Friday, March 25, 2011

Why I blog and who's behind those Foster Grants?

I suppose the question is more do I blog, rather than why. I've been otherwise engaged for several weeks and my goals for this year have been shot full of holes. Still, I've been inching back toward my piles of geneastuff, reviewing my DNA results at 23andMe and catching up on some blog reading. Kathy Reed at Family Matters posted a wonderful piece reflecting on blogging and awards that got me thinking about the whys of blogging.

I began blogging for the glaringly obvious reason that I have some things to say about the families I've been researching for more than thirty years. Some posts have been written to correct mistaken family trees and histories metastasizing throughout internet. Some are cousin bait (I do so love that phrase), though more are aimed at the family I know than those I've yet to meet. Most posts have simply been an effort to share what has fascinated me about my kinfolk with anyone who might care.

Two photographs I consciously look at every day are of my mother and great-aunt (in a location familiar to most family historians) and of a cousin I met when visiting Berezovo, the village where my grandfather was born.

Mary Kathryn Sawyer McKenzie and Mother c. 1990
Researching is so ingrained a part of my being that I expected to find a genetic link in my DNA results, perhaps on the 15th chromosome near the snp that says I'm a fast metabolizer of caffeine. I'm definitely a carrier. I feel an obligation to preserve and present the work done by my aunts, parents and grandmothers. The photo of Mother and Mary Kathryn encourages me. I'm a big fan of the sunglasses, too.

Paternal cousin, 1992
My cousin knew my grandfather before he left Berezovo, knew the man he was before he became defined by immigration. I look at her photograph, sitting in her daughter's home in the Ukraine with her rosy cheeked great-granddaughter peeking from the doorway, and know that I want my children to have a sense of the world my grandparents left. They never heard the accented voices I heard, never celebrated a traditional Easter, never smelled the incense and heard the music of the liturgies. I blog to preserve the fragments I know, to present the fragments I find.

For a happily solitary person (hermit and antisocial are other words that come to mind) I'm finding the social aspects of blogging engaging.  When I began I saw no reason to share any information about myself - including my name. But I have come to "know" other bloggers as I read their posts, to care about them and the families they write about with such love, laughter and even acerbity.

I've spent several days mulling over anonymity as even my blog title went AWOL for a time. I am sharing my name and genetic information with complete strangers - at times it feels I'm standing on street corners tossing it to the winds. It seems absurd to hide behind Nolichucky Roots any longer - and it's such a mouthful. Especially when compared to Susan Clark (curtsying and saying how 'de do).

25 comments:

  1. Love these photos!

    Love this post!

    Love that now I can call you Susan instead of NR when I reply to one of your posts!

    SUSAN!

    Such a fine name!

    I am so glad you blog!

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  2. I love your line, "I blog to preserve the fragments I know, to present the fragments I find." No, you aren't solitary, I find that hard to believe, you are always around with comments, suggestions and always willing to lend a hand. Nice piece Susan, oops, I wrote your name :-)

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  3. Of course, we "old-timers" - egad, almost five years blogging now - have had great fun guessing who the anonymous bloggers are. I still don't know Jasia's real name, but have met DearMYRTLE, footnoteMaven and Ancestry Insider in person and know their names - both are cousins of mine! And really neat people. As is every genea-blogger I've ever met.

    You're in a wonderful company, and I encourage you to reveal what you are comfortable with. We won't pry - we'll just enjoy your writing and, when we meet, we'll be fast friends quickly.

    I will continue to refer to you as your nom-de-plume until you identify your name on your blog.

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  4. well, hello Susan! I've been wondering what your real name was. seems so clunky to call you "Nolichucky". I was active in the early 1990's on AOL's homeschooling boards and went by a fake name too for several years. After getting to know people I, too, dropped it in favor of my real name. I've used it ever since online and have had no bad results yet. I love your part about hermits! Describes me to a T.

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  5. You may have already received this award from someone else, but I wanted you to know that I like your blog too and find it worthy of the "One Lovely Blog" award! Take the button from my site and add it to yours and check out the guidelines posted here: http://keeperoftherecords.blogspot.com/2011/03/one-lovely-blog-award.html.

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  6. Hi ya Susan! Love your photos, and I too have shot my gen goals all to pieces. I am hoping to get back on track, too- good luck to us both!

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  7. How beautifully written. It's lovely to read about what your research and writing about it means to you. Also love the phrase "metastasizing throughout the internet." And I've experienced that same wonder at how my love of solitude is compatible with the enjoyment I get from "hanging out" with fellow genealogy enthusiasts. So much to think about here.

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  8. I'm so proud of you! Now is it OK to call you Susan instead of S? :)

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  9. I feel like the child who was standing on the diving board terrified to jump. The water's just fine. Thank you each one for your cheers. I think I can jump on my own next time.

    And Randy - thank you for the reminder to change my profile. It's official now. I'll answer to anything you choose to call me.

    March 26, 2011 12:57 AM

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  10. Having met in person several bloggers like myself who use nom de plumes, I can say that it is a bit awkward at first to use someone's real name. When you've thought of someone with one name for a long time a new name sometimes doesn't catch on. FootnoteMaven is a good example of that. She put her real name on her blog at one point and everybody just put their hands over their eyes and pretended they didn't see it, lol! She is and will always be the footnoteMaven. There are others I could say the same about. And then there are many who have made a successful transition to a new name. You have a fine name, Susan, but to me you are still NR. Only time will tell which name will endure. Either way, you are an endearing member of our genealogy family and your voice is one we have come to know and love.

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  11. Susan-
    It seems we are alike in many ways. I also have been pondering the why of blogging, but you said it so well! I know the feeling of wanting some anonymity. I don't post a current photo and use only my first name - although I realize that is more unique than Susan. I recognize the feelings you express. I love reading your blog.

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  12. "I blog to preserve the fragments I know, to present the fragments I find." What a wonderful way to put it. That phrase describes exactly my thoughts on blogging. I also love the social aspect of blogging. I don't have anyone to talk genealogy with on a regular basis. It's nice to know there are others out there I can share with.

    I love Nolichucky Roots as your "nome de plume," BTW. It's unique and easily identifiable, but I'm also happy that you feel comfortable going by your own name. As for the list of goals for this year, we all do the best we can. Sometime life just gets in the way. It seems like everything comes back to the Cub Scout motto, "Do Your Best."

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  13. What a great post this is - as others have said, this is a great line "I blog to preserve the fragments I know, to present the fragments I find." Now if I ever want to quote it I can cite my source as Susan!! Good to meet the "you" behind the glasses - I'm curtsying back!

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  14. I don't care what you call yourself. I enjoy reading about your research and your finds, your frustration and rewards. Every time I read your blog, I feel like I've been invited into your home and given a glimpse into your roots. And that is an honor.

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  15. You all have made my day. Dee, Diana, Cynthia and Margel - thank you so for the 'atta girl' comments. Much, much appreciated. Now it's time for me to stop contemplating and get back to work!

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  16. Thanks for the mention of my blog. I also love that term "cousin bait". For all I know, I got it from you. And I've yet to learn how you pronounce Nolichucky!

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  17. Hi SUSAN!
    Great to have your name - and a lovely post. I agree that our community of bloggers is the best! I feel I have a greater sense of my fellow bloggers than some people down the block -- and all you folks are such a generous lot! And thanks for all your nice comments at my blog! Support is so great!

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  18. HELLO SUSAN! I echo your sentiments regarding blogging. So many years of research stored in my basement and in my head....it needed to come out somewhere. I don't know if there is another genealogy champion in my family who will take up the mantle when I am gone....blogging seemed to be the answer. As to the greater family of geneabloggers....I love being a part of the group....all so supportive. Bravo to you Susan.

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  19. Susan Nolichucky Clark - I've been calling you Chucky, but I suppose I can get used to Susan LOL

    You have put into words (where others have failed) the reason why most of us started blogging.

    Your family stories are so well written they are a joy to read!

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  20. Another great article - and not just because it touches us all. Love those rosy cheeks!

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  21. I'm strolling into your coming-out party with the stragglers... is anyone surprised? If so, I'm sure it's because I'm only a week late! Seriously, now that you're famous for that great line that everyone's quoted, you really should put it in a text box in your sidebar! ;-)

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  22. Hi Susan :-) Pleased to meet you! I enjoy your blog, however you sign off, but it's nice to put a name to a blog! Jo

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  23. Hmmm....It has all been said; I almost left the site without posting. But I have to let you know that as I read this post my head was a noddin' in agreement about this phrase, that sentiment. Thank you for answering so eloquently the question "why blog?"
    "I blog to preserve the fragments I know, to present the fragments I find."
    Me, too. So glad to make your acquaintance, Susan.
    Kay

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  24. You have expressed such lovely sentiments. I also love those pictures and the insights you provided.

    It's nice to finally "meet" you Susan although I may still slip up here and there and call you "Nolichucky". It has grown on me!

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