Thursday, January 31, 2013

Open Thread Thursday: Who Inspires You?

Lately I've been suffering from a bit of writer's block when it comes to this blog, but Thomas MacEntee over on Geneabloggers posted a topic that provided some inspiration today:

Who inspires you when it comes to genealogy and family history? Whether you are on the path to a professional career or setting up a business in the genealogy industry, or you pursue genealogy for the sheer pleasure and challenge, there must be some person, event or thing that inspired you. Let us know your “backstory” of genealogy inspiration.

My mom and her cousin Edith Carole,
after locating their grandfather Wolfe's tombstone, about 1998
Well, this is an easy one.  My mom, Geraldine Guokas Pape (who is now 84), is my inspiration when it comes to genealogy and family history.

I'm not sure exactly when Mom started working on our genealogy and family history.  It's been at least as long as my son has been alive - almost 27 years.  I remember that's when I got interested, too - that desire to know more about where you came from, so you could share that information with your own children.  Of course, it's gone way beyond that now - for both me and Mom.

Back in those early years for me - around 1987 - I remember installing Personal Ancestral File (PAF) on my Macintosh computer and using it to print out nice pedigree charts for Mom and Dad. (I still use PAF to this day.)  That was my main role back then - taking the information Mom had found, and entering it into the computer.  I was pretty busy raising the offspring and did not have time to do any research on my own.

Flash-forward to about 1997, when I started working in libraries.  Ancestry Library Edition (or its predecessor) was available in the large public library system where I worked, and I began to use it to find "stuff" for Mom.  As time went on, the "stuff" I was finding was for me as well.

I discovered I really liked doing the research - and working in libraries - and this led to my earning a master's degree in library science, and becoming a full-fledged librarian.  I was fortunate enough to do my practicum in the awesome Genealogy and Local History department of the Denton (TX) Public Library, and now I sometimes get to help people with genealogy and local history as Coordinator for Archives and Special Services at the Dick Smith Library at Tarleton State University.

(Oh, and BTW - Amy Coffin of We Tree is my inspiration for starting this blog.  I "met" Amy in LiveJournal while she and I were in - different - online library school programs.  I finally got to meet her in person at a Texas Library Association annual conference a few years later and have been following her blog from nearly its beginning.)

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. Great post. My mother got me started as well.

    1. Thank you, Devon. Went to your blog and was sorry to read about the recent passing of your inspiration. Thank you for commenting!

  2. Thanks for the mention and kind words. It seems so long ago!

  3. Wonderful post, Amanda. Lovely to hear how you got into genealogy research with your mom.

    1. Thank you, Celia, and thanks for stopping by!