May I Introduce To You . . . Sally Knudsen

Sally Knudsen

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Sally Knudsen and her blog, Sally Searches, described as, “. . . A personal family history blog, documenting ancestors from Illinois and Michigan, and Germany, West Prussia, Ireland, Scotland, and Canada.”

About Sally

“I was born in Joliet, Illinois. I have degrees from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa and Roosevelt University in Chicago. My family has also lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado and outside Grand Rapids, Michigan. My mother’s family is all from Michigan, so when my husband was offered a job there, I couldn’t pack fast enough! We have been back in Illinois for about 12 years. I live ‘an hour from Chicago and a minute from a cornfield.’ I presently work in a law office and occasionally get to create and file probate records. Genealogy helps give me a different perspective on families and the law.”

Sally has been doing genealogy for over 20 years now.

Sally’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started blogging off and on, but regularly in 2011. I am blessed with a great memory, but after a while all these ancestral facts have to go somewhere! I started in hopes of finding cousin connections. The tips and ideas from GeneaBloggers were a great help for a novice!”

Sally’s Tips for New Bloggers

“My best advice is write what you know. Blog as regularly as possible, even if it’s from your own mental calendar. Connect your posts to whatever social media you are comfortable using.”

Sally’s Favorite Blog Posts

“Searching my maternal grandmother’s West Prussia family from Michigan back to modern-day Poland has been especially gratifying. Yes, their name is Dork!

My favorite post about my own family is, Twenty Crazy Days.”

Sally’s Time with the Ancestors

“Not nearly enough! Darn real life ;) Honestly, a few hours a week or when my schedule allows. Sometimes I use my research as my reward for completing my chores/errands. It works!”

Sally’s Favorite Ancestor

“The ancestor who was my first mystery, and really the reason I became interested in my family history, is Wright SPENCER. My mother kept a bag ‘hidden’ in the basement when I was young. It held a small leather wallet and several worn scraps of papers, one of which listed Wright Spencer and his birth and death dates. I would sneak into the basement and peek at it often. I knew both my Spencer grandfather and great-grandfather but I became infatuated with who this Wright Spencer could be. A genealogist was born!”

How Genealogy Has Improved Sally’s Life

“Genealogy has improved my self-awareness: learning ‘from whence I’ve come,’ understanding so many social and economic factors that influenced my ancestral family and made me who I am today.”

What Sally’s Loves Most About Genealogy

“My goal is not in the writing. Mostly I do it to challenge myself. I love finding the names, but after I have the names, I love to learn more: what they did, where they lived, information about their lives. It is a very intellectually satisfying quest. And coincidences! Who doesn’t love those!”

Sally’s Time Capsule Message

“Keep and label your photos!”

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

Jen Baldwin

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Jen Baldwin and her blog, Ancestral Breezes, described as, “. . . Discussions on genealogy methods, trends and particular interests, utilizing examples from both my personal and professional research. Genealogy in the High Country of Colorado; with an emphasis on gold rush miner’s, fraternal societies and other related topics.”

About Jen

“I was born and raised in Enumclaw, and if you know where that is, you are a step ahead of most. I have been a small town girl all my life, and have spent many years exploring the western United States. I have lived and researched in Washington, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, reveling in dusty basements, unexplored Courthouses and being ‘bear aware’ in cemeteries.”

How Jen Got Started in Genealogy

“I have been researching my family actively since 2000, but took my first notes when I was eight years old. I have been engaged in the business of genealogy since 2011.

The very first day was an interview conducted in order to complete the obligatory elementary school family history project. Having always been a fan of puzzles, it felt very natural many years later to do some initial digging into some letters found in their home after they passed away. The letters, remnants of the Civil War, were written by a set of brothers, who I shortly was able to identify as my 2nd great grandmother’s brothers. I have been hooked ever since.”

Jen’s Thoughts on Blogging

“I started my blog in 2011, for a variety of reasons. I wanted to document what I had found in my research so far, I wanted to find an audience for my interests, I wanted to work towards a professional reputation. The blogging format has allowed me to do all of that and more. I soon found that it fit my lifestyle quite well, and I now write for multiple blogs.

One thing that I have enjoyed immensely, and is a direct result of joining the GeneaBloggers community, is the social media channels that are available to us all. We have such wonderful platforms to connect with each other, engage in conversation, learn from each other and even to have debates. It is mind blowing to think how far we have come in the past few years, and I cannot wait to see how far we will go in my lifetime. How incredible is it to be able to have casual, spontaneous conversations with genealogists from around the globe?”

Jen’s Tips for New Bloggers

“Take the time to investigate several different platforms for your blog before you get going. Get the feel for the various options before you start writing, so you can identify what you need and what works for you. Secondly, stop reading articles on ‘how’ to blog, and just start doing it. Yes, there are best practices in blogging, just like with anything else; but blogging is personal for most of us. It has to come from you, from your soul. Only you can find your best method and style. Have fun, be creative, write about whatever you want, and remember your #1 reader in all things: You.”

Jen’s Favorite Blog Posts

“I do not think I could pinpoint one exact post to say is my favorite, but I do have two favorite series!  The first was a set of posts I did on Robert and Anna Hamilton, residents of Breckenridge, Colorado. A lot of questions still exist about these two, and I have not given up the search just yet, but it was a fun series to write.  I also am really enjoying my current series on Fraternal Societies in Genealogy; the who, what, when, where, why and how of conducting research into these sometimes mysterious organizations.”

Jen’s Time with the Ancestors

“Not as much as I would like. Choosing to do genealogy professionally does not allow for a great deal of time for personal research, partly because there are so many other elements of your small business that require your time and energy. However, I would estimate that I spend about 40% of my time conducting research for one project or another. I am lucky in that almost all of the material I seek out has some impact on my professional niche or personal interests, so even when I am preparing a new lecture, I am still in some capacity, researching something that I enjoy.”

Jen’s Favorite Ancestor

“Oscar F. Brown (1832-1906). Oscar is my 2nd great grandfather, brother in law to the aforementioned Civil War veterans. Oscar has been at the top of my research list as long as I have been actively researching, and he is still right there, in his usual place!  I enjoy working on his story because he is challenging and he forces me to find creative and unique ways to get to a possible answer, solution, or even to another question. I have already accumulated a great deal about his life, but I do not think I will ever tire of researching Oscar.”

How Genealogy Has Improved Jen’s Life

“Too many to list here! What an incredible adventure we have all decided to go on! I have made lifelong friends, I have explored unique stories from my personal history as well as our collective history, I have learned a great deal. I have had the opportunity to be closer to my immediate family, especially my parents, by connecting with them through this process. I have traveled, visited some incredible places. I have gained an entire community through social media and blogging.”

What Jen Loves Most About Genealogy

“Solving the puzzle, by first trying to find all the pieces. I love mixing together the social history, the specific facts about my ancestors, and the elements of science that all come together to create moments in time. It is a challenge and a joy.”

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