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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Making Music with Genealogists

Saturday, 12 June 2010, Marriott Convention Center, SCGS 41st Annual Jamboree:

(Photo by Dick Eastman, lifted shamelessly from his blog . . . Thanks, Dick, for sharing)

(Photo by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, used with permission)

Our ancestors would sing together after a long day of work. Tonight the genealogists who attended the Jamboree in Burbank had a taste of that experience. I took out my guitar and my husband came to join us and we raised voices in song, singing a bunch of old favorites. A small crowd gathered, drifting in and out throughout the hour of serenading, most singing along with "Golden Slippers," "Grandfather's Clock," "Old Dan Tucker," "She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain," "Long, Long Ago," "Oh, Susanna," "This Land is Your Land," "500 Miles," and more and more. What a fun time to harmonize with friends and strangers.

(Harmonizing with Thomas MacEntee - photo lifted from Dick Eastman's blog without permission - but hopefully with forgiveness . . . thanks, Dick!)

Music truly does bring folks together!


  1. How wonderful! Would love to have been there. Thanks, Miriam, for the photo, as well! How neat!

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories, written, orally and in song!

    Bill ;-)

    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  2. Loved to have been there! How wonderful!!!

  3. It looks like you were all having a great time. It would have been fun to have been there.

  4. Congratulations!!! is very beautifull the music and sing with a good friends, the last 12 june in my house my father and mother and a very nice friend, we play piano, guitar and song a beautifull songs about our folk music, was wonderfull!!!! In this moment i listen the music of your friend Pernell, that is wonderfull and i try to learn de letters for sing and play guitar, I like a song "in the pines" of him.. A hug for you Jean and thanks a lot..Sorry for my english

  5. We had a great time; just a PS - Dick Eastman has since granted full permission for my use of the photos. Thanks, Dick!