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May I Introduce to You . . . Nichelle Barra

Come meet genealogy blogger Nichelle Barra, author of the Copper Leaf Genealogy blog, in this interview by Tessa Keough at GeneaBloggers.

Come meet genealogy blogger Nichelle Barra, author of the Copper Leaf Genealogy blog, in this interview by Tessa Keough at GeneaBloggers.

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Nichelle Barra and her blog Copper Leaf Genealogy. Nichelle describes Copper Leaf Genealogy as having “two parts: a personal blog and a website for my genealogy business. The first part is my blog is where I write about useful genealogy tidbits like new resources, record types, how to use/search through certain websites, etc., and I include my own family history stories as well as the resources and discoveries I’ve come across along the way.  The second part would then be the professional side – and includes my lectures, publications, qualifications, research, and fees.”

A Little Bit About Nichelle

“My name has always been considered unusual and I normally pause before giving my name because I either say my nickname (Niki) or Nichelle, which then requires a repeat and an explanation. However, if I say Niki, people will then assume my name is Nicole, so my real name will have to be explained sometime anyway. I have two possible stories for where my name comes from:

  • My mother had a close friend who named her daughter Sarah Nichelle and that’s where she got my name


  • My mother is a huge Star Trek fan and named me after Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura.

One of those is true, but I’ll leave you to figure out which one! I do like the Star Trek one the best though.”

How Nichelle Got Started in Genealogy

“I have loved history since I was a kid and my paternal grandmother used to tell me tales about our family history, but I didn’t really get into genealogy until the early 2000’s. I was in college at the time and was wandering around a cemetery (I was already a genealogist in training!) to find some of my paternal ancestors that I was told were there. I came across a gravestone that had my grandmother’s name on it – Mary Witherell Hay Owen. My grandmother was simply Mary Witherell and had passed by this time, but this started me on a hunt to see why this woman had Witherell in her name and if we were related. Thus, began a journey that has never ended!”

Nichelle’s Thoughts on Blogging

“Blogging is probably one of my favorite things to do now! It has created many new genealogy friendships and it has gotten me in touch with several new cousins. Plus, I love to write and share what I discover, especially if it could be helpful to others. That is how I came to find the genealogy blogging community. In fact, I was looking for opinions on the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course. I believe I wrote a post that day (then called My People in History) when I discovered the community and I haven’t looked back since!”

Nichelle’s Tips for New (and Not So New) Bloggers

“I recommend trying to be consistent on when you blog (timing is everything). That way your readers know when to expect something from you and will tune in regularly. Be careful not to overdo it though. I started first with the idea of writing every day but I had trouble with finding content. Now I blog three times a week and that is much more manageable for me!

Just as important as consistency is to have fun with your blog. Your enthusiasm always comes through in your writing. Make a point to respond to any comments you receive! I always make sure to respond and I appreciate it when other bloggers do too.”

Nichelle’s Favorite Blog Post(s)

“My most popular blog post by far was “Tuesday’s Tip: Use a Research Plan

My personal favorite blog post is any of my Friday posts. On Friday I do a Genealogy Finds where I post useful webinars, articles, blog posts, videos, and any new resources that came out that week. Two recent posts were Genealogy Finds May 30th-June 5th and Genealogy Finds June 6th-June 12th.”

Nichelle’s Genealogy Bucket List

  • Become a Certified Genealogist (which I am working my way towards)
  • Attend GRIP (Genealogy Institute of Pittsburgh) in 2016
  • Become more knowledgeable in using DNA with genealogy
  • Write a genealogy book (fiction or nonfiction, either way!)

What Nichelle Loves Most About Genealogy

“I majored in History, so I really love seeing how my family played (or did not play) a role in specific events. I always considered myself more of a social historian, so I enjoy learning how genealogy and history play out with my family, and everyone else’s family too! I get excited about the interplay of genealogy and history.”

Nichelle’s Time Capsule Message

“Maybe it’s because I also majored in English, but my time capsule message would be – cite your sources! For those who come after you or who plan on continuing your work, please let them know where your information came from so that re-researching doesn’t happen. And do it for yourself – you may need to re-find something and a citation makes that much easier! It’s a win-win for all.”

* * *

Simply put, Nichelle’s blog is lovely to look at. She clearly thought about the use of images as well as her theme and layout. Everything is clean and crisp with easy to read fonts. Nichelle’s blog will not only give you some great ideas about tidying up your own blog or website but will also provide you with a wealth of useful and timely information. I especially like Nichelle’s use of cards (those tiles you can click on to read the entire blog post) and the I © footnotes link (a WordPress plugin that opens a separate site with everything about footnotes!).

Please take a moment to head on over to Nichelle’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Nichelle, it’s great to have you here and it has been a pleasure getting to know you better.

A Summer Break for May I Introduce To You

And with today’s May I Introduce To You post, the Geneabloggers MIITY team (Gini Webb, Michelle Ganus Taggart, Wendy Mathias, Jana Last and Tessa Keough) go on hiatus for the summer months. Hopefully each of you have some of the same plans we do. Enjoy spending some time this summer with friends and family, get some research time in at the many and varied libraries and archives, attend a family reunion or vacation, visit a couple of cemeteries, and check in with Geneabloggers regularly.

We hope you have enjoyed learning a bit more about the geneabloggers we profiled (as much as we enjoyed getting to know a bit more about them). If you would like to be featured in a future May I Introduce To You post, please send us an email with your name, your blog’s name and link. We would love to shine our MIITY spotlight on your genealogy blog. Have a great summer and we will see you back here on Monday, 14 September 2015.

© 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