About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Friday, June 12, 2009

From the Colorado Family History Expo: What Instrument Did Your Ancestor Play?

We made it to Colorado! And the Expo is great! Holly Hansen and Kimberly Savage have been working nearly round the clock to make this genealogy extravaganza particularly eventful . . . there is even a twitter cafe (whatever that is).

And our booth is set up in a back corner, where we can make music with making as little disturbance as possible. We are doing short, 5-minute "sets" of live music to interest people in the banquet presentation tonight. The question keeps coming up: What does music have to do with genealogy? Well, in my family, they played their own music when they wanted entertainment (this being pre-MP3 player). Besides, if the courting couple was playing music in the parlor, their hands were being properly occupied . . . it was when the music stopped that mother came in to see just what they were up to.

So, what instruments did your ancestor play? Mine played mandolin, violin, banjo, piano (called a piano-forte back in those days; literal meaning: "soft-loud"), and harpeleik. I still have all those instruments in my collection (we did not bring the piano on this trip, however).

If you are here in Colorado, come by booth #316 and say "hello" and answer the question: what instrument(s) did your ancestor(s) play? (If you aren't in Colorado at the Expo, just respond here at this blog and let's see how many instruments we can come up with!)

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