Over the past week, I’ve been pleased to see that many genealogists have been spurred on by the 52 Ancestors challenge to write/post/tweet something about their family history research. Some people have been keeping up with this challenge for years, and others have used the new year to (re)start regular posts. Some (myself included) used this as motivation to actually begin blogging.
I’ve enjoyed the variety of responses that people have had to the prompt, “Start.” A few researchers shared stories about what got them going with genealogy, whether inspired by a person they knew, or a question unanswered. Others thought about what a “start” can mean in a family’s history.
After following the #52Ancestors hashtag on twitter, here are some that have grabbed my attention:
- A post from Candy Ditkowski (@geneacandy on Twitter) tells a story about ancestors who came to the colonies from England in the mid-1600s . The story is interesting, but I particularly liked the way the post emphasized that when someone made a new start, there were reasons for the change. By understanding why people uprooted their lives and what were the consequences of them doing so, we can get a much richer look at who they were as people and how they lived.
- A post from tinamarie (@Boondoxs) reflects on a picture of a five and dime store. The store where her parents met – her African-American father and her white mother – in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1959. In a brief but engaging tale, she gives a glimpse into the start of her parents’ lives together and the difficulty of that start in the world they lived in.
- A post from Wendy Littrell (@allmybranches) is motivated by the sentiment, “I start with myself once again,” as a strategy to make progress solving brick wall problems. (She’s also got some great photos of ancestors she has found!)
- A post from innatejames (@innatejames) shares how family branches originating across US and Canada converged in Michigan thanks to the auto industry, “I owe my entire existence to Henry Ford.”
- A post from Marian B. Wood (@MarianBWood) shares how once she realized that all she knew about her grandfather was his name, she started digging for other information. The seemingly simple quest to know more about Grandpa Isaac proved a bit more complicated, though, and started her genealogy journey.
- A post from Dave Pidgeon (@NorthArchDP) talks about the emotional experience of gradually uncovering and revealing a family secret about his grandfather’s military service.
- A post from Julia Joy (@TheHealstorian) talks about how stories from her grandmother got her started, and reminds us that studying (family) history can connect us with people from other places and other times and can help us understand bits of history (good and bad) that are shared and those that combined to make us who we are.