I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Randall Dickerson and his blog, Free-Range Organic Genealogy described as, “. . . About Heritage, Genealogy, Photography, Aging, Family, Cemeteries, Backroads, with a dash of Southern-Fried Genes.”
How Randall Got Started in Genealogy
Randall hails from Bayview,Jefferson County,Alabama, “It’s just west ofBirmingham; no ‘Bay’ in sight. The town founders must have had a wicked sense of humor.”
Randall has been researching his genealogy since the 5th of October, 1988, “. . . The seed was planted the afternoon of my mother’s funeral. I listened in a daze at the stories my aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors were telling and I realized ‘I know almost nothing about my extended family!’ That evening I was ashamed. They had been telling these wonderful tales for years; I never paid attention (Southern translation, ‘I didn’t pay ‘em no mind’). A few days later I was asking questions and haven’t stopped yet.”
Randall’s Family and His Blog
“Most of them don’t know yet. It’ll be interesting to see their responses since a few cousins think I’m 3 buttons shy of a straight-jacket anyway.
There are a few (fool) hardy souls that have subscribed, but a large part of my extended family doesn’t spend a lot of time on-line. I have found a whole universe of friends on Twitter and announce new posts there. Family gets a phone call or e-mail. I also comment on other blogs that interest me and provide a link back to mine, where it’s allowed. The response has been heartwarming to say the least. No one has pounded on my door and told me to stop yet, so it must be working pretty well. That or I’m not loud enough.”
Randall’s Thoughts on Blogging
“I’ve always been curious. A‘What does THIS button do?’ kind of guy. After reading so many wonderful blogs out there I decided to see if I could create a blog worth reading.”
At first, Randall had a few blogging concerns, “Being ignored? Being successful? Probably the fear of the blog not being ‘good enough!’ There are some fantastic genealogy bloggers out there; it was intimidating to publish anything and have it measured up against their work.
I worried that I might not have the time to commit to regular postings. I didn’t want to start a project like the blog and then let it go ‘dead’ for weeks at a time. Mom always said, ‘If you give a gift to someone, make it a good gift.’ I consider the blog posts to be gifts to whomever wants to read them and want posts to be good gifts. I guess you could say that pretty much anything that passes between my last two good brain cells may be posted. Well, no politics, sex, violence; that’s what cable TV is for! The Genealogy Blogging community has so many great writers; specialists in their respective fields. I don’t have that kind of training or background so I opted to do what I do best and that is be myself (and talk about it).
I’ve been encouraged by my girlfriends ability to ‘jump in first, learn to swim later’ approach to new projects. She is my hero. Neither one of us has drowned yet.”
How Randall came up with his unique blog title, “All good ‘Genea’ type names were taken. I couldn’t come up with anything original! Do you have any ideas for a catchy title? ‘Free-Range’ in the livestock industry suggests the ability to roam about without being penned up. ‘Organic’ sometimes describes the way a plant naturally grows. Since the blog isn’t restricted to any specialty, it covers a lot of ground. I haven’t got the foggiest idea where the blog will grow from here. I just hope it will roam and grow organically.”
How Randall Follows the Rest of Us
“I had never heard of a blog reader until you asked. Thanks to you I have discovered Google Reader and have filled it up with blogs. I also search for blogs in Firefox. My personal best in Firefox so far has been 68 tabs opened; the computer reached critical mass.”
Randall usually follows anywhere from 16 to 35 blogs, depending on how much “spare” time he has on a given day. “Occasionally I glut and read 140-220. Good thing blogs don’t have calories; I wouldn’t be able to fit through the door!”
Currently, Randall does follow several blogs via his email.
What Randall Loves Most About Genealogy
“Banging my head against those brick walls! Actually I like a mystery, so discovering and piecing parts of ancestor’s lives together is fascinating. There’s always something new to learn. And don’t forget the ‘Bloodhound factor’ needed to track an elusive ancestor playing hide-and-seek with history (I have a TON of those)! It still amazes me how their lives bring life to all that history I should have learned in school.”
Randall’s Time Capsule Message
“This is for my descendants; ‘Life is worth living, always. Look beyond your technology you will find my life was very much like yours. Learn of me and you will see yourself in the mirror. Always stay curious; it is the antidote for aging. Laugh at me, then at yourself for you are a part of me. Don’t wait for a vacation or retirement to have an adventure, do it today.’”
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Please take a moment to head on over to Randall’s blog. Leave him a comment letting him know you stopped by. Welcome Randall, 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.