Tuesday, April 29, 2014

JP Johnson interview

I recently e-mailed J.P. Johnson-Volunteer & coordinator of the Muhlenberg county KYGenWeb project.

I have been a fan of the website (sorry JP for calling it a blog) every since I started researching my family tree.  I had tons of questions for him & he was awesome enough to answer me.

Me:  What inspired you to get into genealogy?
J.P.:  I started doing my own family's genealogy in 2001. My friend David had been doing his genealogy for several years and he said I should start my own. Sometime around that time I volunteered to do the Muhlenberg County website for the organization KYGenWeb which is a part of the USGenWeb which is a group of volunteer amateur genealogists who maintain websites for each county of every state. I think there is also WorldGenWeb too, but I'm not sure.
Me:Did your family come from Muhlenberg County?
J.P.: I was born in Muhlenberg County and lived there until I left for college in 1994. My family still lives there. My Dad's family was from Butler County and Ohio County Kentucky but my Mom's family has been in Muhlenberg since the early 1800s. The Noffsingers (my grandfather's family) is considered a pioneer family.
Me:Are you a genealogist?
J.P.:I am an amateur genealogist. I do not have my certification. But I consider myself a genealogist. At the library where I work, I get to work some in the Kentucky Room which is mostly Kentucky history and genealogy.
Me:What advice do you give to new bloggers?
J.P.: I don't consider the website a blog. It's just a website. I do have a blog where I talk about books, politics and just whatever else interests me, but I haven't been updating it regularly. My advice is to find your voice and blog about what interests you and your audience will find you. Start out doing it for yourself, don't worry about who is reading it and eventually you'll find that people are reading it.
Me:How do you have records available on your site that haven't even made it to Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org?
J.P.As for the records, like I said, I work at a library but I also have access to the special collections and newspaper microfilm at the University of Kentucky, so if something appears on the website that isn't on either Ancestry or Familysearch, it probably came from my library or UK. Everything I have on African Americans in early Muhlenberg comes from Deeds that UK has on microfilm in their special collections or in the example of the first African American marriage book, I copied that directly from the courthouse in Greenville.  But then also, people contribute information too, and that's always a big help.