Friday, August 24, 2012

I can't tell you my maiden name!

I'm loving this unexpected side effect of having conversations with more of my fellow genealogists: they say things that I think are really weird, and suddenly I have a blog post idea! :) Today's thing-I-think-is-weird is people's reluctance to divulge their maiden names.

This has come up when I'm telling people about WikiTree, because your WikiTree ID is based on your maiden name. Some people use X or something similarly anonymous, but most people just put in their last name at birth. So the minimum info you're asked for when signing up is your first name, last name at birth, and email address.

The response to that has sometimes been: "You want my last name at birth? That makes me uncomfortable...", to which my response is a puzzled look. There are several reasons why this makes no sense to me, which I will now explain:

1) Just about all men, and an increasing number of women, have the same last name from birth to death. They have no "maiden name". My last name is Lavoie, it's been Lavoie since the day I was born, and it will be Lavoie until the day I die. It wouldn't be very practical, therefore, for me to hide that name from you. This is true for the majority of people. So why is it that people who choose to change their last names when they get married suddenly need to keep their old names a secret?

2) Even people who don't have public online trees often write publicly about their ancestors. I hate to tell you this, but even if you hide your parents' names, if I can see all your grandparents' names, I can probably guess your maiden name. And your mom's, for that matter.

3) This is perhaps the most important reason. If you, in this day and age, are using your maiden name or your mom's maiden name as a password for anything of any importance, please stop, now. That is not secure. You are just begging for identity theft.

Have I missed anything? If there's another reason why you keep your maiden name a secret, I'd love to know what it is! Because it's a total mystery to me!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Me and WikiTree

I've been meaning to write this post for so long! As you have probably gathered from other posts I've written recently, I now work for WikiTree. Since February, I have been WikiTree's User Group Coordinator. (I'm even on the Contact Us page! Check it out!)

This change came about because I had recently become really active in the user groups, and on WikiTree in general. I had started the Acadian Ancestors User Group. I was getting involved in every way possible. And now I'm even more involved! I even got to help represent WikiTree at a genealogy conference. Awesome!

Now, the main reason I wanted to write this post was to clarify one thing: this blog is still my personal genealogy blog. I am not paid to blog here. Part of my job is blogging once a month on the WikiTree blog, but this blog is all me. I'm telling you this so that I can continue to post about WikiTree and not be seen as a marketing person. If I gush about how much I love WikiTree, it's because I do, and I was writing those posts long before I started working for the site!

In future posts I'll give more details about what exactly I do on WikiTree. And as usual, if you want an invitation to the site, let me know!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy blogiversary to me!

It's my blogiversary!! :) One year ago today, I posted my very first post on Stories of a Canadian Family. It was just a list of my known surnames up to 5 generations, and since I hadn't even told anyone about my blog yet, I wasn't expecting anyone to see it until I'd posted a couple times and then spread the word. But somehow, Geneabloggers instantly tracked me down! Barely an hour after I'd posted for the first time, I'd been added to Geneabloggers, and people had started welcoming me to the community!

Now, it's a year and 74 posts later, and my humble personal genealogy blog has people who actually read it and comment on it, despite the fact that I'm not always the most regular poster in the world. :)

So, thank you Geneabloggers, and thank you everyone who's reading this, or has read any of my other posts over the last year. You guys are awesome. Here's to many more years of researching and blogging fun!