google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist: August 2012

Want to Build a Family History Legacy Book

The Moment I Knew - Ellen's Story



Great Great Grandfather John Goodheart
I think I was born thinking about family history. There was a picture of a Civil War Cavalry officer on my maternal grandmother’s dining room wall. I knew that it was John Goodheart, my Great Great Grandfather. I also knew he was killed in the Civil War. As a five year old, who really did not understand death, the fact that he was killed did not matter much. It was the Civil War that really fascinated me. 

An elderly woman rented an apartment from my grandparents. I used to visit her every time I visited my grandparents. I asked her over and over again, “Are you sure you don’t remember the Civil War.” She told me over and over again that she was a tiny baby during that time. I kept hoping that she would remember something. I am sure she really did not appreciate my visits. 

John's wife Cate, with daughters
Josephine and Kate
I have inherited close to 100 letters written by the same soldier, who was on my grandmother’s wall all those years ago. The letters are mostly from him, but some from his wife, one from his 8 year old daughter, and several from friends to his wife, and one that he wrote to his mother when he was in the Mexican War in 1846. These are crowning jewels of my collection. I am struggling to scan and transcribe them all. In the process, I am falling in love with my Great Great Grandfather, John Goodheart. He was a very kind and loving man, who died way too young. I have an understanding of that part of my family that I could never have achieved any other way. I am posting this excerpt that was written in December of 1861.  








John was so excited to see them. Their eleven year old son had died a month before this letter was written and he was not able to go home, which broke his heart. The fact that they could come and stay with him for the winter helped him so much. They did come and went back home. They stayed from December until March.  




For you will have plenty time hear
Camp Caladonia Dec 13th 1861
Dear Cat

I receved A Leter from you to day which enformd me that you ware all well  I am Glad to hear that you are all well once more for hit sems as though you have not ben well all of you sence I left hom.  I Rote to you By Dilworth if you wanted to Com and Stay A while with me you Could and if you Do Com you had Better have your things that you Dont want to Bring with you tuck to the Pork house and Give the house that you Rented of Low up and the other one to.  I think when you want to Go Back we can find Some other house that will sut you mutch Beter you had Better Bring just what Clothing you and the Childrin wants  I think that I Can Keep you as cheep hear as I can thare and then we can be to Gether I think that we will Be kep hear all winter and then if we Dont I think hit will Do you Good to take a tramp and see how other folks live you now that we have not long to live in this world eny how and we mite as well be to gether when we can as not  
I have ben trying to Get an opertunity to com hom for som time But Cant so I hope you will Com and see me  Lutenit Tarre wife will Com with you and if She wants wants eny money you Can Let her have hit and he will pay me.  She nos the way and I think she will help you take care of the Childrin on your way Down hear  you will have to com by the way of the Cars for I would not risk By the River for fear that hit might frese up when you com you had better rap the Childrin well and not let them get cold.  I hope you will let me now A meditly if you are coming or not so that I can Be prepared to making you Cofertbell hear and if you are Coming you had Better Com Amedlty the suner the beter cause the suner you Get hear the longer we can Stay to Gether  I hant very well to Day  I have A very Bad Cold and I Can’t hardly set up But I hope I will Get Better Sune   nothing more at present But I hope you will have Good Luck and Get Through Safe.  You must Rite to me on this ReCepcon
                                                      Your afeciant husben

Get som Good person               John Goodheart
To take Care of you things
While you ar Gon



John Goodheart was not my only ancestor. My grandmother had many more family treasures in that house. There was the MacLean County Illinois County History, with a long story about John Goodheart’s father, who had innumerable adventures before he came to this country and more after he settled here. I don’t know if any of those stories are true, and I spent years trying to prove or disprove them.  

My maternal Grandfather’s mother was a mail order bride. We are a family of redheads and because her DNA. She traveled from Belmont County Ohio to Wilson Kansas to marry my Great Grandfather and help rear his six children. She was 35 when she married him, and had two more children, and died in childbirth with the third at the age of 41. When I look at her picture, I see so much of her in so many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, including my own daughter, and somewhat in my own face. 


I have many of the same kind of treasures from my paternal family as well. The work is more difficult, because none of the pictures were identified. My dad’s family were also story-tellers. If they didn’t know the answer to the question, they would make something up. The research is not easy. I have managed to identify some, the most important. 

My dad used to tell me that my paternal Great Grandmother was responsible for all the dark hair and dark eyes in that family.  He always said that she was from Louisiana and was Cajun.  There was no truth to that story. She was born in Ohio and as was her father and her grandfather was born in New Jersey. Many people have researched that surname, and have placed my line in with a certain Ayers family, who migrated here in the 1600’s. There is absolutely no proof of that story either. On the other hand, I do have a picture of her. She appeared to have very black hair and very dark eyes. 

To me, genealogy is much more than names and dates. The stories are what really matter. The search never ends. 

Meet the Storyteller - Ellen Rowan Taylor 

Ellen was born in Pekin Illinois, 71 years ago.  She became a nurse in Chicago, Illinois, moved to Washington DC where she married, and had two wonderful children. She left DC and moved to Fort Wayne Indiana, where she discovered her real life’s work at the wonderful genealogy library. That was 34 years ago. Genealogy was only part time while she lived there. She worked, reared children, and did all those things that you do when you are young. She believes her real work is now. 



Ellen has begun two family history blogs,  her paternal family history: http://rowansheffler.wordpress.com/ and her maternal side http://beardenwoost.wordpress.com/.  

She also has Facebook closed groups for each of her families.  Facebook has been wonderful for Ellen in connecting with her cousins and their children. She has also engaged the younger generation in her family history.  

He goal now is to live long enough to finish writing her family history story. Ellen admits that writing the stories may prove to be harder than doing the research.  


If you would like to have your story published on the Armchair Genealogist for our feature The Moment I Knew, click Everyone Has a Story  for all the details.



10 Steps for Turning Blog Posts into Story Scenes

(This post is part of our ongoing series The Family History Blog to Book Project.)

A story is the sum of many scenes.  If you start with the mindset that each and every blog post you are about to write on your family history blog is in fact a scene in a story you’ll be well on your way to writing that elusive family history book.

Scenes can be a single chapter, or a chapter can contain several scenes. It’s the call of the writer how they wish to organize their book. But organize we must.  For our blog to book project every blog post will be a scene in your family history story.

Every scene needs to deliver a piece of the story. Every scene has a mission just like every blog post.

If you can write a blog post, you can write a scene to a story. (You might want to tweet that)

Below I have outlined 10 steps to creating a scene that will also behave as a blog post. Your scenes will be able to stand alone as an individual blog posts on your family history blog but also they will serve as a scene in your family history story.


Step 1 – Ask what happens in this scene. What is the purpose of your scene? What piece of the story is this particular scene going to reveal. Refer to your outline, you have one right? In that outline you should have identified the chapters, and each chapter should have a list of scenes. Now write one or two sentences that will describe this particular scene.

Step 2- Determine if this scene is crucial to telling your family history story. How will it move the story along? Make each scene count, each scene should move your family history story forward. You should be aiming to incorporate only those things into your blog that serve the purpose of your larger story. Whether that is to move the plot along, enhance your theme, build your ancestor’s character, or foreshadow what’s to come.

Make a  bullet point list for everything you hope to accomplish within this scene. As you sit down to do the actual writing, things often change, but the goals keep you on target. If don’t end up including a piece of information in a scene, make a note of it so that you can try to remember to include that “goal” in a later scene.

Step 3- Identify which ancestors will be present in this blog post. You want to be sure to only bring necessary ancestors to the party. Don’t force ancestors into a scene where they don’t belong just because you feel the need to make sure every ancestor gets their day. This is very difficult for genealogists, we have a no ancestor left behind mentality. But when it comes to writing your family history story keep them in context with your story and plot line.

Each scene is an opportunity to illuminate your characters. Your earliest blog posts will focus a lot on the characteristics of your ancestors as we get to know them. Use each scene as an opportunity to demonstrate to the reader an aspect of your ancestor’s character.

Step 4 – Identify the setting for your scene. Seems obvious, but the trick is not to make it too obvious. You don’t want the scene to read like a inventory of the setting. Have your ancestor interact with the setting. Make sure the setting doesn't come all at once. Your goal is to use your 5 senses to really draw the reader deeply into your ancestor’s world all the while establishing a setting without stopping to describe it.

Step 5 – Make sure you have the 3 essential elements of every good scene. – Every scene should contain a place, a timeframe and a change that moves the story forward. Every time your story changes place, or time frame you have a new scene.

Step 6- Start your scene with a hook. Like every good story starts with a hook. every great scene needs a good hook. Decide on where to start. Brainstorm the beginning of the scene. Every blog post needs a good hook to capture your reader. Think out 2 or 3 possible options to start the scene, don't just go with the first thing that pops into your head. A good place to start…in the middle. You have options, draw out the purpose of your story with a big lead up or cut to the chase. Each scene needs to deliver the best possible reader experience while serving the larger story.

Step 7- End your blog post with a hook. The reader should be propelled into the next scene. You need to identify your ending so that it transitions well into your next blog post. The ending of your scene should seem like a natural place for the reader to rest. The ending should wrap up the scene, and remember it’s when the change occurs. Your ending could take the form of a cliffhanger, or a question or a statement. But it’s always important to leave them wanting more so they’ll come back tomorrow for your next blog post. These will become the page turners in your book. Of course by determining the ending of your blog post you will have completed two missions, you will have fulfilled the purpose of this scene and you will have established the mission of the next scene.

Step 8- Make a movie in your mind. Play out the scene like a movie in your mind and then jot it down in bullet points creating an detailed outline of the scene as you see it. This way you won’t forget a thing and you can write freely without worrying about losing an important point.

Step 9 – Write the scene out in full. Once you made that bullet point list, begin to write until you have captured your scene and everything you have outlined in the scene.

Step 10- Repeat.  Repeat this several hundred times and you’ll have a family history blog filled with your family history stories but you’ll also be ready to easily transition them into a family history book.

A few extra tips:
Try to work on your scenes in advance so you have time to go back and revise and edit. Some scenes maybe long and perhaps will extend past a 500-800 word blog post. You are in control. Fee free to have a long blog post or split that scene up into a Part 1 and Part 2 if necessary. There are no hard and fast rules hear. Be flexible and follow your creative juices.

The goal of The Family History Blog to Book Project is that once you have written every blog post you’ll have completed your first draft manuscript of your family history story.

Join the Family History Blog to Book Project, become a AG regular reader and receive emails delivered right to your inbox so you won't miss a thing. Sign up today.


Monday Morning Mentions


(I'm a little late this week with Monday Morning Mentions. I spent this past summer Sunday evening enjoying Shakespeare in High Park in Toronto. It was a lovely evening enjoying Shakespeare under the stars with some great company. I didn't think you would mind. Also take note of a new feature I have included in Monday Morning Mentions - The Webinar Watch!)

Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on the events of the week at the Armchair Genealogist and in the blogging and book community. Over my morning cappuccino, I will take the opportunity to share with you some of my favourite blogs posts this week and give a nod to my peers.


You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. You can also follow me on twitter at @LynnPal or my twitter paper The Armchair Genealogist Journal.



At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following:

Monday Morning Mentions
Little Libraries Make a Big Impact 
The Moment I Knew- Marta's Story 

This week's mentions include: Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist.

A lesson we genealogist need to keep in mind; never take yourself too seriously. This week, two bloggers offered up some entertaining posts that poke a little fun at how we categorize ourselves and  perhaps how others may see us. I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. 


Lorrine at Olive Tree Genealogy asks What Type of Genealogist Are You?  Are you on the list?  If not check out the comments and add your type to the list. 


and then skip over to read

Amy Coffin at We Tree Genealogy and If Genealogy Dominated Reality Television and see if you happen to recognize yourself among her highly entertaining options. 



Writing Family History - great advice or information on writing your family history.
This week’s mention:

Sheila Bender author of Writing and Publishing Personal Essays offers the first of a 3-part series, Finding Starts in Personal Essay Writing at The Heart and Craft of Life Writing. Part 1 is an exercise in getting started for those of you needing a helping hand. 



Social Media for the Genealogist - this will include social media advice and learning opportunities from experts both inside and outside of the genealogy industry.

This week's mentions: 

I stumbled across this post at Fast Company, addressing productivity issues that we all seem to suffer from in one form or another. What Successful People Do With the First Hour of Their Work Day has some interesting ideas to consider. 



New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box

This week's mention: 

Love the concept of this new  genealogy blog, but of course I love a good book so naturally I can only be excited about Blogging About GenBooks. Andrea, a librarian and genealogist has taken on reviewing genealogy books on this new blog and I'm looking forward to reading her reviews. 


Books that Move and Matter - each week we will feature an ebook or print book with the family historian in mind. It may come as a great source of information, for research or writing or playing to our historical interests, or may just be a great read I think genealogists will love.

In light of the post of above I thought I would highlight Sheila's book this week. Writing and Publishing Personal Essays by Sheila Bender. This book is an indepth look at the personal essay. She offers a chapter on each of the eight different personal essays that she has identified, offers examples along with comments about what makes each one good and how it could be better. She helps you find examples in your own life to write about, how to shape them into an essay and how to critique others work with her 3 step method. Available in paperback or on Kindle. 


The Webinar Watch - Each week we will list upcoming webinars mostly in genealogy, but occasionally I come across one for writing or social media I think is beneficial,  I'll be sure to share it here. 


This week's webinars: 

Building a Family From Circumstantial Evidence by Judy Russell at Legacy Family Tree Webinars on Wednesday Aug 29th. FREE

Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker by Denise Spurlock through the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree Extension Series on Saturday Sept 1st. FREE


You can find more new genealogy bloggers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.

For other great reads, Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs

Read Friday Finds by Julie Cahill at GenBlog 

Dan Curtis, Professional Personal Historian always puts together some interesting selections in Monday's Link Round-Up.

And Jana Last list some favorites on Follow Friday -- Fab Finds for August 24, 2012 by Jana Last on Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog. 

Michael Leclerc writes From the Blogs, on the Mocavo Genealogy Blog.  

Have a great genealogy week, keep researching and writing!

The Moment I Knew - Marta's Story


1898 Great-Grandmother Jennie with My Grandmother Mary
and twin sister Rose 
I could not title this the “moment” I knew because it was a series of events that made me realize I wanted to research my genealogy. I was fortunate to live near both sets of grandparents growing up, but my paternal grandmother was a widow and I never knew my grandfather. I never thought to ask her about Joseph Rawlings since her name was that of her second husband.

Then I found my mother’s family register and she nearly took my skin off telling me that it had belonged to her Grandpa Nick and I was not to touch it. I was able to look at this family group sheet from 1909 long enough to recognize my maternal grandmother’s name, but didn’t get a chance to really study it. I was so intrigued that my mouth nearly watered. I should have asked my grandmother about it, but she literally believed in the saying “children should be seen not heard”. When she came to live with us she had developed Alzheimer’s disease before it had that name. She would tell me things like that she spoke German with her parents and that her father did not let her date when she was 21 years old. I did learn some things about her life growing up in a home where the European fashion of living was still the norm and they carried Catholic Missals with the Mass in German.

1909 Family Register (page 1) 
When I had back surgery in 1995, I attempted to return to work, but was suffering constant pain. I was accustomed to a high-pressure world of creating new banking products in response to our competition. I was at home with nothing to do and going quietly crazy. It was then that everything came together. I got a copy of the family register from my mother. She still would not let me have the original! I made calls to my relatives in Ohio to pick their brains. Then I started recording my mother reminiscing about the past. I had started. I was becoming a genealogist. I did as much research as I could with my computer and the branch of the National Archives in Atlanta. I discovered that my paternal grandfather had been born across the state of Ohio from where I was born and raised. But why did he move so far and without any relatives nearby? Obviously I had to go to my hometown of Wellsville, Ohio and to my Aunt Esther. 

Esther was related to me by marriage through my father’s brother Joseph. She was the collector of all of the family traditions and faithfully recorded all births, marriages and deaths in her Bible. She had also known my grandfather since she married into the Rawlings family in 1938 or 1939 and my grandfather did not pass away until 1941. She talked about him being away on trips as an engineer on a steam locomotive with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Esther also told me that my grandfather’s mother had died rather young and that his father sent the boy to live with his grandfather. It was more to add to the story, but I still didn’t know their names or where they had lived.

One item that came up for discussion was a phone call my aunt had received from a woman who claimed that her name was also Rawlings and she was trying to discover what had become of Joseph Henry Rawlings, my grandfather. The woman said she knew he had moved to Wellsville. The stranger named Rawlings had called my aunt because she knew that there was a good chance that if there were sons, they may be named Joseph or Henry since those names occurred often in the Rawlings family. Esther’s telephone was still listed as Rawlings, Joseph and Esther and so the searcher called there. My Aunt Esther was trying to be cautious and told Ms. Rawlings that she would have someone call her back. It was over a year later when she was telling me about the telephone call and all I could do was hope she had kept the caller’s information. My great luck was holding; she had placed the name and telephone number in her Bible.

Nervously I called Teresa Rawlings the next day hoping that she would remember calling my aunt. She not only remembered, she was pleased to hear from me. I learned that day that my grandfather was called “Little Joe” by his father and other relatives. His father’s name was Andrew Johnson Rawlings rather than John as I had found in my baby book. She had married into the Rawlings family of Meigs County, Ohio which was across the state from my hometown in Columbiana County. Her husband Donald was the grandson of Andrew Johnson Rawlings. But wait, Andrew was my great-grandfather but the grandfather of Donald who was only 4 years older than me. After my great-grandmother had died, my great-grandfather eventually remarried and fathered 3 more children. The youngest was Raymond Vincent the father of Teresa’s husband Donald.

I visited my newly found relatives several months later. I learned while there that my grandfather had moved across the state to work on the railroad. He didn’t care for being a farmer. I shared pictures of my father and his siblings and Teresa showed me the notes that my grandfather had written to his father.

My Grandparents Mary and Joseph Rawlings
Wedding Photograph 1911
Each day holds the promise of new discoveries. Recently I found the granddaughter of my father’s sister Gladys. This granddaughter has access to photographs of my grandfather whom I had never seen. I have now seen the marriage photograph of Joseph Henry Rawlings and Mary Gillespie. I have even seen Mary as a beautiful blonde 4-year old.

Every morning I get up wondering what I may discover. 







Meet the Storyteller - Marta Rawlings


Marta is a middle-aged grandmother who lives with 5 dogs. She grew up in Ohio, but moved to Georgia to escape the snow in 1978. After 25 years as a systems analyst, retirement has allowed her to pursue genealogy. Since becoming a grandmother she has expanded her research to include her former husband’s family and her daughter-in-law’s families so she can pass as much information as she can to her grandchildren. She still likes to keep her hand in technology so she has built some websites including www.rawlingsrollingshistory.com. It houses the newsletters of the former “Rawlin(g)s-Rollin(g)s Family History Association”. She adds information to the website as it is sent to her by other researchers. She wanted to write a blog about the things she has noticed or discovered while doing research, she posts entries to this blog as she trips over them. myfamily-history.blogspot.com. You can also find her on Facebook; my-profile.


If you would like to have your story published on the Armchair Genealogist for our feature The Moment I Knew, click Everyone Has a Story  for all the details.



Little Libraries Make a Big Impact

A couple of weeks ago I was taking a walk through my neighbourhood when I spotted something new on my neighbours front lawn. Curious, I took a closer look, in fact the very nature of it invited me to come closer and look inside. It was a little library.

Coincidentally, a couple of days earlier I had just read an article about micro-libraries and how they were growing in popluarity, and in a blink of an eye one appeared in my neighbourhood. Also known as readcycling, I was surprised to learn that micro-libraries had arrived in the sleepy little town of Simcoe, Ontario.

When I read this article a few weeks back, I tweeted it because I really thought it was brilliant for a few reasons.

1. In this day when governments are cutting back on library funding, these little libraries demonstrate that communities are going to take matters into their own hands and that libraries are still a very important part of the community. We're sort of going backwards, because I can imagine this is how it all began.

2. This is a brilliant way to share your love of reading and your love of what ever kind of book you choose to read. What an awesome way for a family historian or genealogist to share their passion. It gives new meaning to 'taking it too the street.'

3. It promotes community. In this day of social circles focused mainly on the internet, providing a small library to your neighbourhood brings social back home.

If you want to learn more about little libraries and  how you can create your own head over to littlefreelibrary.org.


Their mission is to promote literary and the love of reading by promoting free book exchanges across the world. They want to build a sense of community and to build more than 2510 libraries across the world.

At littlefreelibrary.org you can purchase a ready made library from their website. A little pricey, however, you can also build your own. They provide the directions free of charge. Once you have assembled your library you can make a $25.00 donation to littlefreelibrary.org and they will place your library on their world map and send you one of their signs to hang on your library to help spread the word.

They have wonderful shining examples on their website of how others across the world have embraced this mission. Suggestions include a little library near a community garden where gardeners can donate horticultural books to swap. Of course the libraries work best where there is foot traffic, live by a play park, you can insert children’s books in your little library.

 If your genealogical society has a permanent residence you can establish one there. Fill it with genealogy books, a great way to encourage the pursuit of genealogy and find new members. Books are borrowed and returned on the honor system. Little Libraries reports that the communities have received them well and seldom do they hear of books being stolen or vandalism to the libraries themselves.

Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames tweeted back that she thought an old greenhouse might be another great vehicle to house a little library. In the article mentioned above, old phone booths have become quite popular, but it just shows you, we are only limited by our imaginations.

A wonderful example of a little idea gone big, this is a great project for the genealogical community to get behind.

Do you have a little library in your community? Do you have a suggestion of where a micro-library might find a home?  Be sure to leave your thoughts below so others can benefit and we can contribute to this fantastic mission.

Monday Morning Mentions



Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on the events of the week at the Armchair Genealogist and in the blogging and book community. Over my morning cappuccino, I will take the opportunity to share with you some of my favourite blogs posts this week and give a nod to my peers.


You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. You can also follow me on twitter at @LynnPal or my twitter paper The Armchair Genealogist Journal.



At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following:

Monday Morning Mentions
The Moment I Knew - Andrea's Story
Map Your Family History Like a Best-Selling Novel 


This week's mentions include: Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist.

On Jane Friedman's blog this week, Copyright is Not a Verb brings some great clear, simple easy to understand advice from copyright lawyer Brad Frazer. 


Marion Pierre-Louis offered to posts with great resources, first one up is Round-Up of Genealogy Webinar Providers and secondly Why I Love Tom Jones Even More Now! In both posts Marian points us in the direction of some great learning opportunities. 


Shelley from a Sense of Family brings more educational opportunities with 15 Websites for Genealogy Education. 


Writing Family History - great advice or information on writing your family history.
This week’s mention:

This week from The Heart and Craft Writing comes  What's the Difference Between an Essay and a Story? It begs you to ask the question: Is your family history a story or a personal essay? 




Social Media for the Genealogist - this will include social media advice and learning opportunities from experts both inside and outside of the genealogy industry.

This week's mentions: 

More great stuff this week from Duct Tape Marketing including Why Blogging is Even More Critical in the Age of Social . If you're a genealogist and not blogging then this post is for you. 

And you may want to download this free ebook How to Grow an Insanely Profitable Coaching or Consulting Business also from Duct Tape Marketing. 


And we can all use a little find tuning from time to time, so don't miss Jane Friedman's  Build a Better Author Bio For Twitter. Simple and straight forward advice. 

Books that Move and Matter - each week we will feature an ebook or print book with the family historian in mind. It may come as a great source of information, for research or writing or playing to our historical interests, or may just be a great read I think genealogists will love.




This week's pick is a biography by Marlena de Blasi author of One Thousand Days in Venice. Marlena befriends a elderly woman Antonia while on a writing assignment and this is her story. In Antonia and Her Daughters: Secrets, Love, Friendship and Family in Tuscany Marlena tells the story of a young Italian woman during the second World War and the suffering of the Italians during this time including starvation, rape, and the loss of son of so many friends and family. The story of Antonia is told with her permission, after her death, so that her daughters might learn the true story of her life during that time. 


You can find more new genealogy bloggers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.

For other great reads, Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs

Read Friday Finds by Julie Cahill at GenBlog 

Dan Curtis, Professional Personal Historian always puts together some interesting selections in Monday's Link Round-Up.

British and Irish Genealogy blog offers lots of goodies, This week brings Genealogy News for August 17th

And Jana Last list some favorites on Follow Friday -- Fab Finds for August 17, 2012 by Jana Last on Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog. 

Have a great genealogy week, keep researching and writing!

Map Your Family History Like a Best-Selling Novel

Today were outlining our family history story. As the next step in our blog to book project we are ready to lay out our family history research into a story outline. This is going to make writing our scenes and blog posts so much easier as we move forward.

This map will be our road-map, our plan to taking all those bits and pieces of information and organizing them so we can write the book that our family will want to read - a family history novel.

If you missed our last video you can find it on our Family History Blog to Book Project page along with all past posts.

So watch the video below and learn to map your family history story like a best-selling novel.




If your just discovering the Family History Blog to Book project then be sure to leave us your email so you won't miss a thing. Join The Armchair Genealogist

The Moment I Knew - Andrea's Story

Ophelia Bryant 1923

In a way; it’s my first year blogging coming full circle. I started my blog on May 30, 2011 and now I literally just went to my Google reader and saw your post come out 4 minutes ago and I know for sure that for the rest of my life, this genealogy thing ain’t going away. Now before this, I knew when I was child that the image of my great grandmother Ophelia Bryant meant something. What does it mean to mean something? I think it means that no matter what goes on in your life, no matter what distractions may come up and try to take you away from something that is so part of your truth, no matter what, you will come back to it. For me, it has always been that picture of my great grandmother Ophelia hanging in my grandmother’s bedroom.  That picture meant family. It meant connection. It meant I was part of something greater than myself and I had a duty to share that with others.


Mary Horton and Andrea
My grandmother, Mary Horton, was special as was so many of the sweet cast of characters I got to know as family as I was growing up. I was so blessed as a child to have 3 grandmothers. You see, my mother’s parents divorced when she was young and my grandfather Lemuel Harrison remarried and had 3 additional children. He had two from his first marriage. My step-grandmother, Vadnie Harrison, was like the cherry on top of an extremely good sundae. So much love, so much positive motivation to be passed down to my brother and I. Somewhere within me, I think I just archived the emotions, the connections and memories, somehow knowing that what I felt should be passed down to those that followed. It was too good to just keep to myself.

Lemuel Harrison and Andrea 
Then life stepped in as it always does and puts things on the back-burner. I went to college away from home. I made new friends and had many adventures. I decided to make my life in upstate NY after I graduated from college, away from those strong memorable roots that I had been blessed to be given to get my life started on the right track, as opposed to the wrong, as happened for some in my family.  I started a career. I got married and had my children. Always in the background, was that picture of Ophelia, lying quietly waiting. She knew. I don’t know how she knew, but with the simple gesture of taking a picture with her then six month old daughter in the spring of 1923, she knew she was igniting a fire.

Well I carry that fire now within me. Through my blog and the through the connections I make through it, well, that fire keeps growing. I don’t know where this is going to take me but somewhere, wherever my great grandmother is, I know she is smiling.

Meet the Storyteller - Andrea Kelleher


Andrea Kelleher is a stay at home mother of two from Johnson City, NY. Her longing to want to know more about her roots stemmed from seeing a portrait of her great grandmother that hung in her maternal grandmother’s bedroom when she was a child. She began doing her research on her family tree in July 2009. She chronicles her discoveries on her blog, “How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy  Journey.” Her roots predominantly come from eastern North Carolina with her closest ties to Carteret and Craven counties.


You may ask why the name “How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey”?  She says, “The name is a constant reminder to myself that I stand on the shoulders of all those that came before me.  All those choices, sacrifices, hard work, and struggles for survival are all part of my DNA and my spirit. I feel a connection to my ancestors and I feel a duty to share these discoveries about them.”


You can find Andrea at her blog How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey and you can catch up with her on Facebook



If you would like to have your story published on the Armchair Genealogist for our feature The Moment I Knew, click Everyone Has a Story  for all the details.