Politicians, stay-at-home dads, academics and businesswomen - they all know the value of family and the joys of keeping in touch. But what is on their family photos? How often do they call their mother, and what celebrity do they secretly admire? Get ready to find out through the MyHeritage interview series!
Tami Glatz is a genealogist, a blogger and public speaker. She started a genealogy blog entitled 'Relatively Curious' last year on which she covers websites she finds interesting, her research processes and different ways to approach genealogy problems. Although it started as a personal project, it grew to be an invaluable resource for other genealogists, recognised by Family Tree Magazine as belonging to the top 40 of genealogy blogs, and a great portal through which to interact with other genealogists. But her blog is not the only place she engages with the genealogy community. Finding she had a passion for speaking to libraries and genealogy societies she looked to spread the world about genealogy further. After her discovery of the virtual world Second Life and coming to grips with the concept of an avatar, hosting a monthly discussion in one of the online genealogy areas seemed like the obvious next step for her. Read more here about all of these activities here:
When did you set up your website and why?
At first I put together a webpage to store all my genealogy bookmarks, so that I could access them remotely and share them with others. What I really wanted was a toolbar so that I could easily have all of my own favorite genealogy websites at my fingertips, in an organized manner, and be able to share with anyone who might like it as well. I found a way to put one together, and am constantly updating and adding to it. I now have created such a toolbar, free for anyone to download.
My other web project is my blog. Keeping a weblog was intended mainly as a sort of 'genealogical catharsis' - I had so much to say and my family's eyes would just glaze over whenever I started taking genealogy so I decided to start writing online. Writing helps me clarify my thoughts and I hope they can be beneficial to others’ research.
What interests you about genealogy?
I love the idea that somehow we are all related, and that genealogy is just one big puzzle with unlimited pieces. It is fascinating to me how many times I meet someone and end up finding out we’re distant cousins in some way. That feeling of connectedness definitely colours how I see the world, and how I interact with people day to day.
What is on your favourite family photo?
It’s difficult to narrow down just one favorite family photo- but if I did, it would have to be a photograph of my grandmother at about age 13. I use it as my profile picture on Facebook and Genealogywise most of the time and I've included it here too. In her face I see my father, and I see myself. It reminds me that every one of my ancestors was young once, lived and breathed, loved and cried, and their stories are a part of who I am today.
What is your favorite holiday and how does your family celebrate it?
My favorite holiday is probably Thanksgiving. While I am always very grateful for all the blessings in my life, I especially appreciate having a holiday focused on being thankful. It was traditionally an important holiday in my family when growing up, and I don't think I remember any Thanksgiving as a child without at least a dozen people around the table covered with my mom's incredible cooking. I still celebrate it much the same way- mountains of home-made traditional foods, and as many family and friends around the table as possible.
How international is your family?
I've never really thought of my family as international, since both of my parents were from small towns in Ohio. My father's side were all in the US long before it was even the US. My mother's dad, though, came from England (and researching his line has led to a serious suspicion of indiscretion with royalty on the part of his grandmother - but that’s another story...) My husband is of German, Austrian and Polish descent and has a brother living in Germany. But what makes me feel most international is our oldest daughter, who lives and travels all over the world, working for an oil exploration company. She currently lives in Algeria, where she met her fiancee, who is Berber, and plans to marry soon in New Zealand.
How do you think technology impacts family?
I think technology can bring distant and extended family members so much closer together. Because of instant messaging on the internet, I chat with my daughter in Algeria almost daily. Online I have met and am in regular contact with distant cousins in England and Australia that I otherwise wouldn’t have even known about. And I am able to be in much more regular communication with all my relatives here in the US via Facebook. Gosh, even my 86-year-old dad has a Facebook page. But I'll have to admit, it does get a bit bizarre when I find myself communicating with our two kids via instant messenger - and they're just in the next room!
What MyHeritage feature do you like most?
It's hard to narrow down to one. I like the ability to invite family to share information, but if I had to pick one I really like the SmartMatches feature, that connects your tree to other people who share common relatives.
What famous person would you like to have in your family
I think the only real benefit to having a famous person in your family tree is that someone has probably already researched their history. I'd much rather have a humble farmer, or simple tradesman who kept a detailed daily journal and copious notes on his own ancestors! My most prized possessions are such journals that my grandmother kept, as well as letters she saved that were written to her grandmother, from her grandmother. (I wasn't even going to try to research the Jones line, until I found one of those letters, dated 1834, that started "Now here are the begets and begats of the Jones family", sending my research back into the early 1700s)