May I Introduce to You . . . Valerie Craft

Come meet genealogy blogger Valerie Craft, author of the Begin With Craft blog, in this interview by Michelle Taggart at GeneaBloggers.

I am excited to introduce to you Valerie and her blog, Begin with ‘Craft’, which Valerie describes as her “journey in genealogy.”  Valerie takes her readers along on her adventure as she researches her southern ancestors, particularly those who lived in Georgia and South Carolina.

A Little About Valerie

“I can trace my paternal family back 9 generations in Georgia, with many other lines arriving just after the Revolutionary War. My maternal lines were similarly situated in South Carolina. Because my ancestors immigrated to America so early, I don’t identify with any specific European ethnicity. Instead, because of my roots in the history of the South, I identify strongly as a Southerner.”

How Valerie Got Started in Genealogy

“I started researching my family history as part of a geography project in college. The assignment had a few different options, including showing how geography affected our family over five generations.  I didn’t know my grandmothers’ maiden name, let alone who my great great grandparents were. But my mom had been longing to research our family history and encouraged me to do the project.  From there, I was hooked and have been researching our family history for over 10 years.”

Valerie’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my genealogy blog as a “What’s New” section on my Rootsweb site.  From there, I found out about the Geneablogger community and moved to Blogger. I wanted a place to share my family finds and the strategies I used.”

Valerie’s Advice for New Bloggers

“I would say that it’s not necessarily about the length of your blog posts, but about the content. A short post that is well written, but only a paragraph long, can be more effective than a wordy and meandering post that doesn’t get to the point.  It can also be better to split up your content into a series of posts, rather than have readers lose interest in a post that takes an hour to slog through.  Also, and this is my preference, always include an image in your post. It adds visual stimulation, highlights the point you are making and can help attract viewers who see a link on Facebook, Google or another site that includes a thumbnail image.  If you don’t have a photo of your own, you can find images available through the creative common license at Flickr: Creative Commons.” 

Valerie’s Favorite Blog Post

“One of my most recent blog posts is Cabbagetown – Then and Now.  In this post I share my visit to the home of my great great grandparents and some unique photos – and the surprise I got afterwards.”

Valerie’s Favorite Ancestors

“I honestly don’t think I could pick just one favorite ancestor. I identify with different ancestors for different reasons: my great-aunt, Ollie Britt, who was a riveter during WWII, my Civil War ancestors whose footsteps I’ve walked on local battlefields, my 4th great-grandfather, Willis Craft, who represented his county in the Georgia State House, and my 6th great-grandfather, John Cash, through whom I joined the DAR.”

How Genealogy has Changed Valerie’s Life

“My research has taken me to places I wouldn’t have gone otherwise and connected me with people I would not have otherwise met.  It’s impossible to imagine what else I might be doing if I hadn’t started doing genealogy.  I’m an introvert who is nervous around new people and in new situations.  Although this remains true, I am much more outgoing and self-assured, thanks in part to my experiences with genealogy research.”

“I love that genealogy is like a puzzle. It takes hard work and determination, but when you figure it out, there is a sense of accomplishment. My work has benefited others and will continue to do so for years to come, from photographing headstones and adding them to, to transcribing records and uploading them to the internet for others to find, to buying old photos in antique stores and sending them back to their family, to simply being able to tell my own family who their ancestors were. I truly feel that I have accomplished something and that my research will be of benefit to others.”

Valerie’s Genealogy Bucket List

“I would love to travel overseas and do research in Europe, break through my Waters and Leaphart brick walls, travel to the Family History Library, and make some amazing DNA connections.”

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Please take time to head over to Valerie’s blog Begin with ‘Craft’ and leave a comment, letting her know you stopped by.  Thank you Valerie for sharing your thoughts and your blog with us!

© 2015, 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

May I Introduce to You . . . Julie Goucher

Come meet genealogy blogger Julie Goucher, author of the Orlando One Name Study blog, in this interview by Tessa Keough at GeneaBloggers.

Some readers have met Julie Goucher previously (her Anglers’ Rest blog was highlighted in 2013). But now for something a bit different – I have the pleasure of re-introducing you to Julie Goucher and her blog, Orlando One-Name Study. Julie’s blog is described as, “a way of sharing material I discover about the Orlando surname. There are some fascinating items that I have discovered along the way and the blog enables me to also share a little about the concept of a One-Name Study or surname research.”

A Little Bit About Julie

“I grew up in Surrey England where my maternal ancestors lived, as well as the neighbouring Counties of Hampshire and Sussex for around 300 years. My paternal line hails from a village in the centre of Sicily. I now live in a seaside town in Devon England.”

How Julie Got Started in Genealogy

“As a child I grew up visiting my Great Aunts, mainly from my maternal Grandfather’s side of the family. They shared stories and facts, the small incidental snippets that are almost irrelevant yet when put together with other random snippets build up a profile of an amazing family. I realised that whilst I knew quite a lot of my maternal line I knew very little about my Sicilian heritage. I started researching my family history in the summer of 1988 and since then I have never looked back!”

Julie’s Thoughts on Blogging

A blog is an opportunity to have a conversation with others around the globe. Whilst it appears to be quite an insular activity it is a real opportunity to share information and communicate with others about any chosen topic.

My Orlando blog is part of a process of my Orlando One-Name Study. In essence my blog is the shop window for my study, changing frequently and inviting conversation and visitors. I also have a website, Facebook group and DNA study – all of which tie in together, supporting and promoting my Orlando One-Name Study.”

Julie’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Creating a blog is an opportunity for self-expression. Remember it is your space – for sharing and inviting conversation. Always remember to engage with others, respond to comments left for you and leave comments for others. Use an image so that you have something to illustrate your blog. Remember to share amongst the various methods of social media. Be mindful of what you share on your blog about living people. Share what is comfortable to share.”

Julie’s Genealogy Bucket List

“I probably have a larger bucket genealogy list, but focusing on my one-name study, these are my top five:

  1. Spend some more time and focus on my Orlando DNA Study and increase the number of participants (anyone with the surname of Orlando out there?).
  2. Reduce the mound of paper that is the Orlando One-Name Study into a complete digital archive, with material on my blog and website with a set of material lodged with the Guild of One-Name Studies.
  3. Go back to my Orlando and Sicilian roots – spend some significant time in Sutera, Sicily devouring the records relating to my Orlando family.
  4. Complete a project that I commenced in 2002 about migration from Italy to the United Kingdom
  5. Expand participation in the Orlando Surname Facebook Group – and encourage the sharing of information and conversation across the globe.”

What Julie Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love that as a family historian and genealogist I can get as much out of my interest as I chose to and I firmly believe that we can only get out of something what we put in to it. There are no real rules to researching your ancestry. You can explore whatever line or ancestor that appeals and include those lines that are collateral ones. You can also develop your interests further and undertake research on a broad scale just like a one-name study or surname research.

I was a founding member of the Anglo Italian Family History Society and the Society’s Vice Chair for the first six years of its existence. I then made to the decision that I would undertake some broad research into my Italian surname of Orlando, so I joined the Guild of One-Name Studies and registered the surname of Orlando with two variants, Orlande and Orlanda. That was in 2002 and now thirteen years on the study has grown and continues to do so.

The biggest concentration of the surname outside of Italy is in the United States, but the reality is that there are examples of the surname of Orlando everywhere! I enjoy finding the material that makes its way into my study.

I recently spent three days at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2015 (the UK’s largest family history conference). Much of my time was spent on the Guild stand and we welcomed 56 new members, with surnames from all over Europe. Because of the collaborative nature of genealogy and the ease with which we able to meet up online (Facebook, Google+ and Twitter) we have so many opportunities to work with others on studies large and small. While technology has opened new doors, it is also so nice to meet up in person through conferences, seminars and local meetings. It is a wonderful time to be a genealogist.”

Julie’s Time Capsule Message

“There are two certainties in life; death and taxes! So my message is, take the time to plan how your research is going to be shared with others. Will it be archived in a way that others can access it?”

An Additional Message from Julie

“Sadly I didn’t take my own advice about planning how to share my research with others. Last year I started revisiting my own Orlando archive, making the decision to put my Orlando material online at my website and then share material via my blog.

I am also creating a master surname index which is stored in a spreadsheet and can be accessed via my website and blog. It’s early days, there are just under 800 entries in the spreadsheet, but the actual Orlando material sits at around 50,000 entries so I have a lot of typing to do!

I also have a newsletter which I write around four times a year and these can be downloaded from the website. There is a Face Book group and there is an Orlando DNA study available too

I am a firm believer that, in order to meet others researching the surname, the study needs to have a physical online presence and what better way to do that than to write a blog.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Julie’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Julie (as you may have noticed if you are on social media) is quite busy with her personal genealogy, her one-name study, her one-place study, her Book of Me project, and the Worldwide Genealogy blog (where she nudges several of us to commit to writing once a month on a topic of our choosing relating to genealogy and family history). I am so impressed with the many genealogists and family historians who share their time and talents with the rest of us – what great learning opportunities they provide. Welcome Julie, it’s great to have you here and it has been a pleasure getting to know you better.


© 2015, 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

May I Introduce to You . . . Angela Money

Come meet genealogy blogger Angela Money, author of Northern Mama: Family History ~ Family Life, in this interview by Gini Webb at GeneaBloggers.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Angela Money and her blog, Northern Mama: Family History ~ Family Life, described as, “. . . Part mystery, part history, and a whole lot of family, genealogy is not solely academic but personal. Understanding the origins of my family has empowered me in unexpected ways.  It has forged greater bonds with family members, and created an environment of open communication and storytelling.  This is what I wish to share with my readers.  Genealogy is not just history in action; The loving creation of family memories!”

A Little About Angela

“Born in Ontario, Canada and currently living in Saskatchewan, Canada.

I am a creature of contradictions! I am a professional who is a home-body; A mother of three–nine if you include horses, dog and cats–with an independent spirit; An academic nerd with a love of the stylish and the aesthetic.  I am a modern woman who cherishes antiquity. A former ‘mommy-blogger,’ I realized imparting my ‘infinite mommy wisdom’ and advertising products–which were beyond necessity–was not my niche.  I wanted to write; Write about my passions which included both my family and that which inspired me in life.  I am an archaeologist and a teacher, a writer, and an artisan, but my latest passion seems to encompass it all–genealogy!”

How Angela Got Started in Genealogy

“I suppose I have only been actively pursuing genealogical research for 5 years, however–in a much more subtle and inadvertent way– I have been collecting family history since I was a child.  I like to say my Grandmother, Madeline Grace (nee Blancher) Carter, was a family historian in her own right.  She felt it important to record all significant family dates—births, marriages, deaths.  She also kept a record of all the places she–and my Grandfather, Harold Thomas Carter–worked and lived.  She was full of family lore and she collected and protected old family photos, the family bible, as well as heirloom glass pieces from her ancestors.  I would say she set the kindling which sparked the fire, which was to be my genealogy obsession.

The spark which lit the fire however, ignited 5 years ago when my son came home from school bombarding me with questions regarding our genealogy.  He had a family history project to complete for class and being the actively involved, educated parent that I am, I began to bequeath to my son the wealth of family tales and knowledge my Grandmother had bestowed upon me.  It was at this time that I realized there were huge gaps in my knowledge, and my husband was not quite so aware about his side of the family.  And so it was, I took my research skills as an archaeologist, got a subscription to, and began to run with my interest!”

Angela’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I began blogging years ago as a ‘Mommy Blogger’ but later decided that was becoming mundane. It was only about a month ago that I decided to re-enter the blogging world but this time as a genealogy blogger.  I have always had a passion for writing; I am one of those people who was going to write a great novel but time got away from me and life got in the way!  I have not completely dismissed this dream, but in the meantime I think blogging is a wonderful incentive to write daily.  Genealogy is also a passion of mine so I thought why not combine these two passions? “

Angela’s Advice to New Bloggers

“My tip for new genealogy bloggers would be to write for yourself; Write what you are passionate about and what you personally are experiencing.  I realize for many blogging is a business.  It is an enterprise in gaining readers and achieving notoriety.  While there is nothing ignoble about this it can be draining and can divert your focus from your true interests to constantly guessing what others want and expect.  Be authentic!  I know from ‘Mommy blogging’ that worrying about what others think and focusing on stats can make a person miserable and cause you to forget what you loved about blogging in the first place.”

Angela’s Favorite Blog Posts

“My favourite post? That’s a difficult one.  My favourite would probably be my continuing Thriller Thursday serial (which of course is a group of postings).  They are just fun to write as they read like a ‘penny awful’.  I guess I will say the latest in the series (but you can always follow the links there to the earlier posts in the saga): My most popular post however was a Tuesday Tips post about using Evernote to create a Brick Wall Ancestors File.”

Angela’s Time with Ancestors

“My research time varies remarkably from week to week. I am a mom of three very active children, my husband has a very demanding job with a crazy schedule, and I work part time, so I guess I just fit it in between everything else!  I also have many hobbies . . . yes, a novice of all trades, a master of none! I do spend many hours of my leisure time doing online research and I make a trip to the local library at least once a week.  I am unfortunate to live away from my home town and I know I would spend even more research time in museums, archives, and libraries if I lived nearer the homes of my ancestors.”

Angela’s Favorite Ancestor

“My favourite ancestor (aside from those I knew and loved myself) would have to be my Great-Grandfather, Thomas Carter.  His life was a difficult one: his mother dead, his father hanged, life in a workhouse and then Fegan’s Home for Boys, and from there he was shipped overseas to Canada.  A 10 year old boy on his own, an indentured servant in a strange new land, I am proud of his endurance.  His life has provided me with great research opportunities and amazingly rich genealogical investigation!  There are others, but I think the breakthroughs I made in the research of my Great-Grandfather and his family were among the most exciting!”

How Genealogy Has Improved Angela’s Life

“Genealogy has improved my life in many ways.  It has been fulfilling to provide my family with roots—particularly my children.  It has provided me a great outlet for my research skills and interests in history and writing.  I have become the keeper of family lore and knowledge which is a position in our families which I take very seriously.  Honestly, it is just thrilling being able to bring my ancestors to life in vivid colour and detail, from what may seem the most inert and inanimate objects—documents and scraps of that which they have left behind!”

What Angela Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love pursuing Family History!  What I love most and what I think has created my obsession is the discovery of stories.  Just like on those genealogy television shows we enjoy so much, we are discovering, piecing together, and resurrecting the stories of those who may well have been forgotten and unknown otherwise.  It’s the stories and the detective work it takes to find them which enthralls me!”

Angela’s Genealogy Bucket List

“My Genealogy Bucket List would have to include travel!  My husband and I took a second honeymoon a year and a half ago to England. We spent some of that time exploring the haunts of our ancestors.  This was a beautifully cathartic experience.  Walking in the footsteps of our ancestors is something I want to repeat.  Travel to France and Belgium, England, Scotland, and Ireland are on my bucket list, and eventually–when time permits–we would like to spend some of that travel time exploring archives and libraries in these foreign climbs!”

Angela’s Time Capsule Message

“If I were to leave a message for future generations . . . well I think it might be a novel!  A simple message can turn into page after page due to my ‘wordy’ personality (as you’ve probably guessed).  I hope to write a bit of a biography for future generations and I hope to live a long, full life so I can–like my Grandmother–share family tales with my Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren.  I suppose like everyone my simple message would be this, ‘Don’t forget me!’ and ‘Remember, that you are your own individual and truly not the sum of all your ancestors; However, you can learn much from their history, and your family roots.  Whether it be endurance and survival, human resilience or fallibility, humility or self-confidence, those characteristics our ancestors’ represent to us can also inspire us in our lives and allow us to forgive our human weaknesses!’

Oh, and I’ll be leaving my family tree research with the instruction that it drive someone else’s obsession in a future generation!!”


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

© 2015, 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.