Today marks the end of my first year with this blog. My fellow students in an online genealogy class encouraged me to start this blog and have been faithful readers all along. I’ve also had considerable support from George Morgan and Drew Smith of the Genealogy Guys Podcast.
I started this blog on April 18, 2006 without a clue as to what I was doing or how I wanted to do it. I’ve now posted 344 articles and friends have contributed 9 GuestBlogs. I’ve posted something just about every day, but some days I simply didn’t have access to the internet, so I’ve missed a few days here and there.
The blog began with a chronicle of my spring trip to Salt Lake City; and, appropriately, the year ended with another trip to Salt Lake. Despite the fact that I can view microfilms at my local Family History Center, I find I can accomplish much more in a couple of intensive days at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City where I can conduct research without distraction, and can rely on help from the staff of the Family History Library if I need it.
During the past year, I’ve made some remarkable progress in my family history research. I have been contacted by two cousins in Poland, two cousins in Britain, a cousin in Massachusetts, and a cousin in New York, none of whom had I ever contacted before. In fact, I probably would never have made contact with these people if they had not found me through this blog.
In addition to these blood relatives, I’ve also been contacted by collateral relatives – cousins of my cousins and relatives of my cousins’ spouses. Some of these contacts, including members of the Izbicki, Gibson, Skowronski, and Markiewicz families have provided me with a wealth of information to help me research these lines in more detail. I’m almost suffering from information overload as a result of their help. Not a bad situation to be in, though!
I’ve also published research that I’ve conducted for others. In particular, the research I published on the family of Jan Savitt, the bandleader from the 1930s and 1940s, resulted in a quite unexpected benefit for Jan’s daughters. Two people wrote to me to tell me that had memorabilia about Jan Savitt that they wanted to share with Jan’s family, but they didn’t know how to find them. Since I was conducting the research for Jan’s daughter, Devi, it was easy to establish contact between these good Samaritans and the Savitt family. Jan Savitt’s family now has newspaper articles, videos, and other precious memorabilia they never knew about before.
I’ve made lots of new friends through this blog, including other bloggers, well-known genealogy lecturers, not to mention my new-found relatives and the other genealogists researching the same family lines.
This blog is quite different than most other genealogy blogs in that I concentrate on disseminating information about my ancestors and share images of original documents. Because I concentrate on my ancestors, it is my own family who have found my blog most interesting. Most other genealogy bloggers share news and advice, and as such will naturally command a larger audience than I ever will. Despite that, the number of page views I’ve counted on this blog has increased constantly during the past year, to the point where I can honestly say I have an audience.
I recently installed a Cluster Map on this site to pinpoint the locations from which people have accessed my blog. If you haven’t looked at the Cluster Map yet, there’s a link to the map in the upper part of the sidebar on the right of this page. I expected to see readers from the United States, Canada, Poland, and England, but I have to admit, I was a bit surprised and pleased to see that people in Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Australia, Mexico, and even Pakistan have read my blog.
Well, I’ve rambled enough for one day; but, before I close, I do want to wish a Happy Anniversary to the other prolific genealogy bloggers I know who also started a blog in April 2006: Randy Seaver, Megan Smolenyak, and Joe Beine. Here’s to you! Sto Lat!