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Last Update: April 2, 2002

I am a News Archivist and Researcher. I am one of those rare history graduates that is actually using the degree on a daily basis and getting paid good money for it! How did I get where I am? Read on to find out.

I graduated from John Marshall High School in Milwaukee in 1987. Then I started college at Cardinal Stritch in Glendale were I met my then husband-to-be in 1989.

Then, in 1990, my parents decided to sell their house in Milwaukee and build a new house in West Bend and I moved with them up north. For awhile, I had a difficult commute from West Bend to Milwaukee every day to attend classes. In 1989, I got a job as Assistant Manager at Waldenbooks Bayshore Mall. This paid for my college tuition so I wouldn't have to take out loans.

I majored in both English and History. After graduating in 1992, Frank and I decided that marriage could wait until I was finished with Grad school. I wanted a Masters Degree right away and a career to go with it before settling down in marriage.

I entered the Library and Information Science program at UWM in 1992 and decided that I wanted to work in a corporate or private research library or archives. I did internships at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Library in Brookfield, WI and at Universal Foods Corporate Archives in Milwaukee. When I graduated in 1995... and I had a job waiting for me !!!!

In the late summer of 1995, I had interviewed for my first corporate library position as a News Archivist and Researcher at the Kenosha News, a newspaper in Kenosha, WI. I got the job!!!! By that time, Frank and I had set our wedding date.

Fast forward to August 25, 1996. Frank and I married in a beautiful ceremony in Belgium WI. We decided to go on a short and quick getaway to DC right after the wedding since my brother was getting married 2 weeks after us and we couldn't plan a long vacation. We actually took our honeymoon in May of 2000... but I am getting ahead of myself.

We decided to use our honeymoon money to design and build a house (I guess we are just too practical) Our dream house was finished in 1998 and for the last few years we have been creating an English style garden in our yard.

On top of all this, I run by own business teaching rubber stamp art in the Southeastern Wisconsin Area.

In 2000, we finally took our honeymoon... to England, Scotland, Wales and across the English Channel in the "Chunnel" to France.

We are going back to London in March of 2003... photos from this trip will be posted here upon our return.

Other interesting stuff:
I am an editor for 2 newsletters. First, I edit and write for the AWSL News, newsletter for the Association of Wisconsin Special Librarians. Second, I design and edit the newsletter for the Wright Family Reunion that occurs in Columbus, WI every year.

I am the webmistress for many websites: this one, the Kenosha County WI GenWeb project, American Local History Network County sites, American History and Genealogy Project County sites, Angelica Gibbs Reader's Guide, Lily Cottage Site, Aberdeenshire Scotland GenWeb, Pommern Roots, and the Kenosha County Genealogy Society. I also own the Southeastern Wisconsin History and Genealogy Web Ring and the Southeastern Wisconsin Site Search systems.

Professional memberships:
Special Libraries Association (News Division)
Wisconsin Libraries Association
Association of Wisconsin Special Libraries
Wisconsin Local History and Genealogy Roundtable
Wisconsin Media and Technology Roundtable
Listservs that I am on:
Newslib: An email list for News Librarians in newspapers/broadcasting networks/magazine libraries around the world
Archivist: An email list for archivists in research libraries around the country
Also, I am on Gary's Price's Internet Research WebLog.

My Alma Maters: Cardinal Stritch University - Milwaukee, WI (Undergraduate degrees in History and English) University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI (Master's Degree SLIS)

Frank and I are members of the National Trust of Great Britain and also English Heritage Society.

I am a member of the American Hemerocallis Society and I garden as a hobby. Currently I have about 125 different daylilies cultivars in the garden. We just finished landscaping a new portion of our yard and created several new daylily beds this spring.

Here I am in Paris

Michelle's favorite TV Programs:
House Detectives,
Vicar of Dibley,
Monarch of the Glen,
Ground Force,
Changing Rooms,
The 1900 House,
and Upstairs, Downstairs.

Michelle's favorite musicians:
Gaelic Storm
Silly Wizard
Old Blind Dogs
Charlotte Church
Katie McMahon
Lorena McKennett
"Toots" Thielemans
Ottmar Liebert
Gypsy Kings
Andreas Vollenweider
Brian Setzer Orchestra
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Counting Crows
Barenaked Ladies
Sister Hazel
Lisa Loeb
Green Day
Third Eye Blind
I also like inspirational, classical music and jazz selections.

Michelle's favorite movies:
Sense and Sensability
The Commitments
Sliding Doors
Somewhere in Time
Cyrano de Bergerac
Jerry McGuire,
Hobson's Choice
Room with a View
The Love Letter
To Catch a Thief
Rear Window
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Babette's Feast.
and of course, Desk Set (which takes place in the News Library at a New York broadcasting company!)

Michelle's favorite books:
Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Titanic: The Great Lakes Connections by Chris Kohl
The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper
Hacker Cracker: A Journey from the mean streets of Broolyn to the Frontiers of Cyberspace
Grasmere Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth
The Cat Who... series by Lillian Jackson Braun (main character is a newspaper man)
The Fairy Caravan, by Beatrix Potter
The Pastons and Their England, by H. S. Bennett
What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, by Daniel Pool
A Passion for Daylilies by Sydney Eddison

Michelle views Tower Bridge

Next trip... March 2003.... London:
Things we plan on seeing and doing: Victoria and Albert Museum and other art and history museums, we have tickets for the original production of "Phantom of the Opera", Kensington Palace, Soho, Kew Gardens, and more.

After that ... July 2003... Las Vegas:
But we won't be gambling. We will be stamping! The Stampin' Up! Convention is in Las Vegas this year.

And also.... 2004... Ireland:
We will be taking a driving tour around the country to all the major places and some of the minor ones. I have Irish roots and we plan on visiting County Leix where my ancestors were born.

Visit some of my Web Sites:

My Rubber Stamping Art Web Site
My Wisconsin Newspaper Research Web Site
Kenosha News Library/Archives (my job) - site in development

My Stamping and Scrapbooking Hobby

I am a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and rubber stamping instructor in Southeastern Wisconsin. I have done stamp classes and workshops as far north as Mequon and as far south as Kenosha. I haven't done any classes in Illinois yet, but I am available for northern Illinois.

I have seven years experience rubber stamping and scrapbooking. I regularly work with teachers and other hobbyists. Please Email me if you are interested in hosting a workshop or placing an order.

My Job

In May 2003, the Wisconsin Library Association is hosting a tour, luncheon, and discussion on News Librarianship. We will be meeting and touring the Kenosha News Library/Archives and the newly remodeled Kenosha News building. For more information, contact me or the WLA office in Madison.

I primarily do research for news reporters and news editors, index news stories into a database, and archive PDF newspaper pages. I supervise a photo archivist. I regularily do work for the Publisher of the paper, the sales staff, and the Customer Care Department. I also work with the Kenosha County Historical Society on historical features for the paper. I assist local historians, college professors, and detectives with news research. For more information about being a News Librarian, go to the SLA News Division's web site at SLA News Division

Please visit our Web World

Please visit our Home

Professional Memberships
Special Libraries Association
What is a Special Librarian?
SLA News Division
Association of Wisconsin Special Librarians
Wisconsin Library Association

Research Centre for illuminated Manuscripts
Scottish Centre for the Book
Monarch of the Glen Scottish TV show Web Site
American Newspaper Repository
American Journalism Historians Association
British Library Newspaper Library
A Brief History of Newspapers
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing
BBC Scotland
Ballykissangel Irish TV Show Official Web Page
Victorian Living
Literary Resources -- Victorian British
Victorian Web
Scholarly Resources for Victorian Research
American Geographical Society Collection
Pioneer Diaries
The Big Tea
Tea Council
Electric Scotland
Walker's Shortbread - Best shortbread in the World!
Devonshire Cream Teas
National Trust
Scottish hillwalking

Rubber Stamping Links
Scrapbooking clipart

Cute Cats
Cat-Tea Corner: recipes, cats, clipart, and more
Kenosha County Humane Society
Feline Information Source

American Hemerocallis Society
Royal Horticultural Society
Cornwall's Major Gardens
Hadspen Gardens and Tearoom

Places I have Been
My parents were great believers in travel as an educational experience. Every year my parents would take the family on a major vacation (some years even taking us out of school for a week). As a child I visited Walt Disney World Orlando FL, twice (Frank and I and the family went back in 2001), California (twice), Washington State, Oregon, Washington DC, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Colorado, St. Louis, MO. They also took us to Mexico one year and another year we toured Canada. You could say I get around.

In college, my parents encouraged me to take summer classes in Madrid, Spain. For the summer, I attended classes and traveled around Spain visiting places like Segovia and Toledo. In Madrid I visited the Prado and saw the original Picasso works, I visited the Palacio Real (The Royal Palace), Went shopping in downtown Madrid, and attended an authentic Flamengo Dance Program.

Through college, I didn't travel much since I was using all my money for tuition.

In 1997, we visited Cocoa Beach Florida.

In 1998 and 1999, we were too busy building a house and designing a landscape to go anywhere.

2000 Our Honeymoon
May 5, 2000: Chicago to London flight

May 6, 2000: Rented a car (practiced driving on the other side of the road) Traveled in Reading, Berkshire; visited Stonehenge, Wiltsire; stopped at Hadspen Gardens and TeaRoom in Somerset, and drove on down to Exeter in Devonshire.

May 7, 2000: Drove to St. Ives (Carbis Bay) and hiked along the coastal public footpath. We also visited the 15th century St. Nicholas Chapel and toured this Medieval City. Had dinner on the coast while watching the fishing boats. My favorite fishing boat was called the "Celtic Lass" and looked like it belonged in a classic English novel or the subject of a poem.

Gazing out onto Carbis Bay, St. Ives, Cornwall, England

May 8, 2000: Drove to Penzance (no, we did not burst out in song about pirates!) and Marazion, Took a small boat to St. Michael's Mount island estate in Cornwall; Drove back up to Wiltshire to the village of Lacock (Parts of Harry Potter movies were filmed in Lacock, a charming Medieval town that has been preserved; Took a walk near Bewley Common and visited St. Cyriac's 15th century chapel. Medieval Village of Lacock

May 9, 2000: Drove to Castle Combe (the movie Dr. Doolittle was filmed here in the 1950s) The village looked exactly like it did 50 years ago in the movie!!!! After a short visit to Castle Combe we drove to Bath and toured the famous Roman Baths and of course, Bath Abbey. This city is incredible!!! A must see for any visitor to England! Drove to Shropshire through Bristol and stayed over night in a small village called Minsterley. Castle Combe - The prettiest village in England

May 10, 2000: It is time to go to Wales!!!! On this bright, sunny day, we drove into Wales (very interesting road signs in Welsh language when you cross the border) We spent the day at Powis Castle and Garden. This place is simply stunning. Got back on the road again and traveled through Preston, to Southport, a village just south of Liverpool.

May 11, 2000: Visited the Lake District home of Beatrix Potter and the poet William Wordsworth. Took the ferry across Lake Windermere to Hilltop and Dove Cottage. Then we drove to Keswick. Frank wanted to go to the Keswick Motor Museum (one of the two "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" cars is there. Then on to Carlisle for the night.

Michelle at William Wordsworth's home "Dove Cottage"

May 12 2000: Drove from Carlisle up to Scotland!!! My great great great great grandfather was born in a small village called Ruthwell Ruthwell Parish Church
and I wanted to visit that place. Completely as a surprise, I asked a local woman who let us in to view the Celtic Cross at Ruthwell church, if she knew of a place called "Hayberries" which was supposedly the place my ancestors were born and lived. She knew exactly what I was looking for and told me the home still exists!!! Frank and I drove to the home and the lady living at Hayberries gave us a tour of my ancestors home and told us that it had been built in the 17th century!!! Visited Gretna Green and purchased lots of Scottish items. Then on to our lodging for the night... Langley Castle... bridal suite!!!!! I think this was my best day ever! Langley Castle Hotel

Hayberries Mill, Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire, Scotland was where Michelle's ancestors were born and lived in the late 1700s and early to mid 1800s. T he home was about 100 years old when they lived in it, being built around 1600. The nice lady who lives in the house now gave us a tour.

Langley Castle Hotel, Haydon Bridge, Tynedale, Nr. Hexham, Northumberland was built in 1350 AD. We stayed in the Derwentwater Room, which is their honeymoon suite as well as the most elegant room in the castle. We had dinner here in their elegant four-star restaurant with their four course Table d'Hote menu.

May 13, 2000: While we didn't want to leave Langley Castle in the morning, we needed to go on our way... next on our list Northumberland and Hadrian's Wall at Housesteads. In the afternoon, we drove to Yorkshire with its fabulous picturesque countryside. We visited Swaledale, Reeth, Muker, and stayed overnight in Sowerby (near Thirsk)

May 14, 2000: On to the famous city of York. We toured the city visiting its Medieval walls, York Minster, and the Roman Fortress. Next up, the tiny little village of Laycock!!! Why did we go to Laycock? Well, it should be obvious!!!

May 15, 2000: Today we traveled through Halifax to get to the Peak District and Castleton. We stayed overnight in a barn behind Hawkridge Books. What a charming place. Frank and I both loved Castleton's shops. We toured the dark and damp "Blue John" mines and purchased the rare "Blue John" element in several necklaces and as souvenirs. Hawkridge Books and Accomodation

May 16, 2000: Shakespeare calls... on to Stratford. We toured Stratford-Upon-Avon and visited all of the Shakespeare tourist sites. In the afternoon, we drove back to London and turned in the rental car. We took a cab to our hotel near Marble Arch and settled in for the next part of our vacation.

May 17, 2000: Today we toured the Tower of London and walked around the Tower Bridge area along the Thames. We had dinner at Harrod's department store. We took a London bus tour and took lots of photos including a few really good photos of the Parliament building when we took a boat down the river. Virtual London

May 18, 2000: We visited St. Paul's Cathedral and climbed up to the very top of the dome to the whispering gallery. This experience was incredible. We were able to photograph the city of London from the top of St. Paul's dome!!!! Beautiful!!! Of course, we didn't miss the Millenium Wheel!!! We visited Westminster Abbey next. Incredible.... a must see.... This is simply the most beautiful cathedral in the world!!! In the late afternoon, we went to Buckingham Palace.

May 19, 2000: Vive le France!!!!! We left Waterloo station in the morning for a day trip to France across the Channel Tunnel. We took a bus tour around the city of Paris to view Notre Dame, Paris Opera House, Academie Nationale de Musique, Palace Vendome, Il de la Cite, the Seine River, Arch of Triumph, Place de Gaulle, Place de la Concorde, and but of course, the Eiffel Tower!!!! In the afternoon we took a tour of the Louvre Museum. In the evening, we took the train back to London. Channel Tunnel

May 20, 2000: Today we took a tour of Windsor Castle and the village of Windsor. As we were watching the changing of the guard at Windsor, the Concorde airplane flew overhead! To end our honeymoon, Frank took me to see Vanessa Redgrave star in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" at the Globe Theater!!!!!!! The production was excellent. No one can beat Vanessa Redgrave as Prospero. (No, we didn't have to stand in the center for a pence, Frank got tickets for the upper balcony!) Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Research Site (University of Reading, English Dept.)

You may E-mail me here:

"Meaning in Space and Time: A study of Philosophy of History"
This is a study of the similarities and differences in the historical philosophies of Orosius, Voltaire, and Croce.

Currently working on a complete history of Religion in Kenosha County, Wisconsin complete with timelines, historical photos, in-depth research and interviews.

Lilacs Again
By Chase Twichell

A bridge of lilacs crosses the brook
that runs out of childhood,
as if childhood were a spring and not

a thirst. Cold water, fast water,
ache of that cold, remembering.

That quenching. An outdoor museum--
that's my childhood. Lilacs so thick
you can hear the bees from far away.

Thick with scent, thick with bees,
all drowned in the noise of the brook.

What did I mean, "a bridge of lilacs"?
That their branches touched each other
over the water? That their dark perfume

could take me back--take me
and never bring me back?

Ontario Review #47

Genealogy Pursuits

My ancestors were Belgian, Scottish, English, and German. Most settled in the state of Wisconsin
in the mid 19th Century. I have traced several branches of my ancestors back to the 17th century.

Some of my newly connected cousins include:

Chantal Gillain who lives in Waterloo, Belgium
Michael Hood who lives in Maidenhead, England
Jacqueline Gibson who lives in Renfrew, Scotland
Ken Birney who lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Birnie Family Website

I have also discovered many cousins in the United States.

European origins of my ancestors:

Dykers Croft, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Dumpston, Longside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Mills Auchlee, Longside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Cuttyhill Rora, Longside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Kinmundy, Aberdeenshire, Schotland
Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Woodhead, Lonmay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Inverallochy, Rathen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Hoddam, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Hayberries Mill, Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Laois (Queens) County, Ireland
Ottenburg, Brabant, Belgium
Neerjise, Brabant, Belgium
Huldenberg, Brabant, Belgium
Loonbeek, Brabant, Belgium
Brussels, Brabant, Belgium
Archennes, Brabant, Belgium
Beauvechain, Tourrine, Brabant, Belgium
Caulille, Limburg, Belgium
Gandelin, Brandenburg, Prussia
I have not confirmed several other places
in England and Germany. When they are verified
with documentation, I will post these.

MacPherson Clan Motto

Birnie Crest

Birnie Coat of Arms

"This is the true joy of life --
being used for a purpose
recognized by yourself as a mighty one;
being thoroughly worn out before you
are thrown on the scrap heap;
being a force of nature instead of a feverish
selfish little clod of ailments and grievances,
complaining that the world
will not devote itself to making you happy."
---George Bernard Shaw

Graphics courtesy of J. L. Hiner

Absolute Bedazzlement

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Cat-Tea Corner
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