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Amanda Zambrano

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Amanda Zambrano on Twitter
Amanda Zambrano on Twitter




The Patchwork Genealogist


Western New York, USA

Tell us a bit about your genealogy/family history journey

With an avid genealogist uncle, I’ve dabbled off and on for a number of years, but in the spring of 2021 became quite serious about it as a part of my mental health journey. Inspired by a family heirloom quilt, stories of past generations struggling with depression and anxiety, and a longing to feel connected and grounded I started looking into the stories of my ancestors. Throughout 2021 I spent time learning about proper documentation, making generational links, vital records – really immersing myself in the basics that I never looked at before. I’ve transitioned from trying to go back as far as I can in my tree to really delving into fully rounded out facts and building out timelines. I’m still very much a novice, but learning quickly.

Favorite food or beverage

Pie – any kind of pie (except Shoofly!) and coffee.

Surnames of interest

Shine, Stith, Caughman, Hodde, Wren, Parlett/Parlott, Snider, Vint/Vent, Davis, Kahlert, Zambrano, Vasconez, Martinez, Paredes

Current brick walls in Hodde and Vint/Vent lines

If you could meet one person from your family tree that died before you were born, who would it be and why?

Elizabeth “Betsey” Gensel Mowery Schuler (1820-1908), my 4x great-grandmother on my maternal line. Betsey was the granddaughter of German immigrants, was bilingual in English and German, and the mother of 9 from two marriages. By the age of 39, she’d been widowed and had lost 3 daughters – all the course of about a year. She managed the farm with the help of her teenage sons, including paying off the mortgage on her farm. After remarrying and having a baby at the age of 42, her second husband died when he was hit by a train. She again managed the farm, saving it for her youngest son. I would love to talk to her about how she continued to persevere through such great tragedy, and where she found the strength to take on masculine roles in a male dominated time and society.

Genealogy pet peeve

Not using basic logic – parents born after children, children born after mother has died

Favorite place where you’ve traveled

Canterbury, England

From a genealogy/family history research perspective, what would you have done differently?

I wish when I first started I would have discovered the basics of vital records, what they are and how to use them. I’ve undone a significant amount of work I did a decade ago because it wasn’t well documented (or documented at all). I also wish I would have started earlier, when it was easier (or possible) to collect stories from elderly relatives.

What are you currently working on and what’s next?

My blog, The PatchWork Genealogist, is where I’m collecting most of my current work. My main current project is Women of Legacy a study of a selected number of women in my family tree and pairing it with bio sketches and a sampler quilt; a collection of short stories in progress Salt of the Earth; and a fictionalized biography of my grandmother. I was recently accepted to the Daughters of the American Revolution, and have future projects planned in preparing supplemental applications to the DAR as well as cataloging and telling the stories of immigrants in my family tree. I’m also hoping to work on my paternal grandmother’s line more extensively and to make some dents in my husband’s Ecuadorian family tree.

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