How the Carnival of Genealogy Makes the World a Better Place in which to Live

Well, maybe the Carnival of Genealogy (COG) doesn’t make the whole world a better place in which to live, but I’d like to think it does. It certainly makes my world better. Let me give you a little history and tell you why.

I started this blog on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 at a time when genealogy blogs were few and far between. I searched and searched for genealogy blogs to include in my blogroll and found but a handful. Some of these earlier blogs had apparently not been updated in quite a while, and others touched on genealogical topics only rarely.

One rose among the thorns, however, was Creative Gene, written by Jasia. I found in her a kindred spirit, not only because she was writing a blog about genealogy, but also because she was Polish!  On June 29, 2006, less than three months after I started writing this blog, I wrote a post entitled “Top Ten Reasons to Suspect Jasia and I Were Separated at Birth” . To my delight, Jasia responded with a comment! And then Chris Dunham, author of The Genealogue, responded with a comment! Two of my genealogy blogging idols had left me comments, and all bloggers know how exciting it is to receive comments to your posts.

I remember reading about the Carnival of Genealogy on Jasia’s post dated June 2, 2006, where she described the concept of a blog carnival and, for the first few Carnivals, Jasia mostly hunted down relevant posts herself. The first actual blogger to submit an article to the Carnival of Genealogy was named Joe Kissel whose post really wasn’t related to the theme but, hey, in the days when it was hard to find genealogy blogs, you take what you can get!

The theme for the third Carnival of Genealogy was Immigration, and this theme really got my attention. Immigration is one of my favorite topics. And so, I wrote an article entitled “A New Look at Immigrant Passenger Manifests”and submitted the article to the carnival, hoping beyond hope that my article would be good enough for Jasia to consider including it in the Carnival of Genealogy.  I couldn’t have been more pleased when the Third Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, published on July 2, 2006 included my article!

I didn’t submit another article until Edition 14, where I submitted “My Genealogy Christmas Wish List”, and by then the Carnival of Genealogy was really starting to take off. Eleven bloggers submitted articles to the Carnival of Genealogy, making this edition the first one that Jasia didn’t have to scour the net for relevant posts.

I became a fairly regular contributor after that, submitting articles for 43 of the 84 Carnivals of Genealogy.

But for me, personally, I found that the Carnival of Genealogy encouraged me to think outside my own comfort zone and post articles that I would not have otherwise written. The consequences of that encouragement have been surprising.

I turned my first Carnival submission “A New Look at Immigrant Passenger Manifests” into a lecture, one that has become one of my most popular genealogy lectures, and one that was subsequently featured in Episode 29, Episode 30, and Episode 31 of Lisa Louise Cooke’s “Family History: Genealogy Made Easy” podcasts.

My Carnival submission on “Ethics in Publishing Family Histories” drew comments from a number of genealogy luminaries and was subsequently picked up by a number of different genealogical societies and reprinted in their society newsletters.

My Carnival of Genealogy articles on “An October Day in Second Grade, 1962”, “The Vincentian Institute in Albany, New York”, and “Mrs. Katzman, Children’s Librarian” have turned out to be some of the most popular posts on my blog, drawing wildly enthusiastic comments and emails from other people who grew up in my hometown.

My Carnival article entitled “Can DNA Confirm my Ancestry?” generated emails from two people who, subsequently, had a genealogical DNA test performed and ended up confirming my Niedziałkowski ancestry.

Besides those, some of my favorite posts have included my Carnival posts on “My Galician Grandfather”, “Memories of Grandmother Danko”, and “Born at the Right Time”.

Add to these personal successes, I’ve met so many wonderful bloggers through the Carnival of Genealogy, because the Carnival was really the first real gathering place for genealogy bloggers and, in a sense, was the first social networking tool for genealogy bloggers.

Since the advent of my blog in 2006, the genealogy blogging community has grown substantially, but the foundation of the community will always be the Carnival of Genealogy.

Written for the Carnival of Genealogy.

Copyright © 2009 by Stephen J. Danko

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