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13 Questions With: Cara MacDonald

April 21, 2013

Reference Services Manager, Scotiabank Family History Centre, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Photo of Cara MacDonald

A hero who has inspired you in your career?

My hero is an anti-hero: my 4th Great grandfather. He was a very rough man, a one-armed bootlegger who was feared in his community. These stories ignited my passion for genealogy and I wondered how I could make researching family history a career.

The first job you ever held and at what age?

When I was 16 I worked at a kiosk in a mall that sold family crests and surname histories. Unbeknownst to me it was a sign of things to come.

Your first position in the library and/or information services field?

My first job in the library field was here at Pier 21. As a student, I worked summers as a Research Assistant at the Scotiabank Family History Centre.

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

My super huge wooden desk that is never quite large enough to contain all my research notes.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Eating food and watching television in bed. All day…but just on the weekends, of course!

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

Be enthusiastic! Enthusiasm communicates that you love what you do and employers, colleagues and the public will respond to your positivity.

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

I personally don’t think that any skill is useless but one useless thing I can do is bend my fingers really far back (at the knuckles where my fingers join my hand, I’m “double jointed”, I’m told it’s kind of gross).

Proudest moment in your professional life?

Without a doubt, my proudest moment was being offered the position of Reference Services Manager at the Scotiabank Family History Centre.

If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?

In an archive that holds all the answers to my own genealogical mysteries.

If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?

Possibly an animator (my first diploma) or touring the world with my band (I wish!).

Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “

…get caught in a mosh! (ref: Anthrax (Musical group). (1987). Among the living. New York, N.Y: Island Records.)

How do you stay current in your field?

Publications from genealogical associations, mailing lists, listservs, magazines, social media and networking.

What would you like your headstone to read?

To find out more please visit: www . caramacdonaldgenealogy . com

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