May I Introduce To You . . . Joan Hill

Joan Hill

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Joan Hill and her blog, Roots’n’Leaves, described as, “. . . Family History and Stories – and other tidbits that catch my fancy.”

How Joan Got Started in Genealogy 

Joan has been researching her family history for almost 20 years, “I always liked the family stories about how my dad’s family traveled from Wisconsinwhen he was young, and about my mom’s family coming across the Oregon trail or through the Isthmus of Panama in the 1850’s.”

Joan’s Family and Her Blog

“My sister and one daughter read it regularly, but that may be that I ‘helped’ them subscribe by email. My daughter seems to like my Sunday Synopsis as she can tell by how much I am writing, researching and blogging, and so can tell how my life is going.

Some of my family (son, another daughter, grandchildren and siblings) check it every once in a while, but most would rather hear the stories at family gatherings or are waiting for the book. At this time, I have written three books, and currently working on a book of letters written by an uncle in the early 1980’s. He was a great storyteller and family historian without ever knowing it.” 

How Joan Follows the Rest of Us

“I read a number of blogs by subscription, but have to admit that I have never used blog lines, and don’t really like the Google Reader very much. I like to be surprised, so I try to expand my circle to unknown (to me) blogs. My biggest problem is not having enough time to read all that I would like.

I have found the best way to keep up on my favorite blogs is by email subscription. It works with my work and life style.  I tend to really read the blogs I follow, so a quick scan doesn’t really do it for me. I have a core group that I check on almost daily, anywhere from 5 to 20.”

Joan’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I was surprised that it took me so long to get to blogging. I didn’t really have a fear or a hesitation. I remember that I knew I had to blog when I came into possession of a couple of shoeboxes of letters that my Uncle Ralph Jabez McPherson wrote in the early 1980’s when he was in his mid to late 70’s. The stories that he told, the people that he remembered were only vague names to me. As I transcribed the letters, night after night, my Uncle Ralph began to speak to me through those handwritten pages. The stories and people began to become more real to me. So, I began a serious research of my McPherson heritage and the blogging was a natural progression.”

The inspiration for Joan’s blog title, “In the late 1970’s, I sat enthralled with Alex Haley’s mini series, Roots. The very name, Roots, had a visceral connection to me, so when I self published my first book, a family history and cookbook, I chose to self publish it under the name Roots’n’Leaves. In my brain, it made perfect sense; Roots of my past combined with the written Leaves of pages, and value added as I began to add leaves to my tree, as well as to books.”

What Joan Loves Most About Genealogy

“I am never sure which is more important to me, the search for the puzzle pieces of my heritage, or the stories that come to me through the search – the roots or the leaves (of the books).  My sister always quips at family gatherings that my friends are usually residents of cemeteries for the past 100 years or more – or that they live across the country, across the seas on different continents – all held together by the stories of our past.”

Joan’s Time Capsule Message

“I tend to be a bit ‘wordy,’ so this one is a tough question. The short answer is that those folks long gone have created us (whether it’s my generation or generations far in the future) and knowing those who have gone before is a way of knowing ourselves. So keep those pictures, certificates, scraps of paper, on whatever the media, just know that it is our past and our future.”

* * *

Please take a moment and visit Joan’s blog. Leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by. Welcome Joan, 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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