Ten years ago today I put my fears aside and took the leap into blogging. I couldn’t have imagined all the places it has taken me.
Eight months later, I attended my first national genealogy conference. I’d wanted to do that for several years, but I didn’t know anyone. The thought of being alone in a crowd always stopped me from considering it. The 2010 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference in Knoxville, Tennessee was appealing because it was only a two-hour drive. And by then I’d “met” a few bloggers online.
Nine FGS conferences, seven National Genealogical Society (NGS) conferences, eight institutes, two genealogy cruises, and numerous other conferences and seminars later, I’ve met more genealogists than I can count. Several of them have become good friends, and I can’t imagine my life without them in it.
I became the technology committee chair for the Kentucky Genealogical Society (KGS) in 2013 and added vice president and program chair to those duties for 2014 and 2015. I joined the FGS board in May 2014 as a director and served four years as secretary from 2015 to 2018. During that time, I served as the publications committee chair for four years, chaired the 2017 national conference, and ran the website for twenty months.
I doubt much, if any, of that would have happened if I hadn’t started blogging.
I had two unspoken blogging goals ten years ago. 1) Feed short stories about our family history to my family. 2) Get in shape (writing-wise) for some bigger projects down the road.
I’m not sure how successful I’ve been at that first one, but there have been moments. My Aunt Edna, who died in 2016 at age 95, was my most loyal and consistent family reader. She often called to talk about something new I’d posted or something old she was re-reading. We last discussed family history a few months before she died.
Years of writing computer specs for system changes wreaked havoc with any writing skills I ever had. I thought the best way to become a better writer was to write more. Based on the number of times I cringe when reading old posts, I’ve made progress with the second one.
I initially wondered if I had anything interesting to say or the commitment to keep it up. Lack of ideas has rarely been a problem. My to-blog-about list has some topics that have been waiting for years. That wasn’t so much because of a lack of commitment to blogging but more of over-committing to other things.
Blogging dead periods happened, sometimes lasting a year. But one of the best things about a genealogy blog is that it’s still there even when you aren’t. During those times, I still heard from distant relatives who found something of interest or provided me with clues or answers to questions.
Getting back to consistent blogging has been on my wish list for several years. Now that my time is my own again (all the volunteer jobs have ended), that should be possible.
“This Week in the Family History” will be back on Sundays after a three-year hiatus with a little different format from the previous versions. One of each week’s events will be featured with more than an acknowledgment of a birth, marriage, or death. A photo post is on the schedule for Thursdays and will include some history about the people involved or the photo itself. A long list of post ideas should provide an extra post or two a month.
Adding a family tree has been on my mind for a long time, and I’ve finally figured out how I want to handle that. The link to my Ancestry.com tree can be found in several places around this site so I don’t really need a “tree.” The new pages will be narrative biographies for ancestral couples and their children. This will be a long-term project starting in 2020 with pages added as I complete them.
Oh, and I’m working on a book. That story is too much for even a series of blog posts. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had the nerve to say that out loud.