Shannon Terwedo brings to her genealogy work the problem-solving and organizational skills honed in her career as a healthcare business owner. A background in microbiology sharpened other valued skills: attention to detail, hypothesis-testing, and technical writing. A full-time businesswoman, Shannon also makes time for client projects, although no more than two at a time and with no deadlines. She explains, “Genealogy work is my go-to passion when my healthcare career slides into the regulatory nightmare it can occasionally be.” That passion takes her research into records of the California gold-rush era, the American Midwest and South, the British Isles, and northern Europe. Shannon plans for a full-time profession in genealogy, but only after her retirement from healthcare management.
With a laugh, Shannon comments that while other families returned from their vacations with scenery photos, her pictures show her children in the cemeteries they visited. When juggling career, family, and portfolio sometimes left Shannon ready to abandon certification, her husband encouraged her to keep working at it. He valued how important it was to her. Now that she is a BCG Associate, she is repaying her husband’s support by teaching herself Polish language and history so she can research his Polish ancestry.
Shannon mentions three people who inspired her genealogical pursuits:
• “Abigail Quigley McCarthy, wife of Senator Eugene McCarthy and my 1st cousin once removed answered my phone call back in 1996 to discuss our family history. She was so excited to talk to a family member who was…interested in our family genealogy. She invited me to her Washington, D.C. home and loaned me original, late 19th and early 20th century correspondence between her grandfather and her mother.” Abigail asked if Shannon had genealogy career goals. With enthusiasm and encouragement, she relayed information from a recently certified friend.
• A family history writing course brought Shannon into contact with Will White, PhD, CG. “There was just something about his demeanor that said this guy knows what he’s doing….In his quiet, easy going style, he explained why he valued the expertise of experienced genealogists and he felt it improved his work by being peer reviewed. I remembered thinking that if Will thought the process had value, I should follow his lead.”
• Shannon met Melinde Lutz Byrne in 2007. Melinde was not yet a BCG Associate, and Shannon did not know her reputation. “We just connected and had dinner together. That she was clearly an accomplished and experienced genealogist was evident from our conversation. We talked about certification…our lives and science careers, children, spouses, etc. She happened to mention that she would be coming on as a new editor for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. I realized I was talking to one of genealogy’s great talents. She had a lasting impression on me as someone whose genealogical scholarship I would hope to aspire to.”
Asked about her most intriguing brick wall, Shannon immediately described her great-great-grandfather, the most distant known ancestor of her southern family. John “Thomas” Richardson was born in South Carolina, migrated to and married in Alabama, then moved to Texas after the Civil War. He died in Bell County, Texas in 1886. If readers have a clue about this Thomas Richardson, contact Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just give a warm welcome to this new BCG Associate.
Image courtesy of Bob Darling Photography, Placerville, California.
(CG or Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified genealogists after periodic competency evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.)