Hi all! It’s me – Breanne. Welcome to Genealogy Pals! Thanks for being here. It’s always so fun to meet new pals.
Breanne Ballard is a wife, mother of 5, Registered Nurse, and aspiring professional genealogist. She graduated from BYU’s College of Nursing at BYU in 2007. She has a passion for learning, teaching her children, and family history.
Email: [email protected]
Job Title: Genealogy Pals Co-Founder
My Genealogy Story
My first memories of family history are of my mom and dad going on dates to the family history library. They would come home and talk about various surnames I had never heard of before and I don’t think I really understood that they were talking about people from our family tree.
I also remember my grandmother telling me little things here and there about her parents. “Grandpa Great” as we called him was a tall man who wore overalls all the time and always had funny things to say. For example, when my cousins or I would complain that we had something in or eye Grandma would say, “Yeah, it’s your finger! Or at least that’s what my dad used to say.” “Grandma Great” was a kind and loving woman. Even though I don’t remember meeting either one of them, my grandma’s stories about them made them very endearing to me.
Years later I decided to take a genealogy class while I was attending BYU. That was when the pieces of my tree and all the names I had heard all my life started coming together and making sense. I loved learning and doing research. I loved it so much, in fact, that I had to save my genealogy homework to be done after the rest of my homework was done. Otherwise, I would get wrapped up in my genealogy homework and not get the rest of my homework for my other classes done.
One day I was working on a homework assignment for my genealogy class when I came across a man who was missing information about one of our common ancestors that I had. I quickly sent him a message and told him about the name he seemed to be missing, not thinking much of it. He sent back a gracious note thanking me so much for this piece of information that he wasn’t sure he would have ever found if I had not contacted him.
That was the moment I became hooked. That was the moment I realized that what I was doing wasn’t just a fun hobby. Learning about my family was important and it was meaningful. It taught me about family connections and gave me a greater perspective on my place in the world.
Unfortunately, my family history research took a hiatus while I finished my nursing degree, dated my husband and we started our family.
In 2012, I was a new mom and, as I’m sure many of you can understand, I was looking to find “my thing”. The thing that I could do for me that didn’t have anything to do with crying babies and changing diapers, cooking meals or being a nurse. That’s not to say I don’t adore being a mom or a wife or any of the many other hats that I wear but I wanted something for me.
I felt drawn to get out my family tree and doing research again. So I did. Before long I was taking every spare moment I could find to learn more about my ancestors. That includes late-night research sessions lasting well beyond midnight promising myself over and over again, “Ok, I’m just going to look at this one last thing and then I’ve got to go to bed.” (I’m sure I’m not the only one, right?!)
Little by little my interest in family history spread beyond research and records. I’ve spent more time lately learning stories, visiting places important to my family’s history and preserving photos. My absolute favorite was driving out to a tiny town in northern Utah with my grandma to see the house she was born in.
My most recent delight is seeing my children become more and more interested in knowing more about the members of our family and or our family history. My second oldest son, in particular, has caught the genealogy bug and asks me every day if he can “get on Ancestry”. Now, I can be kind of a nut about limiting my kids’ screen time but I’ll admit I’m a big softie when it comes to this request.
Why do I love genealogy?? To be honest, it’s hard to put it into words. I am absolutely amazed by the idea that I have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, etc., and that every name that I find is a person that is some way or another connected to me. All of those names are real people with stories of their own and all of those stories trickled down to become me.
Most of their stories touch me and inspire me. Some of their stories are cautionary tales. (Every family has a few skeletons in the closet!)
I have found so much joy in learning about my own family history that I want to share that with all of you! I’m not a professional (yet!) but I’ve learned that you don’t have to be a professional to make your own epic family history finds.
I’m so excited I get to team up with my friend Kimberly (find out all about her here) to pass along our insights and knowledge on all things family history/genealogy. Whether you’re a total newbie or a seasoned professional we want to help you find the answers and insights you need to help you along on your own genealogy journey.
So you’re aware, to keep all of this information free and available to everyone who needs genealogy help, we do use ads on this site. Using ads and passive marketing means we can keep sharing the information for free, rather than charging fees. The ads aren’t there to spite you, but rather as a necessity – so thanks for understanding.
All of the links, products, and companies we recommend on this site are ones we trust and use. If, for any reason, you do have a problem with any of them, please email us at [email protected] – that email reaches both me and Kimberly. That way we can look into it, contact the company, and/or remove the link if needed.
Once again, welcome to our lovely piece of the internet. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns or other helpful feedback. I’d love to know how I can improve this website and online resources.
Oh, and if you’re having one those moments where can hardly contain your excitement over a new discovery you’ve made but not sure who to tell that would really understand and appreciate it, make sure you drop that in my inbox too! Trust me, I’ve been there.
My Personal Story
My family and I call the Salt Lake Valley home. There are 7 of us. My husband and I, and our 5 kids. Three boys and two girls. I’m so lucky to be a stay at home mom. I also homeschool my kids, which means my life is full of blissful chaos.
We enjoy reading together, puzzles, games and any other thing we can think of to have some good “wholesome” fun. (According to my husband “wholesome” is my current buzz word.) I’m game for anything that will excite my brain and my heart.
I’m not joking when I say I love to learn. Throughout my life, I’ve learned to play the piano and flute, graduated high school, learned to speak Spanish and went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, got my nursing degree, became a Labor and Delivery nurse, learned to crochet, quilt, and decorate cakes, got my real estate license, completed a sprint triathlon, and became a family historian. Right now, I’m working on getting my Genealogy certificate from Salt Lake Community College.
However, nothing has taught me more than being a mom. I love my kiddos to pieces. It is such a joy for me to be able to teach them, play with them and see the wonderful human beings they are becoming. I’m definitely a very proud momma.
I also feel very lucky that I found such an amazing husband who is always supportive of all of my many crazy adventures. He has always been my #1 fan.
In other words, I’ve got a good life. I’ve got a good family. I’m happy to be me!
Genealogy Webinars Online
Breanne has taught several webinars for the Brigham Young University Family History Library. They’re available on YouTube or the BYUFHL website. We’ll link to both – that way, you can choose your own online adventure.
- Raising Family Historians: How to Capture the Hearts of Future Genealogists – available on YouTube or via the BYU Family History Library website. Don’t forget to grab her handout!
- Using Projects in Google Earth as a Storytelling Tool – available on YouTube or the BYU Family History Library website. Or read the article on our site here: How to Use Google Earth and Projects for Genealogy.
Don’t forget to follow us on our Genealogy Pals YouTube channel – Breanne has got some great content for you there, too!
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