but the original settlers of that village named it after Dorchester, Massachusetts. Her ancestors are named as some of the original settlers of Dorchester, Massachusetts. It’s a small connection but it fascinates me.” 

Christopher’s Genealogy Bucket List

“Lots of travel! When I was in the Air Force and stationed in Germany, it afforded me a lot of opportunities to visit places and villages of my ancestors, opportunities that I just would not have had if I weren’t already in Europe. However, there just wasn’t enough time and/or money to visit everywhere and there are still places right here in the US to visit. So, I want to visit villages in what is now Hungary and Croatia, I want to go back to England and Wales, and we have to get up to Boston, where my wife can trace her ancestors back to the 1630s.” 

Christopher’s Time Capsule Message

“Nobody thinks their life is a story others want to know, but everyone has a story – don’t let yours die with you, your grandchildren will appreciate it.”

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Please take a moment to head over to Christopher’s blog, Diggin’ for Family and leave him a comment, letting him know you stopped by. Thank you Christopher for telling us about yourself and your blog.

© 2014, copyright Jana Last. All rights reserved.

Jana Last is a wife, mom and soon-to-be 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: Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, Grandpa’s Postcards, and Jana’s Place.  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

May I Introduce to You . . . Shannon Thomas

Shannon Thomas

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Shannon Thomas and her blog Our Life Picture By Picture, described as, “. . . A glimpse into the lives of those who came before me so it can be shared with those who come after me. Not only will you find information on my ancestors but you will also find occasional posts about me and my family.”

A Little About Shannon

“I grew up in a rural place in Pennsylvania called Shickshinny and now I live only about 30 minutes from there.  When I am not researching I work at an historic inn where I get to meet lots of wonderful people from all over.  I have been married to my husband, Jason, for 10 years but we have been together a little more 15 years. We have an almost 16 year old son, Hunter, and two fur babies. We live in the house that my husband grew up in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.”

What Got Shannon Started in Genealogy

“My husband and I were watching television one night and there was an Ancestry commercial on and I said that it would be neat to try it out and see what we could find. He said he would like to know more about his great uncle who died at Iwo Jima during World War II. We decided to check out Ancestry and see what it was all about and by day two of searching I was hooked! One discovery led to more questions that I needed to learn the answers to. I eventually started looking in to my own family history as well. I haven’t stopped since!”

Shannon’s Thoughts on Blogging

“My blog has gone through a few transitions since I started blogging in 2006. It started out as a place to share my photography, scrapbooking, and cross-stitching and has since turned into a family history blog. I enjoy being able to share my ancestors but I also like being able to help other with Evernote and Legacy Family Tree software through my blog. I’m always surprised (and excited) when I get an email from someone who has read my blog!”

Shannon’s Tips for New Bloggers

“My only advice is to just do it! Writing my blog has helped me in so many ways and not only with my research. It fulfills the need that I have to write, I have made a few friends along the way, and even made some cousin connections. It can be scary and you may even wonder if anyone will read it. Somewhere along the way someone will land on your blog but, even if no one reads it, you have a record for yourself.  Blogging is great research tool for me because sometimes I just need to put something on paper (or the web) for it to make sense. The big reward comes when someone reads that one thing that you wrote last week or even last year and contacts you!”

Shannon’s Favorite Blog Post(s)

“A blog post that I did in July of this year about the US Marine Casualty Cards database is one of my favorites because it was a great find that I was happy to share it with everyone. The best part came the next day when I was contacted by the USMC History Division about my post. They had some more information for me and told me where I could possibly find more information.

My second favorite is Signatures From Long Ago. Seeing my great-grandparents’ signatures brought back a lot of memories of them. I remember my great grandfather sitting at the little desk inside the kitchen door writing out checks to pay bills and how my great grandmother would write in her little notebooks every day.

When I did How I Use Evernote for My Genealogy I found out that a lot of people were interested in Evernote and its use in genealogy and that led to a few great opportunities for me.”

Shannon’s Time with the Ancestors

“I do something genealogy related everyday whether it is research, database cleanup, reading blogs, or writing for my own blog. There is not enough time to do all the stuff I would like to get done and, if I didn’t get distracted all the time by shiny genea-finds, I would probably accomplish more. I have a craft room / office that is also my genealogy cave (which contains more genealogy than the other stuff lately). My family jokes that if I had a refrigerator in there, I wouldn’t come out for days.”

Shannon’s Favorite Ancestors

“They are all my favorites!  My husband’s 3rd great-grandfather, Joseph Thomas, was killed during the Civil War. He and his wife and their children have been some of my favorites because there were and still are so many mysteries; some I have solved but those usually lead to more questions.  I’m lucky that the majority of our ancestors have stayed in this area and I have been fortunate enough to find some great newspaper articles at my local historical society.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Shannon’s Life

“Genealogy started out as just something fun but, once I got into the stories, I started to understand who our ancestors were and how we have a piece of each of them in us. I feel that I am more present when I am with my family and I cherish the memories that we are making. I have taken many photos and have been able to tell the stories that go with them. Sharing the photos and stories with my family gives us something that we will all enjoy for a long time.”

What Shannon Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love the thrill of the hunt! While it is sometimes frustrating, just when you think you have looked everywhere, you find a clue that points you to something else. I love learning the stories that go with the person. I love learning who they were and what their lives were like. I LOVE it all!”

Shannon’s Time Capsule Message

“Take photos but tell the story that goes with those photos; we want to know who is in the photo and where and why it was taken. Share your memories and stories so they can in turn be shared by the next generation.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Shannon’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Shannon is a generous and helpful teacher and her blog always shows how she approaches her research and how she uses technology tools to make her genealogy life better. Welcome Shannon, 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