Saturday, September 27, 2008

Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know AnceStories

With the advent of so many new genealogy blogs online, Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County has challenged all genea-bloggers (newbies and old hands) to introduce themselves and their blogs. Two months ago, I wrote a similar post, "What This Blog is All About," here.

My name is Miriam Robbins Midkiff, and I live in Spokane, Washington, USA, about 15 miles west of the Idaho border, the largest urban area between Seattle and Minneapolis. I've been married for 21 years, and we have two good-looking, intelligent, and compassionate high-school-age teens (one of each). By turns we are adored or ignored by our frisky middle-aged tabby, Tessa. I've been a special education paraeducator with my local school district for nine years, where I work with developmentally impaired teens at the middle-school level. I also teach online genealogy classes (basic and intermediate) through the local community college district and the county library district. I'm a member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, am active on several committees--including co-authoring their blog--and teach and speak at both EWGS and other societies in the Inland Northwest. I'm a co-administrator at Facebook's Genea-Bloggers Group, and have several other blogs I (try to) maintain!

As you can see, genealogy is a huge part of my life. I began this blog as an outlet for the need to write about something--anything--on a regular basis. I can't not write! "AnceStories" was a word I coined when I created a website years ago to write the stories of my ancestors. I discovered blogging was a lot quicker and easier than creating web pages. Series are especially interesting for me to write, but I admit that I'm not always good at wrapping them up! Lately, I've been posting photos for Wordless Wednesday, a follow-up on the photo on Thursday, and then blogging about recent research on Friday Findings. The first day of every month, I post a Calendar of Events. I also will post press releases for genealogy-related companies, but rarely do reviews of products (non-fiction books seem to be my main exception to that rule). It's through this blog that I explain, announce, and invite others to participate with me in Scanfest.

My brightest article was originally submitted for a military-themed genealogy writing contest and was a first-prize winner: A Polar Bear in North Russia. It's about my great-grandfather's service in the U.S. Army in Russia, of all places. It's a little-known fact in American history that we sent troops there to fight against communist forces.

My breeziest ones were about Alice Teddy, the Rollerskating Bear. I got some surprising media attention for these!

Not all my articles are about bears! My most beautiful article was "One Woman: Barbara Dorothy Valk, Missionary to Central Africa, which I wrote for the 20th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy and Women's History Month 2007. In researching and interviewing relatives for background for this mini-biography, I was rewarded by discovering she was so much more than the elderly spinster aunt of my mother that I recalled meeting only twice.

I enjoy receiving comments from my readers, and try to follow up on them regularly. Lately, now that school has started, and being hampered by a shoulder injury, I'm neither blogging nor following up on comments as much as I would like. Please know that I read all comments before publishing them, as well as any e-mails I receive; I appreciate your patience as it takes longer to respond these days. The best way to get to know me within the framework of this blog is to become a regular reader by bookmarking this blog or subscribing via e-mail or a feed reader (see upper right-hand margin to enable any of those features). Visiting my profile will also tell you a bit about what motivates me to write. While I mainly write for my own pleasure and to record my family's history, it always encourages me when I receive "fan e-mail," too! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to get to know me and AnceStories a little better!
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