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The Power of Connection - An Invigorating Journey Into Family History

One of my favorite ways to take a break from the recording studio is to explore a new hobby. Doing something different to inject energy into my routine. Sometimes, this reveals a hidden talent or sparks a new obsession. That's exactly what happened with my latest interest—digging into my family history.



Professional voice actor Shelley Baldiga family
My sister, grandmother, me and Aunt Paula, 1999

Ties to the Past

I have always been particularly curious about the Native American part of my ancestry, spurred by stories from my grandmother from Tennessee. Growing up on the opposite side of the country, she’d send me books with Native American themes (my favorite is still The Education of Little Tree) and tell tales of our ancestors, including her fiery mother who rode a motorcycle in her 90s and fired a pistol in the air at garbagemen too rough with her bin. She’d send articles with highlighted or underlined sections and letters explaining issues important to her. I wish I had asked more questions about all of it before she passed. 


grandma's Notes


Now, I seek answers in historical documents. Searching online databases of census records, family bibles, and photographs. I’ve visited the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City—the largest genealogical library in the world. And since Native American records are notoriously difficult to unravel, making each connection always feels like an even bigger reward.



Professional voice actor Shelley Baldiga ancestor
My 4th great grand uncle (Ancestry)

“The challenge of determining (Native American) ancestry has to do with history itself. Traditionally, familial relationships were passed down through oral history. While this still occurs in many Native families today, intentional federal policies disrupted other methods of recording these relationships.”


-National Indian Child Welfare Association






Professional Voice Actor Shelley Baldiga ancestors
My great-great grandmother's sister, front center (Ancestry)

In my digging, I found ties to Catawba and Cherokee. Another relative fought in the Cherokee-Indian War. I saw pension files and photos of distant aunts and uncles, along with court records outlining the struggles they endured. While this explains just one part of my genealogical mix, each bit of evidence opens the door to a more rounded past and a deeper

connection to self. It's like hitting the reset button on your brain, allowing you to explore something totally new and different.



Shake it up!

So, if you're feeling stuck in a rut or just craving a little excitement, why not shake things up and try something new? No matter the challenge, you might just stumble upon your next passion and find yourself looking forward to that break from routine every chance you get.

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