May I Introduce To You . . . Janice Sellers

Janice Sellers

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Janice Sellers and her blog, Ancestral Discoveries, described as, “ . . . My blog covers a wide range of material, including things I learn from my research, research resources, current events in genealogy, reviews of television shows (have to talk about ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’!), and sharing photographs.  My primary focus is on Jewish, forensic (real forensic, having to do with legal matters, not ‘forensic’ as used by some people, which is really only scientific) and newspaper research.”

About Janice

“I was born in East Los Angeles and lived in Los Angeles County until I was almost 9 years old.  My family then moved to Australia for two years, and from there to Florida, where I stayed six years and graduated high school (from Niceville Senior High School — yes, that’s really its name).  For college I returned to Los Angeles and went to the University of Southern California, where I graduated with a degree in foreign languages and also studied library science, music, and computer programming.  After ten years in L.A. I moved to the San Francisco Bay area, and I have been living in Oakland for more than 20 years.  (Go, Raiders!)”

How Janice Got Started in Genealogy

“I started researching my family history when I was 13 years old.  I have all my original notes from when I interviewed family members back then.

I grew up hearing family stories from my mother and grandmother, so I already had a latent interest.  What really got me going was the assignment in junior high school to create a family tree going four generations back.  I still have the original purple mimeographed handout.”

Janice’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my blog on January 15, 2011 (I just had my third blogiversary!).  I was inspired to start it by taking a class with Craig Siulinski through the California Genealogical Society.  I wanted to share my passion for genealogy with others.”

Janice’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Writing is hard and takes time!  Make sure you schedule time for your posts, or it’s very easy to fall behind and go a week or two (or more!) without posting.  Also, as an editor (my career before becoming a professional genealogist), please think about grammar and spelling when you write!  There are so many blogs out there I would read more if I didn’t become so frustrated at the poor spelling and grammar.”

Janice’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I think my favorite post is the one I did for Mother’s Day 2013, ‘Things My Mother Taught Me.’  It was a nice way to reminisce about my mother, who passed away in 1995.”

Janice’s Time with the Ancestors

“Not nearly enough!  I usually spend between 5-20 hours on research a week.”

Janice’s Favorite Ancestors

“What, I have to pick only one?!  Possibly the most interesting is Alexander Mack, the founder of the German Baptist (‘Dunker’) religion.  It takes a lot of courage and conviction (and chutzpah!) to decide you have the only correct interpretation of scripture and get a bunch of people to follow you.

I also have a Quaker ancestor who was renowned during her lifetime for giving fervent testimony; when she was older and could no longer stand for very long, she would kneel and preach for hours.  Those are both from my father’s side.  On my mother’s side of the family, my great-great-grandfather Gershon Nowicki lived into his 90′s and had a reputation for flirting with women all the way to the end.  He was a
very observant Orthodox Jew who immigrated to the U.S. when he was about 70 years old and became a Hebrew teacher here.  I have one photo of him, with my great-great-grandmother.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Janice’s Life

“I think learning about your family history gives you respect for those who came before you and lets you feel better connected to your ancestors.  Everyone’s family is interesting to learn about.  Nobody’s family is perfect, and most families have at least one black sheep, but that’s part of what makes them interesting.  And in a broader sense, genealogy has given me a way to meet and interact with people I probably would not have otherwise, so it’s broadened my view of people generally.  It’s been a very educational and humbling experience.”

What Janice Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love finding details about my ancestors and family members that make them come alive to me as real people.  Once I found a newspaper article about when my grandfather had donated his collection of antique tools for a display in a local library.  I knew my grandfather, but I had never known he collected antique tools, so it was a fascinating little tidbit about him.  Newspapers are wonderful for this kind of knowledge.”

Janice’s Time Capsule Message

“Talk to your relatives, especially the older ones, now, while you have the chance.  They are the best sources to tell you about themselves and your family.  Once they have passed away, their memories go with them, and the only way to learn about them will be by trying to piece together whatever pieces of information you can find.  And share the information you find with other family members, so that what you have learned and put together doesn’t disappear after you are gone.”

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

© 2014, copyright Gini Webb

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.

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May I Introduce To You . . . Sally Knudsen

Sally Knudsen

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Sally Knudsen and her blog, Sally Searches, described as, “. . . A personal family history blog, documenting ancestors from Illinois and Michigan, and Germany, West Prussia, Ireland, Scotland, and Canada.”

About Sally

“I was born in Joliet, Illinois. I have degrees from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa and Roosevelt University in Chicago. My family has also lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado and outside Grand Rapids, Michigan. My mother’s family is all from Michigan, so when my husband was offered a job there, I couldn’t pack fast enough! We have been back in Illinois for about 12 years. I live ‘an hour from Chicago and a minute from a cornfield.’ I presently work in a law office and occasionally get to create and file probate records. Genealogy helps give me a different perspective on families and the law.”

Sally has been doing genealogy for over 20 years now.

Sally’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started blogging off and on, but regularly in 2011. I am blessed with a great memory, but after a while all these ancestral facts have to go somewhere! I started in hopes of finding cousin connections. The tips and ideas from GeneaBloggers were a great help for a novice!”

Sally’s Tips for New Bloggers

“My best advice is write what you know. Blog as regularly as possible, even if it’s from your own mental calendar. Connect your posts to whatever social media you are comfortable using.”

Sally’s Favorite Blog Posts

“Searching my maternal grandmother’s West Prussia family from Michigan back to modern-day Poland has been especially gratifying. Yes, their name is Dork!

My favorite post about my own family is, Twenty Crazy Days.”

Sally’s Time with the Ancestors

“Not nearly enough! Darn real life ;) Honestly, a few hours a week or when my schedule allows. Sometimes I use my research as my reward for completing my chores/errands. It works!”

Sally’s Favorite Ancestor

“The ancestor who was my first mystery, and really the reason I became interested in my family history, is Wright SPENCER. My mother kept a bag ‘hidden’ in the basement when I was young. It held a small leather wallet and several worn scraps of papers, one of which listed Wright Spencer and his birth and death dates. I would sneak into the basement and peek at it often. I knew both my Spencer grandfather and great-grandfather but I became infatuated with who this Wright Spencer could be. A genealogist was born!”

How Genealogy Has Improved Sally’s Life

“Genealogy has improved my self-awareness: learning ‘from whence I’ve come,’ understanding so many social and economic factors that influenced my ancestral family and made me who I am today.”

What Sally’s Loves Most About Genealogy

“My goal is not in the writing. Mostly I do it to challenge myself. I love finding the names, but after I have the names, I love to learn more: what they did, where they lived, information about their lives. It is a very intellectually satisfying quest. And coincidences! Who doesn’t love those!”

Sally’s Time Capsule Message

“Keep and label your photos!”

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

© 2013, copyright Gini Webb

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.

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May I Introduce To You . . . Jen Baldwin

Jen Baldwin

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Jen Baldwin and her blog, Ancestral Breezes, described as, “. . . Discussions on genealogy methods, trends and particular interests, utilizing examples from both my personal and professional research. Genealogy in the High Country of Colorado; with an emphasis on gold rush miner’s, fraternal societies and other related topics.”

About Jen

“I was born and raised in Enumclaw, and if you know where that is, you are a step ahead of most. I have been a small town girl all my life, and have spent many years exploring the western United States. I have lived and researched in Washington, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, reveling in dusty basements, unexplored Courthouses and being ‘bear aware’ in cemeteries.”

How Jen Got Started in Genealogy

“I have been researching my family actively since 2000, but took my first notes when I was eight years old. I have been engaged in the business of genealogy since 2011.

The very first day was an interview conducted in order to complete the obligatory elementary school family history project. Having always been a fan of puzzles, it felt very natural many years later to do some initial digging into some letters found in their home after they passed away. The letters, remnants of the Civil War, were written by a set of brothers, who I shortly was able to identify as my 2nd great grandmother’s brothers. I have been hooked ever since.”

Jen’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my blog in 2011, for a variety of reasons. I wanted to document what I had found in my research so far, I wanted to find an audience for my interests, I wanted to work towards a professional reputation. The blogging format has allowed me to do all of that and more. I soon found that it fit my lifestyle quite well, and I now write for multiple blogs.

One thing that I have enjoyed immensely, and is a direct result of joining the GeneaBloggers community, is the social media channels that are available to us all. We have such wonderful platforms to connect with each other, engage in conversation, learn from each other and even to have debates. It is mind blowing to think how far we have come in the past few years, and I cannot wait to see how far we will go in my lifetime. How incredible is it to be able to have casual, spontaneous conversations with genealogists from around the globe?”

Jen’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Take the time to investigate several different platforms for your blog before you get going. Get the feel for the various options before you start writing, so you can identify what you need and what works for you. Secondly, stop reading articles on ‘how’ to blog, and just start doing it. Yes, there are best practices in blogging, just like with anything else; but blogging is personal for most of us. It has to come from you, from your soul. Only you can find your best method and style. Have fun, be creative, write about whatever you want, and remember your #1 reader in all things: You.”

Jen’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I do not think I could pinpoint one exact post to say is my favorite, but I do have two favorite series!  The first was a set of posts I did on Robert and Anna Hamilton, residents of Breckenridge, Colorado. A lot of questions still exist about these two, and I have not given up the search just yet, but it was a fun series to write.  I also am really enjoying my current series on Fraternal Societies in Genealogy; the who, what, when, where, why and how of conducting research into these sometimes mysterious organizations.”

Jen’s Time with the Ancestors

“Not as much as I would like. Choosing to do genealogy professionally does not allow for a great deal of time for personal research, partly because there are so many other elements of your small business that require your time and energy. However, I would estimate that I spend about 40% of my time conducting research for one project or another. I am lucky in that almost all of the material I seek out has some impact on my professional niche or personal interests, so even when I am preparing a new lecture, I am still in some capacity, researching something that I enjoy.”

Jen’s Favorite Ancestor

“Oscar F. Brown (1832-1906). Oscar is my 2nd great grandfather, brother in law to the aforementioned Civil War veterans. Oscar has been at the top of my research list as long as I have been actively researching, and he is still right there, in his usual place!  I enjoy working on his story because he is challenging and he forces me to find creative and unique ways to get to a possible answer, solution, or even to another question. I have already accumulated a great deal about his life, but I do not think I will ever tire of researching Oscar.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Jen’s Life

“Too many to list here! What an incredible adventure we have all decided to go on! I have made lifelong friends, I have explored unique stories from my personal history as well as our collective history, I have learned a great deal. I have had the opportunity to be closer to my immediate family, especially my parents, by connecting with them through this process. I have traveled, visited some incredible places. I have gained an entire community through social media and blogging.”

What Jen Loves Most About Genealogy

“Solving the puzzle, by first trying to find all the pieces. I love mixing together the social history, the specific facts about my ancestors, and the elements of science that all come together to create moments in time. It is a challenge and a joy.”

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

© 2013, copyright Gini Webb

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.

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