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, August 27, 2010

Music, music, everywhere!

The genealogy conference in Knoxville, TN was a wonderful experience . . . I did a lot of networking, I met many wonderful friends (some of which were already "friends" via Facebook), and learned some helpful hints to further my business of being a genealogist, speaker, writer, storyteller, educator, and troubadour. Now to find the hours to put it all together. My husband Butch and I have had much to discuss as we have driven across the miles in our now-smooth-running truck-camper (see earlier blogs). My first task when I get home: set up a working schedule for my various projects so that I will not find that a whole day has passed and all I have accomplished is facebooking (is that a verb?).

While I was at the conference I made a special note of how music was a part of the conference. Earlier I blogged about Sheila Kay Adams and her marvelous performance, but there was much, much more. I attended two breakfasts, hosted by FamilySearch, and in at least one (probably both) presentation(s) given, the PowerPoint slides were augmented by (you'll guess this): music! In one program, they showed differences in research repositories in different states, so the music changed to match the venue discussed (we associate music with geographic locations).

The keynote address included music - and the audience got to sing along with the television themes for "Daniel Boone" (representing Kentucky) and "Davey Crockett" (representing Tennessee).

Of course, the use of music was prevalent in both evening events (I attended only one of these, as already mentioned, but my roommate told me about the other and showed me the photos she'd taken of musicians at the museum they visited).

There was music in elevators.

When I went to dinner with some genealogy companions, we were entertained by a busker (street musician) before we walked back to the hotel.

Music was everywhere! (And I am sure that there was a lot I didn't hear - on iPods and MP3 players with earbuds plugging the ears of the listeners.)

My point: music was also a part of the lives of our ancestors. They had their street musicians to entertain them. And music in the parlor when the day was done. And I would venture to guess that a number of them followed the admonition of the 7 dwarfs and whistled while they worked! It just seems that messages are clearer, tasks are less arduous, leisure time is more fulfilling, and getting from one place to the next is made more pleasant by the addition of music. (Of course, if you work in an office, you might want to keep that work whistling to a minimum!)

So here's a challenge: listen to the music you hear in a given day and make note of how many times (or how many different tunes) and places where you are exposed to songs and/or instrumental pieces. I'd love to "hear" what you discover!


  1. I love music! I can't imagine my life without it. It is always in my head, on the radio, or even on the TV. I love the fact that it pulls at my emotions and helps me to feel what the author was meaning to convey. The girls and I are singing (and speaking) in church on Sunday. We picked "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" to sing and help bring home the message. I love the way that music can influence others and help them remember the important things.

  2. Music is also an important part of therapy. My late fiance had his masters in expressive therapy. While he had a concentration in touch, there is a concentration in music which has peaked my interest in education. I love all kinds of music. I listen to my iPod Touch almost daily It not only helps pass the time of day but each song has special meaning to me in one way or another. Even songs that I have in Spanish. While I might not remember the words (in English), the melody has a special meaning, too!

  3. Jer and I went to a Memorial Service last Saturday at The Salvation Army Pasadena Tabernacle; I had almost forgotten what wonderful music TSA has. For this memorial there was a full brass band, an adult Songster group, a teenage Songster group, several soloists and some wonderful guitar players. Since members of The Salvation Army are considered "promoted to Glory" when they die, this woman got a wonderful send-off, with all kinds of traditional Salvation Army musical fare. It was good to hear it again, even in these circumstances.