Listen to a “behind the scenes” look at Genealogy Roadshow as I discuss my experiences with dear friend Jane E. Wilcox on her radio broadcast, done on 18 December 2013. Click the image below:



My friend Tom Fraser of Green Street Productions filmed some of my ideas on family history and its roll in our lives. The videos are linked below (recorded in 2012):

He has a new website: Modern Family On the Go where these videos can be found, along with some of my genealogy blog posts.


I did an interview with Thomas MacEntee on FGS Blogtalk Radio on 9 July 2011. The program is called My Society and my episode was called “Selecting and Hiring a Genealogy Speaker.” Click the link to access an archived version of this (in which Thomas did one of the longest introductions to me that I have ever heard).


On 12 June 2010, I was asked to provide some music for the cocktail hour at the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank. My husband Butch came to join me, adding a little saw to the singalong I led. A number of folks came around to sing a few choruses and the link below gives you a small (very small) sample of what we presented. (Note: this video is courtesy of Alice Volkert, who holds the copyright – this is shared with her permission; check out her website: Volkert Services.)

Click here to view the Jamboree “gig”


Singing old gospel songs with Thomas MacEntee.

Mesa Family History Expo, January 2010; photo by Joan Miller

Mesa Family History Expo, January 2010; photo by Joan Miller


I did music and storytelling with the kids (ages 8-16) at Kids Camp at the NGS conference in Salt Lake City on 1 May 2010 and it was reviewed in Deseret News. Click the logo below to read about my part in the 3-hour program:


Photo by Susan Brundage, March 2007

photo by Susan Brundage, March 2007

A thought to ponder: in doing family history research, we try to piece together the various elements of our ancestors’ lives in an effort to create a complete (or as complete as possible) picture of who they were in their homes, families, occupations, religions, and activities. Their musical interests/involvement should be considered part of this whole picture, or circle, of their lives. I attempt to assist genealogists in providing this missing element of the family history, helping to complete, or mend, that circle. Check my listing of CDs that allow you to bring that element into your home (or car) and make your ancestors’ music part of your life, too.

And to add to our understanding of this aspect of our ancestors’ lives, I have made this my focus on my blog. Check it out (or subscribe to the blog) to read about how ancestral songs describe their lives and cultures as well as the history of their times.


Suggestion: Check your ancestors’ wills to find out if musical instruments were listed in the inventory (this may give you a hint about what was played in their homes). Instruments were also often included on tax lists as taxable property. Other ways to learn what instrument(s) your ancestors played: letters, journals/diaries, and the instruments themselves, passed down in the family.

Virginia Marie Johnson, ca 1935

Virginia Marie Johnson, ca 1935

On this page you can have a chance to see/hear samples of some of the programs listed on the Details on Songs & Stories of Historical Events page.

This part of the Circlemending site is subject to frequent revisions as we are able to add material, some of which will be/was recorded live, resulting in less than stellar quality. However, you should still get a good idea of the types of music presented in these unique programs and hope that, should you have any questions about the songs, programs, or other material on any of these pages, do not hesitate to get in touch with me via email at jean at circlemending dot com. Thank you for your interest.

Photo from Bobby Dobbins Title, used with permission

Photo from Bobby Dobbins Title, used with permission


San Fernando Valley Gen. Soc., May 2006

San Fernando Valley Gen. Soc., May 2006

“Last Winter was a Hard One”

This piece was written by Jim O’Neil and Jack Conroy in about 1880 and tells of the problems immigrant groups had in their quests for employment. The employers would actually pit one group against another to lessen the chance of strikes and to keep the wages low. Also known as “When McGuiness Gets a Job,” it is a good example of how a man’s employment (or lack thereof) affected the entire family. A slightly edited version of this song is also performed in the “Erin go Bragh” program (for information on that, click Details on Songs & Stories of Historical Events).

To hear this entire song, click below:




Hollander & Trapschuh family gathering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Hollander & Trapschuh family gathering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Music was part of the lives of our ancestors, just as it is part of our lives today.

One major difference: our ancestors made their own music. Engaging in homemade entertainment was often the way they passed the time during courtship, on holidays, or whenever family and friends gathered.

These presentations allow audience members to get a sense of what life was life for their forefathers and foremothers.