May I Introduce To You . . . Karen Thornton

Karen Thornton

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Karen Thornton and her blog, Chasing Hannah, described as, “ . . . Chasing Hannah centers mostly around my personal family history, mainly focusing on my paternal great-grandmother, Hannah English Stafford.  I additionally want to feature other family stories and histories I find fascinating.  I also have an undying love of documentaries, especially when they deal with life stories, struggles, and joys.”

About Karen

“I was born in Chambersburg, PA, where I lived until leaving for college in the Midwest.  My husband and I resided several years in Chicago before heading to the New York City area in 2003 (where I spent my first weekend in Manhattan in the midst of the blackout).  After living one year in Atlanta, we moved back again and now reside in New Providence, NJ, where we live with our three kids.”

How Karen Got Started in Genealogy

“I’ve been doing family research since young, but I really started to get going in 2009-2010.

Growing up, I knew my paternal grandparents in Baltimore pretty well.  A lot of family stories were passed down, but I never had verification of anything.  Also, my paternal grandfather wouldn’t really speak of his past, and I became intrigued at what I could find out about him and his lineage.  I mostly wanted to find out what happened to my grandfather’s mother (my great grandmother), Hannah.  Finding her death certificate changed everything I knew about her, my grandfather, and ultimately myself.”

Karen’s Thoughts on Blogging

“My first post on Chasing Hannah was July 7, 2013.  I created the blog to share my discovery of Hannah’s death in a state hospital and the history of the mental health system in North Carolina.  I also felt such a kinship with her, and like many of our ancestors, I feel it’s up to the living to make sure their stories get told and aren’t lost to the wind.  And after I told Hannah’s story, I found the great tales didn’t just surround her; all of our ancestors have a great story to tell.”

Karen’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Your stories are amazing.  Share them.  Everyone has a story to tell.  Sometimes writing a post can feel like the most tedious chore.  Just write.  Remembering your ancestors imparts an enormous amount of respect to those who have gone before you.”

Karen’s Favorite Blog Posts

“The most heart wrenching post had to be the post I wrote describing the conditions at the state hospital where Hannah died.  The last two paragraphs of that post were very emotional for me.

Another post I really enjoyed writing is called ‘Combining historical fact with memory:  creating the legends of our ancestors.’  I tied in one of my favorite documentaries of 2013, The Stories We Tell.”

Karen’s Time with the Ancestors

“With three children, it’s hard to find the time I would like to research, but I try and do it as often as possible.  As many genealogists know, once you start researching, your mind never really shuts off!”

Karen’s Favorite Ancestors

“My favorite ancestor I never met has to be Hannah.  How I wish I could go back and relieve any suffering she experienced.

My favorite ancestor I have met has to be my paternal grandmother, Ava Lee Collins.  One of the most generous hearts, she epitomized the true meaning of love, nurture, and home.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Karen’s Life

“I truly believe your identity comes from all the people in your tree who have lived and died before you. Only through looking back can we go forward.”

What Karen Loves Most About Genealogy

“Finding uncanny similarities, seeing how a journey they began ended up and sometimes how that journey continues today.”

Karen’s Time Capsule Message

“Carpe diem!”

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

Larry Cragun

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Larry Cragun and his blog, Larry Cragun Family And Genealogy Blog, described as, “. . . Cragun – Bingham – Porter – South – Salinas – Spouses – Parents + Basic Genealogy information. Also a passionate advocate of FamilySearch and FamilySearch Family Tree.”

About Larry

“I was born in Shelton, Washington, lived in the Seattle area as an adult until my wife and I came to Salt Lake City to serve a full time mission at Church Headquarters Family History Mission. We like it here and may stay permanently.  I did spend my youth in Pocatello, Idaho.”

How Larry Got Started in Genealogy

Larry has been doing genealogy for about ten years now. “I kind of inherited my mother’s genes. She was an avid family history person.”

Larry’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I had blogged from the early days of blogging in a business way. My wife and I taught blogging as a real estate continuing education course for the State of Washington. We also hosted a network of business blogs. It seemed logical to write a blog when I arrived as a family history support missionary. I was one of the early beta users of family tree and realized it would be a great additional topic for my blog.

One of the best avenues in family research is collaborating. That has happened big time for me as people find my blog. I show up high on the front pages in Search Engines on lines I am working. That is one of the benefits of blog technology. The search engines like fresh content related to the topic you state your blog is about.”

Larry’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Here are a few tips for the genealogy newbie, just dive in. 10 Tips For Genealogy Newbies.”

Larry’s Favorite Blog Posts

Larry’s Time with the Ancestors

Larry is able to spend quite a bit of time researching his ancestors. “I try and make it a Sunday activity plus several hours each week, on an average probably 10 to 15 hours a week plus another 16 in the support zone answering patron questions over the phone.”

Larry’s Favorite Ancestor

“I would say Lady Alice Beconsawe. For the injustice of her being beheaded by King Charles and her grace and goodness even in this terrible event.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Larry’s Life

“It has allowed me to be put in a position to help others which is satisfying. I feel closer to my ancestors which is rewarding.”

What Larry Loves Most About Genealogy

“Learning more skills and finding lost relatives.”

Larry’s Time Capsule Message

“I love my wife and children. I am looking forward to meeting my grandmother Nancy Porter who died a young woman before I was born, and many more whom I think I have a handle on what they were like. And oh, I should have retired 5 years before I did.”

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Please take a moment to head on over to Larry’s blog. Leave him a comment letting him know you stopped by. Welcome Larry, 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 . . . Wendy Malinowski

Wendy Malinowski

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Wendy Malinowski and her blog, Our Lineage, described as, “. . . Researching Family History, One Ancestor at a Time.

I write about my ancestors, my research challenges and successes and other things that I have encountered during my quest for ancestors.”

About Wendy

“I was born in the south suburbs of Chicago, Illinois – at home – my mother woke up to feeling like she might have the flu and ‘Hello!’ Time to have a baby.  I was 8 weeks early.  I asked her once what labor was like and she asked me if I had ever shot a gun.  Oh my.  The police came to help deliver me and the family joke is the ambulance guy fainted.  I came into the world with a bang!”

How Wendy Got Started in Genealogy

“I started really diving into genealogy 20 years ago. I got interested in genealogy because I am an only child and I felt like I had no family.  Was I wrong!”

Wendy’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I decided to create a blog last year, after thinking about it for a long time.  I had people stopping to talk to me after my genealogy society meetings.  That got me to thinking that I might have something to share that people will find useful, even if only for entertainment purposes!”

Wendy’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Yes!  Have a strategy for your blog.  What do you want your blog to be about (i.e. what is your theme)?  Once you know what you generally want to write about, make a commitment to write at least once a week.  An updated blog generates more interest from people as well as search engines.  If you slip sometimes (I have lately), it happens, but get right back to it as soon as you can!  Oh – and make sure you use tags and at least one photo (Pinterest needs a photo!).”

Wendy’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I have two favorites:

  1.  Charlie, Where Are You?  One of my first blog posts, I tell the story of just how I got hooked on genealogy.
  2. This post was about my grandparents in response to a blogging prompt from the Book of Me idea by Julie Goucher.”

Wendy’s Time with the Ancestors

“My time on research varies, depending upon the problem at hand.  There are some items that I will spend an hour or two doing preliminary online research.  If I find some documents or possible leads, then I will see if I can go to those source of information, if they are local.  If not, I may do additional research on researchers in the area (yes, I said research the researchers) and see if it is worth to go further.  I can spend quite a few hours/days on research for a person.  I don’t really consider the time – it’s a passion, so it doesn’t feel like a huge amount of time to me.”

Wendy’s Favorite Ancestors

“Favorite ancestors – I have many, but here are a couple:

The niece of my great grandmother – Millicent Price – I call her Millie.  I have no idea why, but I have always been drawn to her.  When she was 16, she drank carbonic acid and killed herself.  There is a monument stone for her in Cotton Cemetery in Braceville, Illinois.  One of the first ancestors that I found.  I just wish I knew more of her story.

Another is my great grandfather, William Morgan.  At 17, he packed up and travelled to America.  Hard to imagine.  He had lost his father in January and his mother in June, I think he just had enough.  His older two brothers were in jail (skeletons, skeletons, skeletons) as well.  He must have felt like there was nothing left for him in England and he was suddenly the man of the family.  He was a coal miner and somehow manage to survive through several close mining accidents.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Wendy’s Life

“Genealogy has provided me an outlet to meet people, write a blog, etc.  I have met some wonderful people.  It has also improved my life as I have been able to share all my discoveries with my parents, cousins, etc.  I have some family members that are very thankful for all I’ve done for future generations.”

What Wendy Loves Most About Genealogy

“At times, I must admit, it is the thrill of the hunt.  Breaking down that brick wall.  It is satisfying.  A few months back, I did a random search on Ancestry for a man buried in a family plot that I have always wondered about, but never seriously researched (collateral line).  Lo and behold, there was a marriage index.  I now had a connection between this gentleman and my line.  My husband came running into the living room that night as I was yelling ‘You can run, but you can’t hide!!!!!!!!!!!!.’  He thought I was in distress because I was yelling, only to discover it was ‘only genealogy.’  I received a stern warning not to do that to him again.” 

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