May I Introduce To You . . . Linda Ottery

Marjorie Roberts 1951

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Linda Ottery and her blog, Leafing through Linda’s Tree, “(I love alliteration)” described as, “. . . As stated on my blog: ‘This blog asks questions, tells stories and describes my dreams and goals in the quest for knowledge about my family’s history.’  I don’t think it can be expressed any clearer than that!”

The Story Behind the Photo

“The attached photo is of my mother, Marjorie Roberts, 1951, aged about 18, on holiday to Queensland. I use it as my avatar for all social media sites. I use to use a photo of myself, but one year, a cousin on FB asked us all to change our pictures in honour of Mother’s day. Because I think it is such a beautiful photo, it has now become my ‘signature photo.’

Her bathing suit is yellow, with black circular squiggles, and she is holding a small purse. She is standing on a rocky outcrop, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.”

A little about Linda

“I was born in a small, seaside Sydney suburb (NSW, Australia) about 14km from the Sydney CBD consisting of 12-15 streets (before development) with at least one or more extended family members living in each one. I grew up next door to my maternal grandparents, who lived next door to my grandfather’s mother (my great grandmother) and his youngest sister and her family, so there were four generations in three homes side by side – the family having moved there in dribs and drabs from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Having Long Bay Jail on one side, adjacent to the Prince Henry Hospital, golf courses and a rifle range ensured we were fairly cut off from other suburbs. It was more like a village, which has changed dramatically over the years, so that is almost unrecognizable today; Small fishing cottages, replaced by 3 story houses and bushland bulldozed for new houses.

In my early 20’s I was travelling around Australia in a Kombi van. It broke down after arriving in Melbourne, and I had to get a job to pay for a new car, so that I could continue on my trip around Australia. This was not to be. I met my husband, had three sons and am still here 35+ years later. I loved living in the vibrant inner city, but as the boys had grown and moved away from home, we recently moved to the outer suburbs, with gums trees and creeks all around.”

How Linda Got Started in Genealogy

“I have only been seriously interested in Family history for about 10 or so years. I was working in a library, and my mother new to all things internet based, used to ask me to look things up for her. In 2004, after she died, and I inherited all her boxes full of certificates, photos, notebooks and various bits and pieces from both her life and things that had been saved from previous generations. My mum was the real family historian. I have still not been able to completely sort, scan or archive many of these items. I felt it my duty to carry on her work, and I really wish she were here to see the many brick walls that I have been able to break down since her death. I am sure she would be thrilled.”

Linda’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my blog only in 2009, with two posts, which were pieces I had written for other purposes. After finding some other genealogy blogs on line, I decided one of the best ways to reach family with my findings were to post them online. Dear Myrtle and Geniaus were the first two genealogy blogs I had come across and after expanding my reading, felt that it was a good idea to continue to write about interesting incidents that I found about my ancestors; information that could not necessarily be incorporated into my tree. I also liked to follow various memes and challenges put forward by the genie blogging community, finding them stimulating and exciting, but sometimes they are too intensive for me continue or become involved.”

Linda’s Favorite Blog Post

“My favourite post is about my father’s brother, Owen Smith, who died as a POW during World War II. Owen’s death had the greatest impact on my family life. His life was so short and full of turmoil before dying one of the most horrific deaths imaginable.”

Spending Time with the Ancestors’

“It depends on what is happening, but usually only a few hours a week. I think about what I need to do and what I want to write for many more hours, especially in the wee hours of the night. When things are quiet, my thinking is clearer, and I am then able to make the most of the limited time I have dedicated to my research.”

Linda’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Just do it! Writing your stories helps clarify thoughts, what steps you have taken when trying to resolve a brick wall subject for instance, and what you need to do next. If you are stuck, sharing your stories via blogging allows for feedback, help and ideas as to where else you may be able to search and you often get a thrill when contacted by a distant relative you never knew existed.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Linda’s Life

“Being a full time caregiver, no longer in the workplace, genealogy has kept my inquisitive mind busy and connected to family. I now know more second (and third) cousins that I even knew existed. I especially enjoy attending my ‘Robert’s Family Reunion’ each year.”

Linda’s Favorite Ancestor

“My favourite ancestor is Christiana Matheson because she is both incredibly elusive, but the few facts I do know about her indicate her to be a gutsy woman, immigrating alone from Scotland to an unknown place in rural NSW, where she lived a life of hardship, was widowed whilst pregnant, remarried a much younger man, but lived to see three of her four children grow and marry well; one into a fairly influential family in the district.”

What Linda Loves Most About Genealogy

“I love solving mysteries, and having a background in research, doing family history helps keep my skills up to date; but it’s basically the excitement of the chase that keeps me going. I also love honouring my mother’s work and her memory.”

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