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

May I Introduce to You . . . Mary Kircher Roddy

Come meet blogger Mary Kircher Roddy of Searching for Stories interviewed by Jana Last at GeneaBloggers

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Mary Kircher Roddy and her blog, Searching for Stories described as, “Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.”

Mary, please tell us a little about yourself.

“I was born in San Rafael, California. After college in Riverside, California (where I met my husband) and graduate school in Austin, Texas, we moved to Seattle. We thought we’d be here for five years while Mark was in graduate school but come June we’ll have been here 31 years.”

How did you get started in genealogy?

“In 1994, when my son was in preschool, I met another mom, Barb, who was into genealogy and she tried to suck me in, but I resisted the temptation. But in 2000 my husband was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach at the University of Limerick during his sabbatical from Seattle U. I was sure while Mark was teaching and the kids were in school I could do all my Irish genealogy. As I’m sure you can guess, I didn’t know enough names, dates and places before we went to Ireland to make much headway, but I was totally bitten by the bug and I’ve been at it ever since.”

When and why did you start your genealogy blog?

“I started my blog when I was at SLIG in 2016. On our three sabbaticals I’d kept something of a blog of our adventures (when I first started, “blog” wasn’t even a word), but I hadn’t really ever kept a genealogy blog. I kind of saw genealogy blogging as just one more thing I “should” do, and I wasn’t sure I could keep up with it. But while I was at SLIG I talked to people about it, and Judy Russell gave a wonderful talk about sharing the stories of the children who didn’t make it, and that talk just really clarified for me why I needed to keep a blog. I had stories, some about children, some about people who never had children, some about my family that perhaps my cousins didn’t know about, and I realized all those stories needed to be told.”

How did you choose the name for your blog?

“As long as I’ve been doing genealogy it’s been all about the story for me. I’ve followed stories and done research on people that were not related to me because I was interested in the story. Maybe they somehow interacted with my family or maybe they were just on the same page of the newspaper as my family but the story caught my eye. One story I have researched extensively had to do with a young railroad fireman, Phil Redmond, who was badly scalded in a train wreck and wound up in the hospital. I ran across his name because his uncle, who had been a pall bearer when my grandmother’s wee cousin was buried, went to visit Phil in the hospital. As I researched Phil, I created a list of the many people who donated skin for Phil and discovered my grandfather was one of the donors. If I hadn’t searched for the story of Phil, I never would have learned about the selfless act of my grandfather.”

What are your tips for new bloggers?

“Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I decided I couldn’t be an every-day blogger, but that I could do two days a week. I have “Sunday Stories” and “Tuesday Techniques” where I talk about the tips I use to find the stories. Even twice a week can be a bit daunting, but having committed to that, I know it’s a reasonable goal and I do manage to get it done. I tend to try to write a couple of blog posts one day a week.”

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

“I think my favorite posts were the ones I wrote about a baby in the family that drowned and the effect that death had on her family. The ripples from that loss extended generations beyond the event.”

How much time do you spend on family history research?

“Too much. It’s nice that I have a very supportive husband.”

Who is your favorite ancestor(s) and why?

“Right now, probably my great-great grandfather, John Fields. When I was a little girl, a great picture of him hung in my great-aunt’s house, and now I have that picture hanging in mine. I’ve found a few obituaries of him with tauntingly sparse details. I NEED to know more, and from the sparkle in his eye in the picture, I think he’s purposefully withholding information. Which just makes me want it all the more.”

How has genealogy improved your life?

“I have met some wonderful people by doing this. I’m all about Bagging a Live One and I have been able to connect with some cousins that no one in my family knew existed.”

What do you love the most about genealogy?

“Two things – I love the connections to history. Words like “Prohibition” and “Famine” and “World War II” are huge concepts, but when we find an ancestor involved or affected by these events, it humanizes that history and makes it come alive. And I love the connection with the human psyche – we may wear different clothes or style our hair differently, but at the end of the day, we all have the same hopes and dreams for our families; we like people because they did this, but not that. I’ve seen people written out of wills because they were mean to someone or married the wrong guy, and I’m sure that 2000 years ago and 2000 years hence, someone will still be getting written out of a will for the same reason.”

What family story or heirloom do you cherish?

“I have a number of things I cherish, hard to choose, but among them is a small, leather-bound bible from my great-grandmother. It is written in German. Several years ago I scanned a few pages of the bible, including the page where she wrote of her marriage, and made a collage of those scans. I was able to print out the collage and cut it into the shape of angel wings and share that will all my cousins. I’m glad I could pass on a piece of her to her descendants.”

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

“I love love love newspaper research. I use the California Digital Newspaper Collection and Fulton History.  And I use Linkpendium at least several times a week.”

Which genealogy blogs inspire you?

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

“The ever-increasing amount of material that FamilySearch is putting online. I find myself continually circling back to check again for what else new might be available to look at.”

What is on your genealogy bucket list?

  1. Who or what? Ha ha. Will the parents of Jane Graham Ahern please stand up?
  2. Figure out what  that place in County Meath where John Fields came from is. His obituary said “26 miles from Dublin” but didn’t name it.
  3. Get a chance to speak at a national conference (and perhaps even the Australasian Congress in Sydney 2018)

An Additional Message from Mary

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is the chance to “do what they did.”  I got a chance to spend a week sailing on a tall ship (The Bounty) and felt a bit like my ancestors might have in the 18th and 19th centuries when they crossed the pond. I’ve also had the chance to drive a steam locomotive through an Engineer for a Day program – Sumpter Valley Railroad Engineer For A Day Calendar. It was so cool to see what my relatives did.

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Please take a moment to head over to Mary’s blog, Searching for Stories, and leave her a comment, letting her know you stopped by. Thank you Mary 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