Saturday, April 28, 2012

Four Months in on the Blog

When I started this blog in late January, I was hoping this would be creative outlet, provide a means to get my family history written and shared, improve my research and connect with others in the genealogy space. I have managed to cover quite a bit on my Dad's side (primarily the Jones and O'Brien lines and their related families). I have also covered some of my Mom's side, mainly the Read line and briefly on the Campuzano side from Arizona & Mexico.

Now that I'm four months in, I thought it would be useful to look back, note some successes, areas for improvement, and highlight some stories to come in the next few months.

When I started this project, I knew very little about the Mexican War. That has certainly changed after several months of reading pension files, personal accounts and other records from the war. I also did not know the details of ancestors' service in the Civil War. These were holes in my understanding of the Jones line, and I think I've managed to bring some closure to these gaps.

I have picked up a growing set of old photos and stories from my parents. I'm trying to involve other cousins in the family history search and encourage them to collect stories and information. That is an area for improvement.

This blog isn't only for my own family history. In the coming months, I will post stories from branches on my wife's side. Someday I hope our young kids find these stories interesting and inspiring. 

It has been very helpful to have monthly writing reminders, and to keep them flexible. As much as I love family history research, my daily work, family obligations and regular travel limit hours to insomniac late evenings or early mornings. I've done surprisingly well in sticking to the writing reminders, mixing in other new research, and the regular Friday Photo. It has helped that some of these posts are updates from Word documents I've written over the years on the different branches of the family. The blog has also provided a push to go back over old research and correct some errors.

Other genealogy blogs have provided great ideas as well.

Stories to look for in May and June:
- My Mexican roots, from Sonora to Arizona (the current Supreme Court case Arizona v United States over Arizona Senate Bill 1070 is going to trigger some writing, as my Granny's family crossed the border from Sonora in the 1920s)
- The Whitley/Wheatley family, and their journey from Culpeper, Virginia to Kentucky. I've had this in my writing reminders since February. In late May I have to go to Culpeper for work, so I'll get to this branch on my Mom's side before I go there.
- Samuel Oyler Coming to America
- Borders and Crossings
- Brick walls on the Jones side in Jefferson County, Tennessee
- Introduce my Gumpy, still ticking at 91, & some of his stories including his 1937 road trip to California and summer of 1938 as a lifeguard at Indiana Dunes State Park
- Blanche Allene O'Brien Jones, my grandmother & my Dad's Mom
- Updates on Mexican War research regarding Company G
- More 1940 US Census finds

This is an ambitious set of writing reminders, so we'll see where I get.

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