The tenth anniversary of this journal silently passed in October 2020. I considered a few different ways to recognize it at the time but settled on not recognizing it. Perhaps you’ve noticed how rarely I write about myself here. Its easier to write about our ancestors.
Well, three months later I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided to write a little bit about how this journal has evolved and what motivates me to keep at it.
In the beginning, I crammed everything I knew about a person into those early articles. What I eventually learned was that I was quickly running out of things to write about. So, I changed my approach. I’ve been focusing more on analyzing a single document in each post rather than attempting to cast each post as a comprehensive biography. By taking the time to really look at a document and understand what it says, I’ve learned so many more little things, and I’ve become convinced that most family historians that use services like Family Search or Ancestry don’t take the time to examine the documents they’re linking into their family trees. For example, go to Ancestry and look at a few different trees containing Jesse Graham and Elizabeth Hunnicutt to see how many of them contain the error of resolving Benton County, Alabama to the town of Benton in Lowndes County, Alabama. It’s depressingly common. It even infected my own research for a while.
Which leads me to another change I’ve made here over the years: sources. In the first several articles, I barely listed all my sources. Now, each article is finished off with a comprehensive bibliography telling you exactly where I got my information. (Sometimes I consider going so far as to include annotations in the text.)
As for what motivates me, well, I just love researching and writing. I’ve been writing short stories and other things since grade school, so this is just another expression of that creative desire. And when I learn something, I am excited to share it with people. So, here we are.
Something I discovered that saddens me is that everybody in our family doesn’t share the same desire to share. I’ve had cousins reluctantly exchange information with me only after demanding I not post any of it online. I’ve had cousins offer to share their research, dangling it like a carrot, only if I first make changes to articles posted here in order to promote their version of our family’s history. Thankfully, these are rare.
I freely share my own research here and ask for nothing in return.
Well, almost nothing.
I’m going to ask for two things now.
First, I want you to interact with this journal! Leave a comment! Press a like button!
Second, there is that “Make a Donation” button that’s been there for ten years that nobody has ever clicked. (Presently at the bottom left corner of this page.) Ancestry memberships and web hosting packages aren’t free, you know.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this site over the past decade. Be well! Share!