May I Introduce To You . . . Niall McMahon

niall mcmahon

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Niall McMahon and his blog, Niall McMahon, described as, “. . . Blog post about three main interests of mine – web development, music and genealogy.”

Niall currently resides in Guildford,Surrey,England.

How Niall Got Started in Genealogy

“I’m pretty sure I was given a family tree school project back in 2005, but after completing it, I didn’t really pursue the subject much further. I picked it up seriously a couple of years later and it soon developed from a hobby into a major passion. I don’t fit the stereotypical genealogist image – I’m only 23.

I think it was just wanting to know more about my family; I never knew one set of my grandparents and the other set died when I was 8. Both my parents were born when their parents were fairly old, so by the time I was interested in finding out more, sadly the older generations of family members just weren’t around anymore.”

Niall’s Thoughts on Creating a Blog

“I have always had a website showcasing my portfolio (I’m a web developer when I’m not researching my family history), but in August 2011, I re-launched my website to include my other two passions – music and genealogy. I had always wanted to start a blog and these three subjects give me enough material to post about. The GeneaBloggers Daily Blogging Prompts are great for helping when I can’t think of something to post.”

Niall’s Favorite Blog Post

“I wrote an article in October 2011 titled ‘A family legend of illegitimacy and landed gentry ancestors.’ It’s about a family legend that was told to my mother by her mother, about an ancestor who had an illegitimate child with a landed gentleman. I haven’t been able to prove the legend completely, but a lot of what I have found out definitely matches up with what was passed down. It’s the kind of story that would appear on an episode of Downton Abbey!”

Niall’s Tips for New Genealogy Bloggers

“Quality over quantity. You don’t have to post every day, spending time on your articles is worth the effort. Make sure your post is interesting to read; include photos and documents and reply to any comments you get. It’s good to get your blog out there to as many people as possible and social media is a great way to do so; get a Twitter account and follow fellow genealogists and bloggers, tweet them links to your articles. The Ancestry page on Facebook is another great community, and is a great place to share articles and get feedback. The community on there really helps out each other a lot – if you get stuck with your research, trying posting your problem on there. Try to help others out too, though!”

Niall’s Favorite Ancestor

“Probably my maternal 5x-great-grandfather, Thomas Collingwood. He was born in 1751 near Berwick-upon-Tweed, right on the England/Scotland border. He was a very successful doctor and surgeon in Sunderland (inDurham,England) in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was very academic, and wrote a number of essays, books and even a play during his lifetime. I managed to find an obituary for him published in a gentleman’s magazine that was over 7 pages long. His ancestry can be traced back to Lords and Knights of Northumberland, all the way back to the 14th century! Although I have lots of interesting characters in my family, Thomas and his family certainly make a change from all the farmers and coal miners that make up most of my tree!”

 How Genealogy Improved Niall’s Life

“I have got in contact with a lot of cousins, and stayed in touch with them. I’ve even met up with some. We also hold family gatherings at least twice a year for the Irish side of my family, many of whom live in England, and even a few who come over from Ireland (there are plenty of them!). I certainly now realize how important family is, and I have got to know a lot of family members that I wasn’t lucky enough to meet.”

 What Niall’s Loves Most About Genealogy

“It’s the thrill of finding out interesting things about your ancestors. I honestly think that finding scandals or skeletons in closets makes for exciting research and shouldn’t be something hidden away. I love tracking down living cousins who have themselves been passed down information or photos that you didn’t know of. It’s great finally seeing the face of an ancestor who you feel you know so well.”

Niall’s Time Capsule Message

“Talk to your family members. If you have your grandparents – or if you’re lucky enough, your great-grandparents – then speak and spend time with them as much as you can; before you know it, they won’t be around, and all the information they have could die with them. Keep hold of family heirlooms and keepsakes. Keep printed copies of photos and/or backup your digital photos in a safe place; hardware can go wrong too!”

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

© 2012, copyright Gini Webb

Gini Webb lives in San Diego, California and manages her own blog, Ginisology, while also researching her own German heritage, recently retired, enjoying life with wonderful husband Steve and visiting with her now seven 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.

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Genealogy Blogging Beat – Monday, October 29, 2012

genealogy blogging beat

Today is Monday, October 29, 2012, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Items of Note

Daily Blogging Prompts

Amanuensis Monday – An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin – some we never met – others we see a time in their life before we knew them. A fuller explanation can be found here.

Madness Monday – create a post with the main focus being an ancestor who either suffered some form of mental illness or an ancestor who might be hard to locate and drives you mad. This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Mappy Monday – do maps, deeds and land records factor in to your family history? Join us for Mappy Monday where you can post map images and how they relate to your research or discuss other aspects of land ownership and your ancestors. Several members of GeneaBloggers suggested this type of theme and in fact Holly Spencer of Ravenna Area Historical Society Blog has been using this theme since March 2009.

Maritime Monday – Post about anything to do with the sea: ancestors who were sailors, shipwrights, fishermen, or coastguards including images, records and links. Maritime Monday is an ongoing series created by Ros Haywood at the GenWestUK blog.

Matrilineal Monday – Post about the female line of one of your families you are researching. Matrilineal Monday is an ongoing series by Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman of ‘On a flesh and bone foundation’: An Irish History.


Military Monday – We all have ancestors who have served in the military. Military Monday is a place to post their images, stories and records of their service in various branches of the military. Military Monday is an ongoing series by Cindy at Everything’s Relative – Researching Your Family History.

Mobile Monday – Do you use mobile applications on a SmartPhone to assist with your genealogy research? Post a review of any applications you’ve used or post about what you’d like to see in a mobile application related to genealogy. This is an ongoing series created by A.C. Ivory of the Find My Ancestor blog.

Motivation Monday – do you have a set of genealogy-related goals you want to tackle? Do you have tips on getting motivated? Whether you want to lend advice or you need advice, participate in Motivation Monday at your blog and tell us what’s on your genealogical plate. This is an ongoing series created by Dionne Kurti at Finding Josephine.

Mystery Monday – Closely related to Madness Monday only these missing ancestors might not cause madness! Mystery Monday is where you can post about mystery ancestors or mystery records – anything in your genealogy and family history research which is currently unsolved. This is a great way to get your fellow genealogy bloggers to lend their eyes to what you’ve found so far and possibly help solve the mystery. Several genealogy bloggers have been using Mystery Monday as an ongoing series including Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings, Kathleen Moore of The Misadventures of a Genealogist and Betty Tartas of Betty’s Boneyard Genealogy Blog.

To ensure that your blog post is included in the “roll-up” widgets below, include the name of the blogging theme in your post title. Examples: Black Sheep Sunday – Honey Dijon; Tombstone Tuesday – Ida Slapter.

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If you would like your event or Daily Blogging Prompt included, please contact Geneabloggers at geneabloggers [at] gmail [dot] com.

©2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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Genealogy Blogging Beat – Sunday, October 28, 2012

genealogy blogging beat

Today is Sunday, October 28, 2012 and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Items of Note

Daily Blogging Prompts

Black Sheep Sunday – create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.” Bring out your ne’er-do-wells, your cads, your black widows, your horse thieves and tell their stories. And don’t forget to check out the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG). This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Church Record Sunday – describe a specific church record or a set of records held by a church or denomination and how they can assist genealogists. This is an ongoing series developed by Gena Philibert Ortega at Gena’s Genealogy.

Sentimental Sunday – discuss a sentimental story or memory about an ancestor, or maybe even a family tradition that touches you. This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers and was suggested by Renate Sanders at Into the Light.

Sunday’s Obituary – if you have obituaries of family members and ancestors, consider posting them along with other information about that person as part of Sunday’s Obituary. This is an ongoing series developed by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here.

To ensure that your blog post is included in the “roll-up” widgets above, include the name of the blogging theme in your post title. Examples: Black Sheep Sunday – Crystal DeCanter; Tombstone Tuesday – Emma Grate.

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If you would like your event or Daily Blogging Prompt included, please contact Geneabloggers at geneabloggers [at] gmail [dot] com.

©2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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