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May I Introduce to You . . . Caitlin Gow

Caitlin Gow

Come meet genealogy blogger Caitlin Gow, author of the Genealogically Speaking blog, in this interview by Jana Last at GeneaBloggers.

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Caitlin Gow and her blog, Genealogically Speaking described as, “My blog is simply about my adventures in genealogy and anything to do with genealogy that I find interesting. My posts range from ancestors to historical events to cemeteries and conferences etc.”

“I’m also one half of Young & Savvy Genealogists, a collaborative blog written by two young genealogists under the age of 30.”

A Little About Caitlin

“I was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I have lived here my whole life with the exception of one year when my parents and I lived in Virginia. I was only a baby though so I don’t really remember anything. I’m actually half American and half Australian. My Dad is from Sydney, while my Mum is from a small town in Texas. How they met is another story though – or blog post! I consider Sydney to be my second home, and I always love going back to Texas. I feel right at home there too.”

How Caitlin Got Started in Genealogy

“My maternal Grandmother was very much into genealogy. She was adopted and researched both her adoptive and biological lines. My Mum always tells the story that when she was growing up, her summer holidays were not spent at the beach or going to the mall like most of her friends. Instead, my Grandparents were taking my Mum, Uncle, & Aunt to cemeteries, churches, courthouses and Civil War Battlegrounds. My Grandmother drilled genealogy into them. My Uncle & Aunt are into genealogy (though not to the extent that I am); but my Mum…she didn’t catch the genealogy bug at all. Sadly my Grandmother died in 1980, ten years before I was born.”

“Fast forward to the 8th of July, 2009. I was in Texas on holidays visiting my Mum’s side of the family. My Uncle & Aunt had decided that they were going to spend the day visiting some cemeteries as they had not had a chance to do this for a long time. I don’t remember what was said, but I decided to go with them. It was one of the best days ever! I learned so much about my American ancestors and saw where many of them are buried. We went to FIVE different cemeteries that day, and it was 95-100°F (35-37°C) too. After the holiday, I returned home to Brisbane and realized I knew hardly anything about my Dad’s ancestors. My Poppa passed away in 2003 but he had done a bit of genealogy with some of his cousins so I had some information to work off. My Nanna’s side however, I knew nothing! She was 93 at the time and was in the early stages of dementia. I needed to ask her questions before her memory started to fail. And well, the rest is history!”

Caitlin’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I have had some sort of a blog since 2005. When I started genealogy, I would post information and photos on my Facebook & personal blog every now and then. But I knew my friends & readers of that blog wouldn’t want to be bombarded with that stuff. So one day the thought just popped into my head about starting a genealogy blog. I originally created my blog in Tumblr because that’s the format I was using for my personal blog and I was comfortable with it. It worked for a year or so. Tumblr does not allow for customization to the extent that Blogger or WordPress do and I was feeling quite frustrated with it. When 2014 rolled around, I made the decision to change to Blogger. Before I changed though, I spent some time exploring Blogger and WordPress. I find WordPress very confusing; however I got the hang of Blogger easily. It was kind of like a fresh start, but my goodness I felt so much better about it, and I’m much more inspired now too.”

Caitlin’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Definitely start with a platform you are comfortable with. Take your time to explore what is available. Try not to make things complicated for yourself too quickly. You don’t have to start with lengthy detailed posts either. Photographs and a simple caption are lovely. What is that saying? Pictures say 1000 words. Interact with people who comment on your posts. Submit your blog to Geneabloggers, and if you have no idea what to blog about, Geneabloggers has some excellent prompts.”

Caitlin’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I’ve narrowed it down to 4.

  1. Ready to Learn at FGS!
  2. Collection of Wedding Invitations
  3. Paton-MacEntee Down Under in Brisbane
  4. Father-Daughter Genealogy Day

Caitlin’s Time with the Ancestors

“I have been studying full time at University for the past 6 years, so time with the ancestors has always had to compete with that. I graduated at the end of 2014 – now I get to spend a lot more time with them which is wonderful!”

Caitlin’s Favorite Ancestors

“I don’t think I have favorite ancestors. I have ancestors who fascinate me more than others at times, but they’re all intriguing!”

How Genealogy Has Improved Caitlin’s Life

“Oh my gosh! When I started genealogy, I thought it would simply be a hobby in my spare time. But no, it has become so much more than that and I’m so thankful for it. I find knowing where I come from, the ancestors that I come from…well, there’s just something pleasant about knowing all that. It makes me feel very happy.”

“Besides all that though, I’ve been to three major genealogy events and I have made so many amazing friends who I know I’ll be friends with for life! I think that’s one of the best things to come out of this – the people. The genealogy community is amazing.”

What Caitlin Loves Most About Genealogy

“All of it! Everything! I can’t really narrow it down. I love the detective work, searching through records, going to cemeteries, taking genealogy road trips. It’s all wonderful! Plus I love being able to tell the family what I’ve discovered.”

Caitlin’s Genealogy Bucket List

Travel

  • Take a road trip to Wondai (3-4 hours drive North West of Brisbane) to see where my 3x Great Grandfather David Gill lived for the last 5 years of his life and where he is buried.
  • Go to Scotland to see where my ancestors came from (90% of my ancestors originally came from Scotland).
  • Spend more time in Texas going to other towns and cemeteries I haven’t been to yet.
  • Travel to Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee & the Carolinas to see where my ancestors came from in those States.
  • Spend a good week or two on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales visiting Kempsey, Maitland, Macksville, Bowraville (again) and Argents Hill (again) including the cemeteries I’ve not yet ventured into.
  • Spend a week or two in Salt Lake City, including research at the Family History Library
  • Travel to England and spend time at the National Archives.

Education

  • Go to more conferences & seminars!
  • I’d love to make RootsTech and FGS an every couple of years thing.
  • Go to Jamboree in California.
  • Attend Congress in Sydney in 2018 – a must!
  • Do some online courses in genealogy.
  • Join more societies.
  • Go on my first genealogy cruise with Unlock The Past.
  • Try and gain some work experience at the State Archives or something similar.

“That’s all I can think of at the moment…I’m sure there is lots more though!”

Caitlin’s Time Capsule Message

“Ask your parents and grandparents stories about their childhood and experiences growing up. You never know what wealth of information they are going to hold!”

An Additional Message from Caitlin

“This is something I’ve only realized in the last couple of days. When I was a kid, my bed time stories were not fairytales or the like. They were stories my parents told me about their childhood. My favorite is one my Dad has repeatedly told me over the years – it involves the neighbor’s dog and a school window.”

* * *

Please take a moment to head over to Caitlin’s blog, Genealogically Speaking, and leave her a comment, letting her know you stopped by. Thank you Caitlin for telling us about yourself and your blog. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.

© 2015, 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 jmlast61@gmail.com.

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