Genealogy waits for no man (or woman) and it’s been a few weeks since I was able to get an interview for Genealogy In The Works out on the blog. But wait no longer, today’s interview is with Thomas MacEntee from Geneabloggers.
Thomas and I met when I posted my first Genealogy In The Works with Patrick Barrett — you can view it here. Through friends, I was introduced to him and other like-minded genealogy bloggers and quickly came into a deep appreciation for what he does. I’ve even done a few of his prompts with Tombstone Tuesday.
Without further ado, here is Thomas MacEntee, founder of GeneaBloggers.
1. Your website, GeneaBloggers is one of the most well-known in the social media community of genealogists. How did this start and what did you/do you hope to get from that?
In late 2008, I was able to step back and see the coming convergence of Facebook, Twitter, improved Internet access speeds and genealogy to realize there would be a need for a site such as GeneaBloggers. I know I wasn’t the only genealogy blogger and there was a small hardcore group of bloggers who were also passionate about family history. So I decided to organize these bloggers into an online community to promote the concept of blogging family history, to promote various blogs, and to provide resources to get people started on blogging.
2. How did you get started in genealogy?
My first taste was in 1977 when the mini-series Roots appeared on television. I watched the series with my great-grandparents, and after each episode, we’d discuss our family history. I was told there was a “book” about our genealogy that had been printed.
Sure enough, in the late 1980s, I received a copy of this “book” when my great-grandmother died – it was printed in 1916 and traced my mother’s Putman line back to 1645 in New York.
I really didn’t pick up the genealogy bug until the mid-1990s when Family Tree Maker software gained in popularity as did Ancestry.com
3. What is your current area of study or passion?
As a business owner of a small genealogy company, I’m trying to figure out how to communicate and create a sense of “urgency” to current and future family historians. Historically, genealogy has been something that older people pursue when they retire. We need to preserve family stories and artifacts NOW, not later and get all generational levels of the family passionate about family history.
4. Tell us a quick story about our family!
My family can be traced to Rhode Island (Robert Austin of Charlestown, b. 1628), New York (David Putman, arrived Schenectady 1645) and New York (Hugo Freer, founder of New Paltz, NY, arrived abt. 1675). I’m sure there are scandals like any family but I haven’t found too many of them so far!
Go slow – this is not a race.
Be accurate – you want to leave a solid legacy, not sloppy work.
Cite your sources – know how you found information.
Connect with others and share – you are a steward for your family history
6. Why is genealogy important to you?
Genealogy helps understand certain familial traits and behaviors and it also helps me put my family in the context of history overall.
7. What is your favorite thing about genealogy?
I love problem-solving and cracking open mysteries about my families.