I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jill Ball and her blog GeniAus, described as “a potpourri of genealogy topics with an Australian slant.” Not satisfied with one blog, Jill as added to her repertoire Geneadictionary (an online lexicon of geneajargon), jillballau (Jill’s personal journeys, jottings and joy) and Ku-ring-Gai Historical Society (online news for Society members, the community, and those with links to the district).
A Little Bit About Jill
(In bullet format – much like her personality – fun, fast and to the point!)
- Short, white-haired and cuddly.
- Wife, mother, grandmother and family historian.
- Formerly librarian, teacher, and IT gal.
- Lifelong learner.
- Social media fan and gadget girl.
- Into Evernote, lists and spreadsheets.
- Loves geneajaunts, travel and cruising.
- Takes snapshots not photos.
- Happy old soul.
What Got Jill Started in Genealogy/Family History
“I have always attributed this to the Bicentenary year in Australia in 1988 when the celebrations placed a great emphasis on our nation’s history. Looking back I realise it was also the year my maternal grandmother died. I now wonder if that also influenced me to start thinking about my personal history.
Genealogy /family history research draws on the skillset I developed from many years working as a librarian. While I was working in my ‘real job’ I dabbled in family research but once I retired from fulltime work I threw myself into it with gusto. I set out to learn as much as I could by attending talks and conferences, reading journals and joining several societies.
I soon discovered that my background in teaching and Information Technology equipped me to help other genealogists integrate technology use into their family history research so I started giving talks at various venues and online via Google Hangouts on Air. Although I get nervous before each performance I enjoy the opportunities I have to share my knowledge with others (and genealogists are more appreciative of one’s efforts than a bunch of Year/Grade 9 kids).”
Jill’s Thoughts on Blogging
“Love it! I started blogging on library topics more than ten years ago and when I retired it left a void that I had to fill. It was obvious that genealogy could provide the subject matter that would enable me to continue blogging so GeniAus was born. Since then I have dabbled with a few blogs. Presently I am enjoying my latest venture, the Geneadictionary, this is great fun but the challenge is learning the intricacies of WordPress after being a Blogger girl for such a long time.”
- Blogging allows me to connect, communicate and collaborate with people that I might not otherwise meet.
- Blogs educate, enlighten and entertain me.
- Blogging allows me to share stories and preserve family tales.
- The dynamic nature of blogs lets me return and update my posts as new information becomes available.
Jill’s Tips for New Bloggers (and Not So New Bloggers!)
- For newbies: Just do it.
- For oldies: Regular maintenance is essential. Take a critical look at your blog and identify areas for improvement.
- For all: Remember that blogging is a two-way street, it’s a collaborative medium. Reach out to others by liking and commenting on their posts.
Jill’s Favorite Blog Post(s)
A story of my grandmother, Ethel Jane Pusell, who was widowed at 18. http://geniaus.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/john-bertram-chatfield-trans-tasman.html
The twenty-six posts I wrote for the “Genealogy through the alphabet” challenge. I was pleased that I didn’t give up and managed to complete the whole series. http://geniaus.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/family-history-through-alphabet.html
Jill’s Time with the Ancestors
“Every spare moment and some I don’t have to spare but I always give precedence to the living.”
Jill’s Favorite Ancestor(s) and Why
“My two grandmothers, Ethel Jane Pusell and Mary Tierney, who both lived to see me married off. I knew and loved them both they were determined, loyal and lovable women.
Two of my convicts: Elizabeth Phipps from London and Patrick Curry from Limerick. Elizabeth was a villain who obviously used her wits to survive in the penal colony of New South Wales. When she married the much older William Magick she probably thought she was setting herself up for life but she didn’t know William would live to 108. Patrick was an Irishman who, on gaining his freedom, worked as a farmer and had a comfortable life. In 1848 he said ‘I have reared a large family in comfort, want for nothing’.”
How Genealogy/Family History Has Improved or Changed Jill’s Life
- It keeps me off the streets
- It challenges the old brain
- It provides learning opportunities
- It has enabled me to keep on teaching
- It has brought me a whole new set of interesting friends
- It has connected me with unknown and lost family members who have added to my family stories.
What Jill Loves Most About Genealogy
- The people I meet – both dead and alive
- The thrill of the chase – there’s nothing like a good mystery to pique one’s interest
- Having opportunities to help fellow enthusiasts.
Jill’s Time Capsule Message
“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Jill’s Expanded Time Capsule Message
“I am an amateur genealogist/family historian so I don’t get hung up on sourcing and citations. I am not concerned about commas, italics and adhering to a particular format. I believe in recording where information comes from and I always try to provide enough information so that anyone who wants to can check out my assertions. Genealogy for me is a hobby not a serious academic pursuit so I don’t see the need for rigid rules. I fear that we frighten off many newbies with terms such as sourcing and citations. We should just tell them to carefully record where they got their information so, if years later they have a memory lapse, they will be able to find things once more.
If I am writing for a journal I will correctly reference whatever I am writing but I will use the Harvard method of citation (or whatever is prescribed by the publication in question).
For me this stuff is a matter of “horses for courses”.
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Please take a moment to head on over to Jill’s blogs. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by (and perhaps provide a new word for her geneadictionary!). Jill brings to her blogs a sense of humor and fun. We get the benefit of her years in the education field and she is one of the positive lights in the genealogy community. Jill will be at FGS/RootsTech 2015 and I look forward to meeting this versatile and entertaining blogger (and vlogger – she also makes videos and hosts Google+ hangouts on air!) in Salt Lake City in February. Welcome Jill, it’s great to have you here!
© 2014, 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 email@example.com.