Saturday, August 23, 2008

Getting To Know Me, Getting To Know Destination: Austin Family

This post was written as part of the Getting to Know You Challenge for Bloggers hosted by Terry Thornton at Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi.

My name is Thomas MacEntee and I've been fascinated with genealogy and family history since I was a child. About 13 years ago, I was handed a copy of a genealogy for the ancestors of David Putman printed in 1916 which allowed me to begin tracing my roots.

Outside the blogosphere, I guess you would say "real life," I live in Chicago where I also work out of my home for a large global law firm based in San Francisco. Much of my work duties involve creating templates and applications using Microsoft Office for over 1700 users world-wide. I've been working in the Information Technology field for close to 20 years.

I began Destination: Austin Family in late 2006 but really didn't begin posting heavily until September of 2007. The initial motivation behind blog writing was to not only document my journey looking for my Austin roots as well as other branches, but also as an outlet. As my mother's early-onset Alzheimer's Disease progressed to its inevitable outcome, I found that writing was therapeutic. And it put me in touch with a great group of fellow genea-bloggers, many of whom had already traveled down that road of caring for an ailing parent.

Why would a reader want to visit, and more importantly keep visiting Destination: Austin Family? What began as a family history blog has really morphed into a site where I can hopefully bring genealogy - both as pastime and profession - into the 21st century by taking advantage of new technology, much of it free for the asking. My goal is to make visitors realize that while belonging to a local genealogical society or doing research at a local Family History Center is still valuable, one can still "connect" with other researchers in the blogosphere and find a safe, encouraging and supporting environment. In&bsp;know that working at home for me does not mean isolation or removal from a professional network of colleagues. So too, being an "at home" genealogist doesn't mean you have to work in a vacuum. You can connect with others, you can share the joy of tearing down a brick wall, and you can share the sadness of losting another leaf off the family tree.

My Brightest

Title: Off-Topic: Blood Test for Alzheimer's Disease

One of my very first posts, it highlights in sometimes excruciating detail what it is like to have a parent diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease at age 58.

My Breeziest

Title: A Man With Dolls

I actually started selecting this post first since it was not just breeziest, but easiest. As a submission for the Cabinet of Curiosities over at Walking the Berkshires, this post describes my childhood being raised by a single mother, having 41 first cousins, and learning that boys drool and girls rule.

My Beautifulest

Title: Kenny's Choice: A Veteran's Day Tribute

This was a work of love but very difficult to both research and write. I conducted a long phone interview with my first cousin - Kenny's mother - which I recorded for reference. It was difficult to keep hearing the pain in my cousin's voice as she recounted not only how Kenny died in Iraq but also how he was loved.

My Journey . . . And Why You Might Want To Come Along

You never know what you may find here at Destination: Austin Family since posts cover almost all aspects of family history and genealogy including how my family lived, fought in wars, made peace with each other, stayed mad at each other, kept secrets, survived disasters both man-made and natural, used technology and basically made their way through each century, each decade, each year and each day.

But what is and will be always the same: the road to Destination: Austin Family is welcoming as well as scenic.


Sheri said...


One day, when I grow up, I want to write just like you. Beautifully written!

Sheri Fenley

looking4ancestors said...

I have enjoyed getting to know you and Destination: Austin Family over the summer. Your posts for each category are wonderful choices. I laughed; I cried - you get the idea. I look forward to reading future posts and getting to know you better.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Thanks Sheri and Kathryn - I really appreciate your comments!

Amy said...

Thomas, I enjoyed the posts you selected for this event. Your writing is quite moving.

wendy said...

Thomas - always look forward to reading your posts & especially enjoyed re-reading the 3 you picked for this round-up! Thanks for sharing!