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.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Traveling genealogist/folklorist

I am on tour at the moment. It's been an interesting trip thus far. We stopped at the museum in Mariposa, CA, where they play my "Songs of the California Gold Rush" CD in the background all day long. It was a weird experience to hear that when I went into the museum! We got a VIP tour of all the grounds, including the archives for the county records in a temperature-controlled vault, built by the County, for the storage of all the documents, artifacts, and other records. What an incredible room! And they allowed room for expansion, including huge cabinets mounted on rails so they can move across the floor for easier access. Very impressive.

We also visited with one of my second cousins in Sunnyvale, then headed to the campground to relax before tomorrow's presentations I'm giving in Napa. I did some practicing once we set up camp and the folks in the campsite next to us heard me and invited us over to play some more music. They are traveling from their British Columbia home but are natives of Ireland, so we played some Irish music for them and had a lovely visit before it got too chilly and it was time to go fix dinner.

So far, the weather has been perfect and the company exceptional. Both dogs are behaving themselves and there is nothing to complain about!

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