I have the pleasure of introducing you to Claire V. Brisson-Banks and her blog, Budding Genealogists described as, “The Ancestral Guide for All Age Groups. Budding Genealogists will provide step by step guidance to help you regardless where you are in this new ancestral adventure. Whether you are just taking the first steps in your research, already started to do some research, would consider yourself to know a little bit or you are even a hobbyist, this blog hopes to provide practical guidance in all things genealogical.”
Claire, please tell us a little about yourself.
“I was born in Providence, RI and currently live in Independence, Missouri. I’m the oldest of 6, I had 6 children, 21 grandchildren and we had our first great grandchild this past August.”
How did you get started in genealogy?
“My interest stems from my husband. When we married he had been researching for a number of years and of course he shared it with me. I remember how I would wonder about my own genealogy as I didn’t even know my grandparents at the time, it was a natural progression from there as I began my journey into the field of genealogy.”
“At the time I was living in Australia and doing research from there was a matter of writing letters to my parents and relatives who were living in New England. It took a little longer than normal but I never gave up and once I started to learn all the information I was hooked. After moving back to the states, I was called as a Family History Director and had the opportunity to attend a FHC Directors’ training in Salt Lake City back in 1988 and the rest as they say is history”
When and why did you start your genealogy blog?
“While doing my masters I was introduced to Web 2.0 technologies. Additionally my “Cap Stone” project dealt with the melding of using technological tools to aid family history and genealogy research. I also had the opportunity to create an online learning tool for the FHL consultants while working there that was inspired through my Masters. Helping my colleagues learn how to use these wonderful new tools helped me realize there was a need to share that knowledge through a book which I wrote and through blogs. Additionally I had the opportunity to write many blogs while working at the Family History Library.”
I write many blogs to help genealogists, here are the links to all of them:
- Who will tell their stories?
- The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research
- Ancestral Quest: Cues and Clues for AQ
How did you choose the name for your blog?
“Over the years I’ve noticed many blogs being written, but not many to help those struggling and wanting to just get started, are a bit curious but overwhelmed by it all. Then there are those who are already dabbling but may need direction and guidance but they are not sure where to get it, they may even think of themselves as having a genealogical hobby. Add in all of the attention from multiple television shows and the commercials by Ancestry and I came up with “Budding Genealogists.”
What are your tips for new bloggers?
“If you make a commitment to do a blog, do it. Plan your time accordingly, don’t disappoint your readers. Let others know about your blog, post it in the various social media outlets. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge, it’s a good feeling to know that you are helping others who share a similar interest.”
Please tell us about your favorite post(s) on your blog.
“I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post as it is so easy to not recognize a great resource in our aging family members. From my own personal experiences listed below, I would not want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to spend time with an older living relative.”
“Personally I didn’t have an opportunity to interview my grandparents as I never met my dad’s parents and on my mom’s side, her mother passed away when she was 18 and not married.”
“We would visit her father at Christmas and that is all I knew of him, although he passed away when I was a teenager, I never thought to ask him anything relating to family history. I’m sure my mother filled me in on some information about him, however, most of what I learned was from his children later on in life, in fact their oldest child was very generous with her time and shared a lot of her memories with me of her parents, she was 15 years older than my mother.”
How much time do you spend on family history research?
“As this is my profession I spend an average of 35 to 40 hours a week and then some.”
Who is your favorite ancestor(s) and why?
“This one is difficult because my parents are my ancestors and I never knew my grandparents. The one who I admire and miss is my mother’s sister, Ozina. She was like the grandmother I never had and shared her knowledge with me of her parents and siblings. She also taught me how to sew, knit, crochet and showed me through example how to be a better person.”
How has genealogy improved your life?
“I know who I am and where my family comes from. It has helped me to understand why things were the way they were when growing up. I also have the opportunity to research for other’s ancestors through my company, Timeless Genealogies and to teach others how to do research through being an online professor at BYU-Idaho.”
What do you love the most about genealogy?
“I love the hunt, the detective work and then putting it all together for a client and seeing their eyes light up when they learn all about their ancestors.”
What family story or heirloom do you cherish?
“My Aunt Ozina gave me a hand embroidered tablecloth done by her mother, my grandmother. As she died when my mother was still in school I never knew her. It is the only thing I have from her.”
Besides major websites like Ancestry and FamilySearch, what research tool or source has been helpful in researching your family history?
“For my personal families I use all the Canadian resources out there and there are many. Quebec.com, The Olive Tree Genealogy, Canadiana.com for starters, however, both FamilySearch and Ancestry have a lot to offer those researching Canadian lines.”
Which genealogy blogs inspire you?
What interesting connections have you made through blogging?
“I’ve actually had people email me who were related to me from my “Who will tell their stories”, and others have told me in person how they follow my blogs and really enjoy all my posts as they always learn something they hadn’t known.”
What do you think is the most interesting change in the past ten years in genealogy/family history?
“The explosion of online records, so many online helps, hangouts, webinars and my favorite is all of the television exposure. In addition, I’ve seen various episodes where genealogy is used to solve a crime or be part of the solution. I feel like it is becoming more accepted as a profession in the business world, however, in the academic world not so much.”
What is on your genealogy bucket list?
- I’d like to visit some of the homelands of my ancestors and/or my husband’s and do additional research and perhaps meet family who stayed in the home country.”
- Be able to be a main presenter at some of the conferences. I’ve tried to get into NGS, FGS and the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Conference as my dad’s family is from Ottawa. To date I’ve had no luck but I do keep trying.
- I’d like to do an update to my book, The Social Media Guide to Ancestral Research: Using Web 2.0 Strategies. I think I would use the same name, drop the 2.0 and add II to the title to look like this: The Social Media Guide to Ancestral Research II: Using Web Strategies
If you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you tell them?
- Don’t wait to ask those questions about your family, start when you are curious. Don’t be afraid of asking as someday those ancestors will pass away.
- Plan and enjoy the things you do as a family, keep a journal about those memories you’ll appreciate it later
- Check out all the resources for youth to get involved, I helped create many of them at FamilySearch Wiki, here is the link to one of them: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Family_History_Activities_for_Children:_3-11#Fun_and_Games
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Please take a moment to head over to Claire’s blog, Budding Genealogists, and leave her a comment, letting her know you stopped by. Thank you Claire for telling us about yourself and your blog. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.
© 2016, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.