Genealogy. When you hear it most often images of older folks or Mormons come to mind, but put that aside for a moment. Genealogy is so much more than dates and places. It is people, it is lives, it is stories that we shouldn’t forget.
In this series, Genealogy in the Works we will be interviewing genealogist of every background. This includes gay and queer genealogists. What it means for the family tree when you are a transgender individual or how to approach issues of sensitivity like slavery and indigenous tribes. All of this comes together to create an intersectional view of genealogy and family history.
This series really wouldn’t make sense without explaining who I am first, so here goes:
Who are you?
I’m Becks Campbell. I run The Hipster Historian blog and am the sole owner of Life Stories Transcription Services. I’ve been an amateur genealogist for most of my life and in the last year have decided to go into my favorite hobby professionally. I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for 12 years and live in the Pacific Northwest.
My mother is a professional genealogist and has been for well over twenty years. As a child growing up in the Mormon Church family ties and genealogy was emphasized heavily to me and after I left the church the passion for genealogy still stuck around. I’m completely obsessed with the stories of the past and who we were and who we will become.
What does it mean to be a genealogist?
Loaded question. Genealogy, by definition, is the study and research of ancestral lines. But in reality, it is so much more than that. We as genealogists, are tasked with finding long-lost loved ones, records that may not exist and people that don’t want to be found. We pour through years of directories and censuses, and in some cases, it can be quite sobering what you’ve found.
In my narrative writing project Forgotten Women of History I’ve found stories of domestic abuse, child abandonment, and murder — to name a few. We need to be aware that when we are researching a family line either for ourselves, for friends or for clients that there needs to be sensitivity and ethics involved.
What is your favorite genealogy blog to follow?
Right now there are so many amazing blogs to follow but I would highly suggest checking out Geneabloggers by Thomas MacEntee. It is the biggest source of networking and genealogy related blogs on the web right now.
What is your current field of study or research?
After several friends with Italian heritage asked me to research their history, I got hooked. I’m currently researching the Sorrentino’s, Serago’s, Pescatore’s and Bugni’s. In addition because most of my work has been coming from that area I am slowly (but surely!) learning Italian. It is a big task, but I’m ready for it.
Where else can we find you?
I’m all over the web, but my favorite places to hang out are here at The Hipster Historian, working on transcriptions at my business Life Stories Transcription Services and my narrative writing project, Forgotten Women of History.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check by next week for our next Genealogy in the Works interview!