Saturday, March 14, 2015

Podcasts, Historic Houses and Marketing, Oh, My!

I first "met" Marian Pierre Louis on Facebook, and we have been together quite a few times since then at genealogical events.  In one of our early conversations, Marian reminded me of the importance of valuing your professional services. Marian continues to help me evaluate my identity as a genealogist through one of her enterprises,  The Genealogy Professional Podcast. I have enjoyed the range of advice and experiences presented by her guests. Her professional focus as a genealogist has shifted over time from research to education, and we can all benefit from what she brings.

Conference attendees will have a chance to meet Marian at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Providence, RI in April  Her talk "Ten Brickwall Tips for Genealogists" will take place on Saturday, April 18.  I asked Marian about her session, and about what is going on in her life these days.

The NERGC presentation will focus on practical ways to resolve research challenges. The tips can apply to anyone, from beginners to more advanced researchers. It is a good one! Everyone should be able to walk away with at least one or two tips that they had never considered before. Beginners should find it a real toolbox for approaching genealogy problems.

Beginning her career in corporate marketing, those abilities permeate many aspects of Marian's life.  Her personal research involved ancestors in New York and Pennsylvania. As a professional, she realized that the distance from her Eastern Massachusetts home to repositories in those states would make it difficult to successfully specialize there. She redirected her research business to the southern New England states and was able to broaden her own family tree.

Marian turned her love of historic homes into a specialty as well. The physical aspect of touching and experiencing a home that someone also loved 200 years ago is intoxicating. She developed a niche, preparing histories of the houses themselves, not the inhabitants. On Facebook she found a community of like-minded historians by establishing a page called Explore Historic Houses. That passion for  the structures continues, and she looks forward finding time again to serve as a docent at a nearby museum-house.

Marian found a way to reach out to a wider audience through podcasting. She describes herself as "someone with no experience with audio production whatsoever" but that didn't stop her from embracing the technology. It was a first for me as well as a subscriber when she began "broadcasting" Fieldstone Common.  The ambitious weekly schedule brought a series of authors of historic books to an appreciative audience. We followed her through changes in platforms and equipment upgrades.  Her ace in the hole is that savior who many rely on for technical help: the teen-aged boy!

Legacy Family Tree Webinars are a popular offering from the Legacy software group.  Marian has been a presenter many times in this format as well. She has now joined Legacy part-time as Social Media Marketing Manager, which she describes as a dream job.

It is easy to set aside our family research as we get wrapped up in projects or life - is there life outside of genealogy?  Marian shared a recent breakthrough in her family research at her blog: Roots & Rambles.  She says, "I have had a re-awakening lately in terms of my own research. I feel like a kid again. I don't want to stop! Now that I don't do client research I have more time for my own family. And with the amount of digitized records that have come online thanks to Ancestry and FamilySearch,  I have been able to research my Pennsylvania and New York ancestors better without having to travel. I'm finding the thing that I love most is transforming names and dates into real people. I love learning about the people in a given generation and how they interacted. I still have quite a few brick walls so I think I'll have enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life!"

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