When I started blogging last year I'd no idea who, if anyone, would be reading what I posted. Blogging was the first step in addressing the issue of what happens to Mom's stuff when Mom is off to greener pastures - be they eternal or the result of wanderlust. My goal was to share the stuff, most of which has been entirely private, with present and future family historians.
I'm blessed/cursed to be the family archivist. I have vital records, letters, diaries and photographs of my immigrant grandparents; boxes of papers and photo albums hauled up from my great-grandfather's house in 1996; crates of my grandmother's letters, photographs, research notes, grocery lists, bills, and newspaper clippings. There are a couple bags of research and photographs from my mother and aunt. This summer I've added digital copies of my husband's great-grandmother's papers to the mix. It's overwhelming. Who would be interested in this?
Well, it turns out people are!
GeneaBloggers LOVE reading each other's work. I suspect many of us have few people in our daily lives who are fascinated by the details of what we do. This was unexpected, but has been great fun.
Cousins have contacted me after reading the blog - especially on my father's side of the family. This has been a joy. It's the reason I began. Nothing beats connecting with family members interested in family history.
I've not had as much luck connecting with cousins in the more established American families I research, but I have been amazed by who has contacted me about those lines. I expected interest in the blog to be limited to family historians, but, with the power of Google, other researchers are finding posts of interest. I've had a wonderful exchange with a gentleman researching the history of his high school, a school where my great-uncle coached (more on that in a later post).
Three people researching house histories have emailed me. One man is researching a family home in the area where Thomas James Meredith's son settled. He kindly told me my Meredith posts have been helpful (hallelujah!!). Given how besotted I am with the family, this pleased me more than I can express. He's confirmed that the Thomas Meredith in Gloucester County is the son and generously offered to share some documents and photographs. I do love those Merediths!
Two people actually live in homes that belonged to great-grandparents. They found the blog by googling their addresses or the previous owners' (aka my g-grandfathers') names. Both are restoring the homes (to my delight) and have appreciated pictures and information about the houses and families that lived there. I've learned about present day adventures and had the chance to visit with the family living in my Sawyer family's homestead. I'd not been back since my last great-aunt died in 1996. It was beyond wonderful to see another family making the home their own. I even found an old painting of the house tucked in my archives (basement) and returned it to Tennessee. Far better it should hang there than gather dust and who knows what else in my "archives".
Not at all what I expected when I began this project, but these experiences have heartened and encouraged me to keep on digitizing and blogging. Now, back to work. Only a few thousand items left to scan or transcribe...
I mentioned that GeneaBloggers love reading one another's work. That this work also inspires and motivates us is not always so clear. I was catching up on back reading and saw once more a grand series of posts last month by Heather Wilkinson Rojo on her Nutfield Genealogy blog. She spent a week blogging about the joys of unexpected results in her Serendipity posts. I read them at the time and loved them. I have to think they inspired the theme and title of this post, though I was slow to recognize it. Belated hat tip to Heather!