What Does a Family History Expo, a Genealogical Society and a Caterpillar Have in Common?

What Does a Family History Expo, a Genealogical Society and a Caterpillar Have in Common?

Did you know that the Arctic woolly bear caterpillar or Gynaephora groenlandica lives 14 years preparing to be transformed into a moth that will live only 1 summer? 

This cute, fuzzy caterpillar in preparation for this metamorphosis, will eat continually during the short springs, manufacturing a sort of personal anti-freeze that will allow it be frozen solid for 10 months of the year…heart stopping, the whole bit – only to be thawed and begin the process all over again for over a decade. TV”S “Frozen Planet” is a great show to learn something new!

I felt a certain kinship with this intrepid insect. Over the past 2 decades, I feel that I too, have been gathering, preparing and working towards a time such as now. When my youngest graduated from high school, I felt the time of preparation had come to an end, don’t get me wrong being a full-time caterpillar, I mean mom – was a choice and one that I LOVED and would make again, but now it is my turn to change from mom to business woman… and hoping for a longer flight than just one summer.

So, here I am – a newly elected board member of the UGA (Utah Genealogical Association), thank you members for your vote of confidence and a Blogger of Honor and presenter at the Family History Expo in Albuquerque, NM for the new Story@Home track being offered. 

I have been a local presenter and instructor for area family history events and recently, I was a presenter at the Story@Home Conference. I have also been a keynote speaker and presenter for regional womens conferences, discussing women issues and I am also a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild. I am not afraid of speaking and I have always gotten great feedback when I have spoken… 

So, what’s the problem? Maybe I still feel more woolly caterpillar that soaring moth? Maybe I feel unready or unsure I where I am going with all of this and if it is even the direction I want to fly? Funny coming from someone who is always spouting off on the importance of knowing your brand right? In case you forgot, you can read about it here or here.

My life may be in flux – I have a son in boot camp right now who will be attending a university out of state in the fall, a daughter who is trying to decide where she will be to college at, another daughter whose disabilities challenge her but do not stop her from trying to find a way to carve out a life for herself and a husband whose work contract will be coming to an end in a year or so, which may mean another move for us, seriously? 12 moves – 7 states in 26 years and I a pro at moving…but still?

Things May be slightly crazy – but, these are things I know for sure:

  1. I may be more woolly than graceful, but I do know that the  Family History Expos in Albuquerque on April 13-14 is going to be AWESOME! So, if you are near there, or know someone who is, you should tell them to come join us and stop by and say ‘hi’.
  2. Joining a genealogical society is a great way to share, learn and network and those are 3 BIG things with me. I will keep doing my best to help our society do just that. UGA has a great virtual chapter, come check us out.
  3. I may not know what the future has in store for me – but I do know that this caterpillar is not one to waste time wondering and neither should you…TIme to Fly! 



  1. Congratulations Valerie. Good luck with your metamorphis and happy flying.

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