Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy 4th Birthday, Know Their Stories!

Photo by Marc Hanauer (link)

Know Their Stories is four years old today.

Don't they say that 95% of people abandon the blogs they start? I've heard that statistic, along with the oft-quoted, "Most blogs have an audience of one." Blogging ain't easy. I'm proud to still be writing after four years, but even more, I'm grateful to still be enjoying it. Many of the blogs I used to read have gone kaput, perhaps because the writers lost the heart for it, because writing started to be a task rather than a release, or because no one ever commented. Sometimes it just stops making sense.

I had my own hiatus at the end of last year, when the world became a place I didn't recognize and deciding how to move forward became an every day challenge. For a while, I didn't know if I would be able to write again, or if doing so was a good use of my time. I had to stop and think about why I write this blog and whether I wanted to keep doing it. The good thing about my blog is that it's always really been for me. Hardly anyone reads it, and that's okay. The people who need to read it find it, and that's incredibly satisfying. I don't need fifty comments; I just enjoy that one comment from someone who Googled their ancestor and found my blog. That happens somewhat regularly, and it encourages me to keep writing.

I write this blog because I'm passionate about sharing the stories of my family members, and because writing helps me clarify my research and make sure I've gotten the facts straight. If I felt like I had to write a post every week, I wouldn't enjoy it. I write when I want to, I give myself space when I need to, and I keep hoping that these stories will find their way to people who care. Four years after its birth, Know Their Stories is still going strong, and I have a lot of tales left to tell.

The most popular posts on Know Their Stories in the past year:

Organizing Your Genealogy: How I Did It and You Can, Too! - Wow, this one went a little viral and got nearly 5,000 views. That's like the views for all my previous posts added together and then multiplied by twenty!

We're Related... Or Are We? - Because it's fun to bash on bad tech.

So You Want to Take a DNA Test: Advice for Non-Genealogist Friends - This post has gotten the most feedback from my 30 and 40-something friends, most of whom seem to be curious about DNA but aren't yet into genealogy.

A Photo of John T. Griffin - That time when somebody found my blog and then emailed me a photo of my biological 2nd great-grandfather. His own son never saw a photo of him, and now I have one because of this blog.

What I'm Working On Now:

If I'm being completely honest, not very much. My career hit a new high this year (awesome!), and genealogy has taken a backseat (bummer!). I haven't had the time and energy to start new projects, or even address the goals I set at the beginning of the year. It's okay. Those ancestors aren't going anywhere. I am hoping to have some more time for research in the Fall. In the meantime, I'm keeping the blog going, meeting with my local genealogy society, and occasionally sorting through some photos and documents that need filing.

Thank you!

Thank you to all the newly-discovered cousins who stumbled upon my blog and took the time to email me, to offer up family photos and stories, and to help expand my knowledge. Thank you to my mother, aunt, brother, and a few of my mother's cousins, likely the only people who semi-regularly read this blog. They email me afterward to point out mistakes or give insight on the stories I've told, and I really appreciate their collaboration. Thank you also to my fellow genealogy society members, who work really hard to provide programming and educational opportunities that make me a better researcher. And to anyone who is here by accident--- thanks for stopping by! I hope you come back to read more stories. Four years in, I still feel like this is just the beginning.