Opening Doors in Brick Walls is a part of a 30-year journey that has taken Cathy from the baby steps of gathering family history to building a network of collaborators and genealogists to diving into the world of blogging.
The journey began in 1992 when an aunt sent a package with information on their American families. Cathy’s interest in family history was sparked. She began visiting town halls in Luxembourg, gathering marriage records for her children’s Luxembourgish ancestors. Three-quarters of their ancestors are from Luxembourg and nearby regions of Belgium, France, and Germany. In 2000 the internet changed the focus of her research from Luxembourg to her American ancestors.
Our Meder-Dempsey Family, a GEDCOM file, was uploaded to RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project on 6 December 2002. It was renamed Opening Doors in Brick Walls in October 2011. The file was continuously updated until December 2017 when the site was taken down for security reasons by Ancestry®.
(RootsWeb’s WorldConnect was brought back online in April 2018. All links in posts on this blog are redirected to the new beta site. As of 9 August 2021, WorldConnect was set to read-only and no further GEDCOM uploads are possible.)
On 2 December 2012, Opening Doors in Brick Walls joined Facebook! It was a new way to share the progress and breakthroughs being made in the family tree. The idea was to unlock the doors or give them a push when stuck!
The pictures of old doors taken while sightseeing gave her the idea of naming her GEDCOM and blog, Opening Doors in Brick Walls. Cathy has been blogging since January 2014, focusing on her families in Luxembourg and the USA. The blog has become a digital stepping stone for sharing and preserving family history research.
Cathy has written several posts about the genealogy excursions taken with Luxracines, the genealogy society she is treasurer and member of the board of.
She is especially proud of her three-part post on an ancestor’s slaves that prompted the creation of the Slave Name Roll Project. The project was well received by descendants of enslaved persons. It allows descendants of slaveholders to share, without shame or judgment, the documents they find with the names of slaves.
She learned about early photography while writing the series Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can from 2015 to 2017. Descendants of the persons featured have reached out to her after discovering the series.
Raised as a military brat, she’s lived in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, Texas, and Luxembourg. Nearly forty-five years ago, she married the father of their two grown children – her best friend, photographer, mechanic, and coach.
When not researching, she spends time with her husband riding their racing bikes through the wonderful countryside of Luxembourg and Germany.
Feel free to post comments here or on any post of interest, get in touch by email at openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu, or by message or post to Cathy’s Facebook page.
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Updated 14 December 2022.
© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.