Friday, July 12, 2013

Reading of MAAGI and Sharpening My Own Focus

I've been a follower of my good friend and distant cousin-in-law's gen blog for several years now;  but yesterday, Yvette Porter Moore posted to her newly formatted blog, The Ancestors Have Spoken because of a challenge she had received while attending the first Mid-Western African American Genealogy Institute in St. Louis, Missouri.

As I read of how she connected with a piece of her adopted father's past, my mood shifted to melancholy and I began thinking about my platform....and my Daddy. My dad died of metastatic optic melanoma in 2004. During his four-year battle, we enjoyed many times when we could just talk about the things on our hearts. We covered everything from writing, photography & painting to the Bible.

After his death, I inherited his photograph studies of trees, sky, water, rocks and the like. Some are prints, but there were also volumes and volumes of 35 mm slides. So yesterday I pulled that tote from my family archive, which is now housed within an armoire  kept in my office.

A Ride Along the Delaware
I sat down in the living room with the tote setting on the floor before me, and removed the black lid to find a stack of black and white photos right on top. As I sifted through them, I came across a color photo of my grandparents, Mark & Abby Silverman, at the wishing well...a photo I had searched for quite unsuccessfully some time before our move. But now, here it is.

The black and whites were from a study Dad had done on trees and water combined. He was a professional photographer and painter, and had taught art for over twenty years. How I remember going with him and Mom on family outings (I'm an only child), and having to wait for him to get just the right lighting and exposure on some of these photos! Trees had always been a favorite subject of my own, and as a young writing student, I had written several poems about trees.

And so, as I thought about my genealogy platform in light of working on my certification portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), I began to think about my professional presence. I chatted online and emailed Thomas MacEntee of High-Definition Genealogy (and probably more well known for his platform on GeneaBloggers) this week regarding establishing service fees and contractual releases for client work, and he was most helpful!

As I looked at my business cards, I began to think about letterhead, of all things. And even those include the theme of trees. One of the favorite poems Mom used to recite to me when I was a child was Joyce Kilmer's poem, Trees:
I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree....

And so trees it is...and black and white to fit with the platform of cross-cultural studies. The photo in this blog header was taken by my Dad, Richard A. Newton, somewhere in New York State, sometime between the 1960s to the 1980s. And so, I've come full circle once again.

Thanks, Dad, for your love of trees....

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