Saturday, June 27, 2009

Welcome, Jamboree Attendees!


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 22 years, and we have two good-looking, intelligent, and compassionate teens (one of each), a high-school graduate and an incoming sophomore. 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!

I also recently started a new website, the Online City, County, and Rural Directory website. Have you ever wished you could find links to all the online city directories in one place? A place where they were listed by location and in date order? This is the purpose of the Online City, County, and Rural Directories Website. It is meant to be used as an aid to genealogists, historians, and other researchers. My goal is to have a complete listing for city, county, rural, business, and other types of directories for the United States and Canada, and then go on to add directories for other countries. I also have lists of resources, articles, and ideas of where to find offline city directories. And there is an accompanying blog (of course!) where you can see the latest updates and new pages on the site.

Although I can't attend Jamboree this year, I will be attending the Washington State Genealogical Society 2009 State Conference in Spokane on September 11 - 13 at the world-famous Davenport Hotel. I'm on the conference committee and we have a wonderful lineup of speakers and vendors including Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Bruce Buzbee. I hope you can attend!

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! 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. We will be having a Scanfest this weekend here at AnceStories, so if you get a chance between sessions, please drop by and join the chat!

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. Now that summer vacation is here, I plan to be spending more time blogging on a regular basis. Please know that I read all comments before publishing them, as well as any e-mails I receive. 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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