Monday, April 18, 2011

Irene Winterburn

Irene first came to my notice when I was using Google to find out who had done presentations on Google for Genealogists. I found a presentation from Irene and was impressed so decided that I should find out more about this lady.

With a history that includes a person with 18 wives and a shark attack (plus Australian connections) Irene certainly has a great story to tell. Thank you for your compelling profile, Irene.

Date April 5, 2011
Name Irene Winterburn (JireneGen)
Hometown Yuma, Arizona (living in Phoenix, Arizona)

Are you a Hobbyist or Professional Genealogist? In-between; more of a Genealogy Detective

What, if any, formal or informal studies have you undertaken that are relevant to genealogical research? 

My Bachelor's degree is in Paralegal Studies, so I have always been a "dirt digger" by trade. My education and training has definitely helped advance my genealogy research. I'm also a big believer in education, so I really enjoy taking genealogy classes, attending seminars and conferences. Hopefully someday I'll work on getting that accreditation, but for now I'm happy being a "Genealogy Detective."

What is your day job? Trial Consultant, Paralegal Supervisor, as well as a Litigation Support Paralegal

How long have you been chasing ancestors? Since 1989I come from a genealogy-loving family, so I've been 'hooked" on genealogy since my youth.

How did you get hooked on genealogy? I loved hearing the stories of my ancestors, and it has been fun finding more facts about them. I am grateful for the work my Mom and her family did researching our family, and for instilling in me why family is important.

What are your areas of Expertise in Genealogy? Mostly England research, thanks to my British hubby. Most of my ancestors have been in America for many generations, so it has been fun researching his English heritage. I have also been verifying and sourcing my own family lines. We do have one line that comes through Australia (via Wales), so I love my Aussie ancesty!

Please outline your involvement in Genealogy Societies and Groups I've been volunteering as a Family History Consultant for over 6 years at the Phoenix Family History Library (fka Ashland Family History Library). Since July of 2010, I am the Editor of the "News Leaf," a monthly newsletter of the Phoenix Family History Library. And, just last month I was asked to be the Phoenix Stake Indexing Director, so my plate is full. Now, if only I can find more hours in the day.....

What are the lands of your ancestors? "Me and my peeps" hail from Arizona - in fact - 5 generations. I'm from good ol' pioneer stock via Utah, Georgia, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other various New England states. Across the pond: England, Ireland and Wales, as well as Denmark and Australia. A couple of our lines connect to royalty, which is also fun to discover.

What Family Names are you Researching?  Morris, Ellsworth, Butler, Adams, Hancock, Gordge, Lee, Blackhurst, McCleve, McFerren, Halladay, Dewitt, Thetford, Lind and Neilsen. My hubby's side: Winterburn, Gash, Few, Duffett, Etches, Eastgate, Oxley, Singleton, Hallam, Swinton, Miles, Miller, Clarke, Tyler, Bullen and Tharby. (There are others, but there is only so much room here!)

Who is your favourite ancestor? Why? The Gordges of Adelaide, Australia. Anne Gordge came to America with her Mom and brother, and at age 18 married 36 yr polygamist John D. Lee, becoming his 18th (and last) wife. She had three kids, but took youngest child and left Lee, leaving my great-grandmother and her brother to be raised by another wife. Her history after leaving Lee has always been a mystery, and one "biography" by a non-family member is highly suspect as it was written when she was in an insane asylum/rest home. Her father Samuel Gordge is also a mystery, but we have found some new facts discrediting the family story of his "drowning on Christmas day" story (he actually looted his ship and was later found dead on the shores of Australia with a fatal shark bite.)

What ancestral city or town would you like to visit?  Adelaide Australia, any parts of Wales and Ireland, and still yet-to-be discovered parts of England. Oh, and even my beloved United States. Too bad I have to work for a living, otherwise, I'd be traveling the earth following my ancestors' footsteps.

 What is your favourite resource for genealogy? Mostly the big sites like FamilySearch, Ancestry, and FindMyPast, etc. I also love the links at these sites: BPB Publications (great links to US public records), ProGenealogists and Price & Associates. Oh, and Google!

Do you keep your genealogy files on paper? Yes

Do you keep your genealogy files on a computer? Yes

What genealogy software do you use to record your family tree? Mostly RootsMagic, but I also like to keep online trees at GenesReunitedUK and

 Do you have your tree posted on the internet? Yes

If Yes What is the URL? My Jirene's Genealogy Treasures takes you to my trees:

What Social Networking Sites do you use for genealogy?

Ancestry, Facebook, Genes Reunited, LinkedIn, Twitter

Do you have a blog? Yes

What are your blogs' URLs? Jirene's Genealogy Tips (, and Jirene's Genealogy Treasures (

What are your Other Hobbies, Activities, Interests? Who has time, especially when your a genealogist?! I am a techno geek as well, but also dabble in watercolors. My activities usually involve the things that interest me most: genealogy, computing, law and art. I do love to travel with my hubby, though. (Now to find a way to make the work week 2 days, and the weekends 5 days!)

What is your favourite lesiure time activity apart from genealogy? Seeing the joy in my dogs when I (finally!) take them to the doggy park! Simple but fun.

 What is your favourite (non genealogy) book?  Lots of books, but my recent favorite is "The Help."

What is your personal philosophy in a few words ? I Yam What I Yam. (Don't take yourself too seriously.)

If you have anything else to share please add it below. I am loving all of the genealogy records being added to the internet. Bring it on!

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how many times in the last couple of months I have heard the expression, "across the pond". I had never heard of it before.