May I Introduce to You . . . Cheryl Cayemberg

Come meet genealogy blogger Cheryl Cayemberg, author of Have You Seen My Roots, in this interview by Wendy Mathias at GeneaBloggers.

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 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 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

May I Introduce to You . . . Kathleen Gregory

Come meet genealogy blogger Kathleen Gregory, author of the Ancestry Search blog, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Kathleen Gregory and her blog, Ancestry Search, described as, “. . . Follow me on my journey to find ancestors and the documents they left behind to be discovered.”

Kathleen, tell us a little about yourself

“I was born in Enid, Oklahoma the second child of my parents. I have lived in five states: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and currently in Missouri. My second great grandparents migrated to Missouri in the 1800s and moved on west to Kansas and Oklahoma. Funny how I am back in the state from which they migrated! I have been married for almost 33 years; I have two grown children and seven grandchildren.”

How did you get interested in doing your family history?

“I became interested in genealogy when Farm Woman magazine ran an article on this topic in 1985.  That was 31 years ago. I have a lot of large binders that I still need to organize.”

When and why did you start a genealogy blog?

“I lost my job and felt like I needed to take some time off.  I didn’t know what to do with my time and my daughter suggested I blog about my favorite pastime, genealogy.  It was my hope that I would be able to help solve my brick walls and connect with new found cousins.”

Kathleen, what research tool or resource has been particularly helpful in researching your family history?

“I like Internet Archive, Chronicling America (newspapers) and e-books for online research. One of my favorite resources is newspapers and I love reading the old microfilm. Community news columns are the best at offering clues to possible family relationships.  Newspapers place a person in a location at a specified time. “

Kathleen, do you have any tips for new genealogy bloggers?

“I love reading others’ blogs about their discoveries, trials and tribulations.  We all learn from each other so don’t be afraid to share your failures as well as your triumphs!”

What other genealogy blogs inspire you?

“The Armchair Genealogist; her February writing challenge has inspired me to ask more question so I can write stories about my family.  Ask a Genealogist, The Legal Genealogist, and so many more! I subscribe to other blogs and study them for helpful hints to some of my brick walls. I would love one day to blog full-time!”

Please tell us about your favorite post on your blog.

“The one that has seen the most views is Surname Saturday Louthan Red Headed Hero of Scotland.  The point of this post was to bring to light that all of the information published on the Louthan surname was based on one person’s writings. This is probably true for many others’ family histories, as well.”

How much time do you spend on family history research?

“I don’t get to spend as much time on research as I would like. I try for a couple of hours each week.”

Kathleen, who is your favorite ancestor and why?

“I have tried for 31 years to solve the mystery of my Louthan line. No records to connect my line with any of the others I have found. Alleged brothers married sisters. The wives were sisters but no proof the husbands were brothers. It is one of the mysteries I hope to solve with my blog.”

What family heirloom or story do you cherish?

“I cherish two family heirlooms, an American Fostoria cake stand that belonged to my maternal grandmother and a butter churn that belonged to my paternal great grandmother.”

In what ways has genealogy improved your life?

“Genealogy gave me a sense of purpose and a focus. I feel accomplished when I uncover a record that makes the connection I was seeking, or makes me think about the next step I need to take. There are a lot of strategies in genealogy research that make me a better researcher in general, no matter the topic. Skills I can use in every day.”

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

“I love learning everything I can about my family history; to answer who, what, when, where and why. I love learning about their migrations from the Northeast to the Midwest; their service to their country in wars; and farming the land during the dust bowl.”

What is on your genealogy bucket list?

“I would like to visit all of the places my ancestors lived.”

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

“I think it is important for future generations to know the importance of their family history.  They need to know their ancestors live on in them, in their DNA. Family is more than those who live within your household; your family stretches far behind you and ahead of you. That is awesome!”


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

© 2016, 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 . . . Colleen Murdoch

Come meet genealogy blogger Colleen Murdoch, author of Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches, in this interview by Michelle Taggart at GeneaBloggers.

Today I would like for you to meet Colleen Murdoch of Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches. On her blog Colleen takes us with her on her journey back in time as she traces her ancestors and researches the counties, cities and towns where they lived.

Colleen takes a glimpse into her ancestors’ lives, stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash'”!  On a Mystery Monday blog post, Colleen shared the poem “Faces Without a Name… THE DASH” :

“I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning – to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the second with tears,
but he said that what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.”

Colleen, tell us a little about yourself:

I was born and raised in Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.  In 1971, just a few days after my tenth birthday, my family immigrated to a small town in Ontario, Canada.  Two years later, due a family tragedy, we returned to Northern Ireland to live in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim – my paternal family’s hometown.  I loved living there with my paternal grandparents “just up the road” and my maternal family, a relatively short car ride away.  It was wonderful being surrounded by my family once again.  Just two short years later we, once again, were making the transatlantic trip to Canada – something I would have much preferred not to do!

“In 1981, just before my 21st birthday, I ventured out of the family home and small town Ontario for the “big city” of Ottawa.  I love Ottawa and the life I have built here with my soon to be eighteen year old daughter and my husband.  Interestingly, I still think of Ireland as home and when we travel there I’m known to say, “I’m going home.” Of course when we return to Ottawa, “I’m going home” too!  My birth country and Canada both fill a little piece of my heart.”

Tell us a little about your blog Colleen:

“I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us, I didn’t ask enough questions when elderly family members were still living.  Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen!

“I’m researching many family lines including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson & Elvin, just to name a few.  My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry.  However, it seems that many of my family, both maternal and paternal lines, “hailed” from Co. Donegal.”

How long have you been doing Genealogy/Family History?  How did you get interested or started in doing your family history/genealogy and why did you start or create a genealogy blog?

“I have always been interested in and wanting to research my family history, and have been collecting information for years.  This may be due, in part, to feeling “exiled” from my homeland and family. So, about six years ago, I decided to put all the information I had accumulated into a “manageable” format and joined Ancestry!

“This journey has grown into something quite unexpected. I have never been interested in researching only names and dates – I needed to build a story of the lives of those who had gone before me. I wanted to know how they spent their “Dash”!

“When starting my journey back in time, I wasn’t prepared for, nor had I expected it to be, an emotional trip!  In fact, I hadn’t even considered it. While collecting photos of my family who were more recently deceased, I knew that would bring up emotion, which it inevitably did. However, to feel a sense of sadness or pain for a great great grandparent who died in 1894… that I certainly hadn’t anticipated!

“I have cried many tears over ancestors who I never knew and wish I had known.  I have learned of family who died in workhouses, War Heroes who died in WWI and those who led a simple, but seemingly happy life.

“Since I am curious by nature, my family research then turned into a historical one – as I believe it should in order to build a true picture of the lives of my ancestors.  This in turn compelled me to start writing about them and the lives they led. I wanted to “remember” them.”

I am bound to them
Though I cannot look into their eyes
Or hear their voices
I honour their history
I cherish their lives
I will tell their story
I will remember them!

Author – Unknown

The added bonus of creating my Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches Blog and Facebook page is that so many others seem to be enjoying it as well. Through my page I have found family and connected family – those who were brave enough to marry us!”

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Please take a moment and visit Colleen’s blog Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches. Leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by. Thank-you Colleen for sharing your blog and your thoughts with us!

© 2016, copyright Michelle Ganus Taggart, All rights reserved 

Michelle Ganus Taggart lives in Kaysville, Utah, where she enjoys the beautiful outdoors, time with family and researching her ancestors.  She shares her passion for her southern research in her blog, A Southern Sleuth.  Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . . “ series?  If so, contact Michelle  via email