May I Introduce To You . . . Rachael Rifkin

Rachel Rifkin - Family Resemblance blog

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Rachael Rifkin and her blog, Family Resemblance, described as, “. . . A blog about the traits we pass down, whether genetically or environmentally, and the qualities we only find in ourselves. Also features selections from the blogger’s grandfather’s Korean War memoir, aka the book that started her interest in family history. For more information, go here: About Rachael.”

About Rachael

Rachael Rifkin is a ghostwriter/personal historian who blogs about her family and grandfather’s Korean War memoir at Family Resemblance. Her favorite things are reading, random acts of kindness, high fives, playing with her dogs, and laughing with her husband.  Rachael was born in Los Angeles, CA and currently lives in Long Beach, CA.

How Rachael Got Started in Genealogy

Rachael has been doing genealogy for about five years now, “. . . I fell in love with family history when I found my grandfather’s Korean War memoir. I was 26 when I read it for the first time and my grandfather was 27 when he wrote it. It was a really amazing experience. I felt like I had been given the opportunity to get to know him as a peer. And I discovered we had a lot of similarities, from the way we wrote to our thoughts on the world. These were things that I thought were unique only to me. Knowing that they weren’t made me feel really connected to my grandfather.”

Rachael’s Thoughts on Blogging

“My grandparents kept, well, everything. Among the piles of stuff, there were tons of family letters. One day I decided to match up the family members my grandfather had mentioned in his memoir to the people who sent letters. As I did, I started to get to know the different personalities and where they fit in the family tree.

I eventually went even further, tracking down and meeting living descendants (all descended from the same six siblings). Throughout this journey, certain similarities kept popping up. There’s a lot of doctors, lawyers, writers, musicians, worrywarts and procrastinators in our family. Most of the women can make this weird back-of-the-throat noise. There’s quite a few lefties, etc.

Though I hadn’t met any of my second and third cousins before, we all carried traces of the habits and traits of those six original siblings. I thought it might be interesting to identify and trace those habits and traits, and then blog about it.

I also wanted to get some selections from my grandfather’s Korean War memoir out into the world. He spent 30 years trying to publish it, to no avail. It’s time his writing got a few more readers.”

Rachael’s Tip for New Bloggers

“Find an interesting angle and go for it!”

Rachael’s Favorite Blog Post(s)

“The one about my mom’s death. It was the most painful one for me to write, but also the most important/cathartic. My next favorite is a post I haven’t finished writing yet. In it, I will describe (and then compare) how three generations—my grandparents, parents, and my husband and I—met and fell in love.”

Rachael’s Time with the Ancestors

“Both too much and not enough.”

Rachael’s Favorite Ancestor(s)

“My great-great grandmother Paula/Pesha Henya. I’m just going to let her daughter Mildred’s words (taken from a letter she wrote to my grandfather on July 26, 1983) speak for themselves, ‘My mother did many things. She was a midwife. She taught children Hebrew. Had she went to college, she could have been a good doctor. If anyone displaced a shoulder, arm, leg or back, she was able to put it back into place without an x-ray.’”

How Genealogy Has Improved Rachael’s Life

“I feel more connected to my family. In general, I look more for the similarities than the differences in people.”

What Rachael Loves Most About Genealogy

“The research, discoveries, and meeting relatives I never knew I had.”

Rachael’s Time Capsule Message

“The more you learn about your family, the more you learn about yourself. So spend time with your family and record their stories while you’re all still young.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Rachael’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Rachael, 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 . . . Lara Diamond

Lara Diamond

I have the pleasure of introducing you to, Lara Diamond and her blog, Lara’s Family Search, described as, “. . . Whatever genealogy musings and updates I have on my family and ways to get Jewish records from Europe.”

About Lara

“Born in (and still live in) Baltimore, MD.”

How Lara Got Started in Genealogy

“I started as a teenager in the late 1980s/early 1990s. It is much easier with a driver’s license, although my parents were wonderful at chauffeuring me to the local Family History Center and even the National Archives when I couldn’t do so myself. I read Alex Haley’s book ‘Roots’ and wanted to find out where my family was from as well.”

Lara’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I only started a few months ago. I wanted a way to document some of the thought processes I’d been through and hopefully be a google magnet for others searching for the last names I’ve been researching.”

Lara’s Tip for New Bloggers

“Don’t rush. I started out posting all my ideas, publishing multiple posts per week. That isn’t sustainable. Pace yourself and make each post count.”

Lara’s Favorite Blog Post

“I was able to use DNA to find a branch of, The family that was thought lost in the Holocaust. We are still in touch to this day.”

Spending Time with the Ancestors

“It varies. Some weeks I have no time, and others I can spend hours during nights and weekends. Work does get in the way of genealogy but helps to fund my addiction.  I also use crowdsourcing to help fund document procurement from Eastern European archives.”

Lara’s Favorite Ancestor

“My great-great-great grandmother Mira Halperin Lefand Marienhoff. She seems to have been an amazing woman. She married my ggg grandfather (Yehoshua Zev Lefand) as a teenager in what is now Nezhin, Ukraine. He died when she was pregnant with their fifth child. Two years later she married a much older man (Yitzchok Marienhoff) who had at least 5 children from a previous marriage. They then had 6 children together before Yitzchok died. Mira then picked herself up and moved to America, ending up in Pittsburgh.  I’ve been tracking where each of Mira’s children and their descendants ended up.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Lara’s Life

Genealogy actually may have saved my life.  Because of my genealogy obsession, I discovered that I had cancer–much earlier than it would have been discovered otherwise. Instead of fighting for my life a few years from now, I will be able to put it behind me very soon. And of course I blogged about it at, How Genealogy Saved (or Significantly Changed) My life. “

What Lara Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love putting together puzzles, following clues, and figuring out new ways to leverage technology to tell my ancestors’ stories.”

Lara’s Time Capsule Message

“Fill out your census forms and add in extra info on the side!  It will befuddle the census bureau but will be a goldmine for future genealogists!”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Lara’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Lara, 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 . . . Barbara Schmidt

Barbara Schmidt

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Barbara Schmidt and her blog, Barbara Schmidt / Genealogy – Family research and other stuff, described as, “. . .  It started as a cousin bait blog because I wanted to connect to other researchers for my line. But it soon expanded to a lot more. I blog about the sources I use and how to read them. Especially the German one’s since I can imagine the language barriers researcher’s face when their family tree leads them to Germany. And I added a ‘Today in my family tree’ section, where I blog daily about an event on my family tree. Be it a birth, marriage, death or emigration. I even had an immunization against the pox ;)

And then there is the other stuff: things I see and I connect to genealogy but that don’t really have to do with my family research. e.g. my ‘Biology 2.0’ post. “

About Barbara

“I was born in Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany which is far up north when you take a look at a map from Germany. Almost directly at the Baltic Sea. Now, I live in Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany. When you take a look at the map again, it is almost in the middle and then a bit to the West. I live there for 12 years now with a two year break in Milan, Italy and six months in Brussels, Belgium.

I kind of have the moving bug. I lived one year in the States in Ft. Worth, TX and a while in France when I went to University in southwest Germany (living in France was a lot cheaper that time).”

How Barbara Got Started in Genealogy

“I started when I was about 21. That makes it almost 20 years. Gosh, how time flies!

Coming from a rather big family, I always listened to the stories from ‘back in the days.’ Especially when my Dad got together with his siblings they had a lot to share. And lot of names. aunt this, uncle that, cousin so and so. And I got lost. So one day I started to draw a chart, matching kids to parents and husbands to wives. Voilà! That was my first family tree.”

Barbara’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started only back in July 2013. It is a very new one. As I mentioned, I started it as a cousin bait blog.  I attended a webinar from ancestry.com on the topic and was so fascinated by the thought of finding other descendants from my lines. So far I focused on going back in time, going up the tree. Now it was time to go down again.”

Tips for New Bloggers

“Just do it! Don’t think about what your ‘audience’ might want to read. Think about what you want to tell! There will be days when you have no inspiration at all. And there will be days where there won’t be any readers to your blog. Believe me, I know how frustrating that can be. But don’t panic and don’t give up. Find a nice layout and stick with it. Readers need to recognize your blog. Don’t cheat and don’t copy – give credit where credit is due!

And most important: have fun!”

Barbara’s Favorite Blog Post

“The one about Friedrich Ludwig Heinrich Ulmer, immigrating to Australia. Why? Because it was the first one I received feedback about. Not on my blog directly but on my Google+ account. And it helped me to really track his son still living in Australia. Unfortunately, we only had one email-exchange and I never heard of him again, but it showed me that the idea works!”

Barbara’s Favorite Ancestors

“My great-grandmother Hedwig Agnes Clara Ribbe.

From what I learned about her through my research and what her daughter (my great aunt who passed away just last year) told me she was a very strict no-nonsense woman. Raising four children with two husbands, the children being almost 20 years apart. She died way too young. I wonder sometimes, what she would have had to tell me.

And maybe she is my favourite because I always loved her picture and because on the picture she reminds me of my mother.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Barbara’s Life

“I am a lot more interested in history than I ever was before! That is definitely a plus. I put things into context more. Just a fact is not thrilling if you don’t know the circumstances.”

What Barbara Loves Most About Genealogy

“I can totally forget time. I had moments where I looked at the clock and got startled because it was two in the morning. Genealogy puts things into another perspective. I love it when this brick wall crashes just to see another one building up. I love to help other people with their research.”

Barbara’s Time Capsule Message

“You cannot appreciate your future without knowing your past.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Barbara’s blog. Leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Welcome Barbara, 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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