I am a born and raised Michigander who has identified my early family roots in Alabama and some earlier roots in Georgia. This interest has been going on since the mid 1970s. It evolved into compelled note taking, then analysis, then a need to organize and share it. Soon I began a publication named the Tolbert Hicks Henry Pruett Newsletter, Preserving Our Heritage in Bullock, Barbour and Macon Counties lasting from 1995 to 2008. After a revamping the name changed to Still Shaking the Tree and published from 2008 to 2011.
After toying with the idea of ending the newsletter for about three years I finally published my last issue after a sixteen year run. About the same time I retired from thirty-one years in the automotive industry. I took six months off with no genealogical work what so ever to determine my next steps. That led me to reprising my pursuit of the arts which included drawing and painting. I got a good start on that and discovered a propensity for portraits in watercolor. My earlier work had been in acrylics but I found a passion in watercolors I hadn't experienced before.
I soon tied my love of art to my love of genealogy by painting a portrait of one of my elders which was presented at his 90th birthday celebration in Fort Myers, Florida. A few years later the same portrait was entered into a juried competition and selected for the month of February in a calendar used as a fundraising vehicle for art school scholarships. Since then I have had a one woman show, exhibited in various Metropolitan Detroit Galleries both public and private including The Detroit Historical Museum. I currently have another piece coming out in a 2015 calendar.
My love of writing has also evolved from writing and editing my professional organization's newsletter to my genealogy society's newsletter to stand up poetry and short stories. My second life as a boater has also led me to co-edit and later become a reporter for my boating organization's newsletter. I joined a writer's group in my community. This led to creating a workshop on the importance of genealogical research in cemeteries which I delivered in my local library.
As my pursuit of family genealogical research continued I began submitting related articles for publication. I have been published in the African American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) Newsletter and later the AAHGS Journal. Recently I was published in the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Magazine. My family cemetery work has been uploaded to www.usgwarchives.net/al/bullock/cemetery.htm and www.findagrave.com. I have also appeared in the videotape Holding On To History: Alabama’s Archive for the program The Alabama Experience produced by The University of Alabama, Center for Public Television and Radio.
I have taken online genealogical courses, attended both NGS and FGS conferences as well as local conferences on various related subjects. I have also completed coursework at the Institute for Historical and Genealogical Research at Samford University.