May I Introduce to You . . . Callum Leslie

Come meet genealogy blogger Callum Leslie, author of the Intertwining Branches genealogy blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

May I Introduce to You . . . Callum Leslie

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Callum Leslie and her blog, Intertwining Branches, described as, “. . . I write about the lives my ancestors led. I don’t just share those, however, I also like to share poignant or often funny finds, not necessarily relevant to my family.”

Callum, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

“I was born just outside of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. I have lived here my entire life, in the area where the majority of my ancestors have lived and worked for centuries. Both my paternal and maternal grandfathers had Irish roots, but there is also a little bit of Scottish thrown in.”

How long have you been doing genealogy and how did you get started?

“I began my journey into family history at Easter 2009. I was fourteen-years-old at the time, and it was the day before Easter half-term at school. My school put on a range of activities and I picked family history. I was already keen on history, and had always wondered what my ancestors had gotten up to, and whether they witnessed any significant moments in history – (they did!) Because I was at school at the time, I am lucky to know the exact date and approximate time I began researching, as it was all written down in my school planner.”

When and why did you start your genealogy blog?

“I started my blog right at the beginning of 2015, solely to document my findings and research. I also wanted to put my research into a narrative format, so family members could read and understand their ancestors better. Ancestors are so much more than born, married, died, and it’s important to show that, I believe.”

Callum, how did you choose the name for your blog?

“I chose Intertwining Branches because that’s exactly what my family tree looks like, or feels like, sometimes. My paternal grandmother’s family lived in the same seaside village for centuries, in a very tight, close-knit community. Over the years there are a number of cousins marrying each other, and so many, many shared ancestors. In this particular village, I am related to the majority people.”

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

“I think one underrated website is FreeREG, which has many transcriptions of parish registers from across the UK. It’s a brilliant resource, but always make sure to double-check the original document!”

Do you have any tips for new genealogy bloggers?

“Just do it. Write about what you know, and sometimes what you don’t. The genealogy blogging community is a lovely and welcoming one, and people are so keen to read stories and share experiences. Your experiences with a certain record set or document can be invaluable, and inspire others to look where they previously hadn’t.”

Callum, what other genealogy blogs inspire you?

KindredPast – Sue writes brilliant and informative posts, and I have enjoyed reading every post. There are a few ‘how- tos’ and also posts about the methods behind Sue’s research. Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog – I enjoy reading Jana’s posts also. I find out about a lot of genea-news from her.”

What has been your most exciting genealogy discovery in your research?

“My 3x great-grandfather was good friends with a local dignitary. In the early 1860s they went to Melbourne, Australia, together. They returned a few years later on the famous SS Great Britain, which was carrying precious cargo – gold! I can’t be certain the gold was discovered by them, but after that my 3x great-grandfather called himself a ‘gentleman’ and was left a £2000 legacy by his noble friend. £2000 was a massive amount for a humble fisherman. I actually haven’t written a blog post on this yet, so spoilers!”

Callum, what are your favorite posts on your blog?

A Grand Old Man. A brief biography on my 2x great-grandfather, Adam Storey, and also my first blog post. He was a brilliant man, and I felt like I needed to tell his story.

Lady of Sorrow. A blog post dedicated to Martha Renner (née Robinson), my 4x great-grandmother and Adam Storey’s grandmother. She was an incredibly resilient and hardy woman, who lived such a tragic life.”

How much time are you able to spend on your research?

“I spend every moment of free time on research. If I disappear for an hour or two, you better believe I’m scrolling through indexes or knocking on my ancestor’s doors in the census.”

Who are your favorite ancestors?

“Two of my favourite ancestors have previously been mentioned; Adam Storey and Martha Renner. Adam because he genuinely seems like a lovely man. He was 97-years-old when he died in 1951, so within living memory for a lot of people. I have talked with many people who actually knew him. Martha because her tale is a tragic one, and surely her heart must have been broken by the end of it all, but still she lived on. That makes her all the more endearing to me, somehow. Another of my favourites is my 3x great-grandmother, Margery Barrass (née Turnbull). She inherited the lease to a pub when her father-in-law and husband died, and under her the pub thrived! She was incredibly hospitable, and a real matriarchal figure to me. So many descendants have been named in her honour, and the name is still around in my immediate family today.”

Callum, what family story or heirloom do you cherish most?

“We have a spill vase in my family which originally belonged to my great-grandmother. It depicts a cow and horse drinking from a trough, and is known affectionately in the family as ‘the coo and horse!’”

In what ways has genealogy improved your life?

“I think genealogy has made me more perceptive and sympathetic, and I think that’s always a good thing. Genealogy has also taught me so much about history, particularly social history, and historical events my ancestors lived through.”

What do you love most about doing your genealogy?

“I think it’s the feeling when you discover something new and amazing, or when you finally break down a brick wall. I also enjoy telling family members about my discoveries.”

Callum, what is on your genealogy bucket list?

“When I first started researching, I probably would have said that I’d like to find a link to Royalty. I still would in some ways – think of the records, for example! I think I’d like to find an ancestor I could be proud of. Someone who did something good, or was ahead of their time. I’d also like to find an ancestor who perhaps influenced a famous historical figure and helped them to succeed. Selfishly, that would give me the opportunity to discover and tell their story.”

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Please take a moment to visit Callum’s blog, Intertwining Branches. Be sure to leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Callum, 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 . . . Steven J. Hanley

Come meet blogger Steven J. Hanley of The Psychogenealogist blog as interviewed by Jana Last at GeneaBloggers!

May I Introduce to You . . . Steven J. Hanley

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Steven J. Hanley, Ph.D. and his blog, The Psychogenealogist, described as, “Exploring the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge. One story at a time.”

Steven, please tell us a little about yourself.

“I was born in Ohio. Growing up my family moved several times between Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. I currently live outside of Detroit, Michigan. Most of my family ancestors who came to the U.S. made their way through Michigan in some way or another.”

How did you get started in genealogy?

“In 5th grade we did a genealogy project. I remember my parents helping me map out our family tree on an large piece of poster board. It is probably rolled up somewhere in my basement right now. So, I think the interest was there from an early age. I remember the first time I discovered Ancestry.com. I literally stayed up all night (which I never do) excited by each new shaking green leaf that would pop up. That was probably about 10 years ago. Last year I did my first DNA test and that is when I think I became hooked and had the idea to start The Psychogenealogist.”

When and why did you start your genealogy blog?

“As I began exploring my personal genealogy more seriously I realized there were SO MANY stories to tell. I discovered so many interesting people that I wanted to learn more about. It occurred to me that as a professional psychologist and psychotherapist I spend most of my day helping people tell their stories. There seemed to be a natural convergence of these two fields and I wanted to explore that in a creative way.”

How did you choose the name for your blog?

“The name of the blog just kind of emerged. There is a field of “psychogenealogy” that aims to examine how the lives of our ancestors, who we may never have known, influence us today. I am fascinated with this question from a personal and professional perspective. I would like to help people find and tell their stories.”

What are your tips for new bloggers?

“Just write! Try to get out of your own way. There are no bad ideas and there are no perfect blog posts. I’ve struggled with some perfectionistic tendencies that have interfered with my creativity. Write about things that grab your attention. Explore the unanswered questions.”

Please tell us about your favorite post(s) on your blog.

“There are SO many posts I want to write. A couple recent ones that I really enjoyed are:

“Both are about ancestors of mine that I knew little to nothing about. It was exciting to learn about them. Both posts showcase some different genealogy research techniques that I think will help others learn and tell their own family stories.”

How much time do you spend on family history research?

“Sometimes it feels like too much, other times it is not enough! I have a full time psychotherapy private practice and a young family so it is difficult to find the time to research all of the areas I would like to. For example, I have large groups of ancestors from Ireland, Greece, Poland, Germany, and a smattering of other countries. I’ve explored most of them but haven’t even scratched the surface with the Germans. It is on my list.”

How has genealogy improved your life?

“An unexpected benefit of studying genealogy is how it has enriched the relationships I have with my family today. I love sharing what I have found and family members genuinely appreciate it. I have talked to distant cousins and even connected with some that I didn’t know even existed.”

What family story or heirloom do you cherish?

“There is an old photo (I will attach) of the Hanley Tavern, probably taken in the early 1940s (just a guess). It was bar run by my family that was attached to the home of my 2nd great-grandparents. They settled in Atlantic Mine, Michigan, in the heart of Upper Peninsula copper mining country. It was hanging in my grandfather’s den before he passed away. Now it hangs above my piano in the office so I get to look at it often.”

Besides major websites like Ancestry and FamilySearch, what research tool or source has been helpful in researching your family history?

“I love all the newspaper clipping websites. They all have their plusses and minus. The one I use most though is probably Newspapers.com. Seeking Michigan is also a helpful one for many of my Michigan roots.”

Which genealogy blogs inspire you?

“There was a blog that caught my attention a few years ago called Freud’s Butcher: A Blog About Genealogy, Psychology, and Meat.”

“The title is fantastic. The fact that it is really good writing and interesting stories is a bonus.”

“The other is Michigan’s Past who I follow on Facebook and Twitter. There is some prolific Michigan history content curation going on there.”

What do you think is the most interesting change in the past ten years in genealogy/family history?

“Without a doubt it is DNA testing. It wasn’t until my first DNA test last year that my interest in genealogy really went into overdrive.”

What is on your genealogy bucket list?

“There is no one trip I would like to take or site I need to see. If anything, I would wish for a large chunk of fully funded and uninterrupted time to do research and writing. A trip to Ireland, Greece, or Poland would be nice too.”

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

“There is a quote I have on the home page of The Psychogenealogist attributed to Madeleine L’Engle. I can’t think of a better way to say it:

‘If you don’t recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor your own stories and tell them too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are.’”

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Please take a moment to head over to Steven’s blog, The Psychogenealogist and leave him a comment, letting him know you stopped by. Thank you Steven 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 . . . Barbara Garrett

Come meet genealogy blogger Barbara Garrett, author of the Digging For My Roots genealogy blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

May I Introduce to You . . . Barbara Garrett

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Barbara Garrett and her blog, Digging for My Roots, described as, “. . . A little of this and that, helping me to sort out my family history, with the hope that it is interesting to my readers, too.”

Barbara, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

“I was born in a little backwater town on the Mojave Desert and now live in the Los Angeles area. I’m a wife of 39 years, a mom of three grown children, all married, and the grandmother of six little people.”

How did you get started in genealogy?

“I think my love for genealogy was planted in me early, but it lay dormant until about five years ago. I remember as a little girl that my Nanna, when meeting someone new, would often ask, ‘Now, who are your people?’ She knew that where you came from, the story of your ‘people’, would help her to know and understand better the person in front of her.

About five years ago, my husband and I took a trip to the Isle of Man, where his great-grandparents had immigrated from in the 1850s. My husband had been talking about a visit to the island ever since we got married. So, we finally did it, and it was one of the best vacations we have ever had. We stayed in a little bed-and-breakfast just down the hill from the island’s one national museum archive, where we were shown his grandparent’s original marriage registry and the deed of sale for their property that financed their voyage to America. We were shown out the museum window where their home once stood, now the car park for the Manx Museum. We walked up the hill to the church where his great-grandparents had been married, and we stood by the grave where his 3-and 4-times great-grandmothers were buried in the same spot.

It was amazing to us to discover that there are stories, our stories, filed away in a museum, or on a dusty shelf somewhere, just waiting to be discovered and told.

That visit began a huge passion in me to find our families’ histories. A passion to pass on to my grandchildren that they weren’t just dropped into time and space, that there were people, their people, whose collective decisions brought all of us today to the family we have now.”

When and why did you start your genealogy blog?

“I began my blog a little over a year ago, hoping that I could share stories and perhaps find some extended family.”

How did you choose the name for your blog?

“It was the one name that I thought of that was available!”

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

“My best sources have been other family members! Once my family learned that I was interested in genealogy, I became the go-to person to pass on bits and pieces. I think it quite common to have little bits of ephemera spread about in an extended family, but no one knows what to do with it all. So, I think family members can be quite relieved to find a repository for it all, and they won’t have to store it anymore!”

Do you have any tips for new genealogy bloggers?

“Spell check! ;-)”

Barbara, what other genealogy blogs inspire you?

“I follow quite a few genealogy blogs and podcasts, and I like them all!

For my French-Canadian research, I like Genealogy a la Carte (blog) and Maple Stars and Stripes (podcast).

For my Norwegian research, I read Norwegian Genealogy and Then Some, by Martin Roe Eidhammer.

A great site for general genealogy is Genealogy Gems, with Lisa Louise Cooke.”

What has been your most exciting genealogy discovery in your research?

“About 19 years ago, when I had first started with my job, I had an overnight stay in Morristown, New Jersey. Being a West Coast gal, I had never been to New Jersey, let alone Morristown, nor had I ever heard of it. I fell instantly in love and called my husband to tell him that I wanted to move there. I had several more opportunities to visit over the next few years, and each time, I loved that little town more. Fast forward to about a year ago, when I was researching my Gard family for my DAR application. My Revolutionary War patriot is/was Jeremiah Gard, whose family was one of the early settlers in Morristown! I had goosebumps. My family’s history is in the Combined Records of the First and Second Presbyterian Churches of Morristown, several ancestors are buried in churchyards there, and a few of them even died in the same dysentery outbreak that killed so many of General Washington’s troops quartered there.”

Barbara’s favorite blog post.

“I honestly don’t think I have a favorite; I think I am finding my voice and becoming more comfortable, though.”

How much time do you get to spend on research?

“I research in fits and starts. I find that I am like a bloodhound: I need a scent to follow, a reason for my rooting around. In the past, my goals have included qualifying for the DAR and finding out more about my uncle, a Pearl Harbor survivor, in order to write a book for him for Father’s Day 2016. I am now pondering where I want to go next, and I find I am getting excited about digging into my French-Canadian roots and the many ‘Filles du Roi’ in my family tree.”

Barbara, do you have any favorite ancestors?

“Oh, I can’t play favorites!”

What family story or heirloom do you cherish?

“I have my Nanna’s copper letter opener on my desk and use it often.”

In what ways has genealogy improved your life?

“It has given me a rich appreciation of my ancestors and what they endured so that I can live this life.”

Barbara, what do you love most about doing your genealogy?

“I love making books to pass these stories on to my grandchildren and family members. I especially want my grandchildren to know that they come from somewhere and someone, that the struggles or pleasures they enjoy today were shared by those who came before them.”

What is on your genealogy bucket list?

“I really hope that our next genealogy travel can be to Norway. I’d love to see where my great-great-grandparents came from, to visit the farm they left, and to find more family!”

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

“You are not alone. The life experiences (loss, grief, love, success…) you are having are shared by those who came before you; the experiences that they lived through and survived have helped to shape you. Respect and honor that.”

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