Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorite Things

With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, their 1959 musical The Sound of Music, and even the von Trapp family, I’m taking my inspiration for today’s post from their well-known song, “My Favorite Things.”

Despite the fact I don’t particularly care for woolen mittens (I prefer leather gloves, thank you), I can see why the piece has endured not only as a perennial favorite, but in its morphed state as a Christmas song  (having been featured on at least eighteen Christmas albums since the song’s inception).

While I’m not even sure this song actually listed Maria von Trapp’s favorite things (perhaps they were fancied by her husband, the Baron Georg Johannes von Trapp), they do bring a smile to the face, or perhaps a warm fuzzy feeling to mind for most of the rest of us.

Which brings me to my point today: in the past year, I’ve noticed a number of special family history blog discoveries which have brought a smile to my own face, and sometimes even warm fuzzies to this blog reader’s attention.

Many of my fellow bloggers are writing up their own Top Ten lists for a year-end wrap-up. Rather than follow suit, for this version of My Favorite Things, I thought I’d include a list of others’ blogs that have made me smile.

My intentions, of course, were to follow the pattern of the Top Ten make that Eleven no, Twelve er, Some-Teen Posts. You know I have too much to say. Besides, I read a lot.

So here’s to you: some of my favorite bloggers of 2012:

Remembering My Blogging Roots

First, I want to be grateful for the ones who helped me get started in blogging my genealogical journey. Where would we all be without the inspiration—and sheer networking oomph—of Thomas MacEntee and GeneaBloggers? Besides his listing of newly-discovered bloggers every Saturday, Thomas partners with Gini Webb to bring readers a feature focusing on one new blogger each week, “May I Introduce To You

Then, I always appreciate my early encouragers, who have not only been regular readers, but have been consistent bloggers in their own right. These include “Far Side,” creator of Forgotten Old Photos, and “Iggy,” who authors a thoughtful mix of history, reminiscence, and family reflections at Intense Guy.

Taking Me Back To My Roots

Some of the bloggers I relied on early in my writing journey are still—thankfully—at it, still posting their discoveries and their thoughts on the processes of genealogy. One of my first go-to blogs was one which helped me get a sense of the Irish heritage I was researching: On a Flesh and Bone Foundation: An Irish History. I’m grateful that “Irish Eyes Jennifer” is still writing. I love her work.

I’m grateful, also, in digging up our family’s Ohio roots, to find Shelley Bishop’s A Sense of Family still going strong.

And I’m glad that, in my desperation to connect with my own southern heritage, I got to know Michelle Taggart of A Southern Sleuth and fellow D.A.R. applicant Wendy of Jollett etc.

While working on my husband’s Catholic roots—not to mention discovering my genealogy-and-coffee compatriot Sheri Fenley’s other blog affiliation at The Catholic Gene—I discovered another blogger from The Catholic Gene whose work I appreciate. Lisa at publishes 100 Years in America, among other projects, and has lists of helpful resources for researching roots in eastern Europe.

Cut-to-the-Chase and Other Changes of Pace

While I often like to discover other bloggers who are trying to create the same story-telling ambience I’m seeking for my own work, I also appreciate the proverbial breath of fresh air that other bloggers bring to the table.

My all-time favorite for the no-nonsense approach to genealogy (and life) is Kerry Scott’s Clue Wagon. While Kerry is juggling many hats in life right now, I hope to see more of her in 2013. She has a mouth and she is not afraid to use it. Definitely a go-to resource with a singular point of view. And great at getting the conversation rolling.

Another approach to genealogy blogging is that of Patrick Jones in his Frequent Traveler Ancestry. True to his blog’s title, Patrick mixes his frequent travels, his talent at photography, and his quest for ancestral detail, all in this one resource. While his Joneses are not my Joneses, his Tennessee not my Tennessee, nor his writing style mine, I enjoy stopping by his blog for a change of pace.

Lists We All Can Use

I’m not a great list-maker. So I enjoy benefitting from the strengths of others. Here are some I appreciate, and have gotten to know a bit in the past year:

With her knack for research organization, and her eye for the useful, genealogist Julie Cahill Tarr consistently provides the resources to link researchers to useful books, blogs, websites and webinars at GenBlog. There is a lot to learn from her forward-thinking approach. Widely read, she shares her resources, particularly in her Friday Finds column.

I don’t know how I missed this other blogger—and great resource for Follow Friday finds—but just last spring, Jana Last exploded on the blogging scene. Suddenly, Jana’s name was everywhere, it seemed, as well as her smiling face. With her unique family history and entertaining writing style, she’s been a joy to follow. I’m so glad I’ve made the digital acquaintance of this energetic writer and creator of Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog.

A researcher after my own heart, aiming to find the stories behind the family facts, Anne Gillespie Mitchell (a.k.a. Ancestry Anne) shares a wealth of information at Finding Forgotten Stories. Whether checking out her Follow Fridays (and her concurrent recommendations via Facebook and Twitter), traveling alongside as she journals her CG certification progress, or taking in her observations on her personal family history research, you’ll enjoy Anne’s writing style and variety of presentation.

So there you have it: my some-teen favorite blogs and bloggers for 2012. Thank you all for enriching my genealogy journey through your written insight and the favorite things you have shared with your own readers all year long. May you continue with a blue writing streak all through the New Year!

Above: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, "Roses," oil on canvas; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain in Australia, the European Union, the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the artist plus seventy years.


  1. And speaking of coffee - it is time for java and jabbing. When and where?

  2. I'm happy and humbled to be among your favorites, Jacqi, especially since I enjoy your writing so much. This is a great list, and I'm eager to check out the ones that are new to me. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    1. Thanks so much, Shelley! I certainly appreciate what you are doing at your own blog!

  3. Jacqi,
    Hope you have a wonderful New Year and a blessed one fill with many new adventures.
    Love you list of blogs and will check out every one!

    1. Thanks so much, Betty! I was just thinking of you today, while preparing for tomorrow's post, and had stopped by your blog...surprised to read the news. You will be on my mind and in my prayers for sure!

  4. A good as gold list of blogs , Jacqi ! I love the reference to " My favorite things " song ! Happy New Year !

    1. Magda, some of those lyrics have been running through my head lately. And I can just hear that sound track and the Julie Andrews version.

      Glad you like the list. I've grown rather fond of my favorites!

  5. I am inspired by these same bloggers as well as I really do not enjoy blogging as much as researching .

    1. Now, that's an interesting observation. Research over blogging? I can see that being possible. Writing is not for everyone. It's just that I'd hate to find all these fascinating tidbits and not be able to have a way to share them with everyone!

  6. Replies
    1. Oh, thank you, Far Side. You are my inspiration!

  7. Replies
    1. That would be a well-deserved blush, I might add. I took a peak your way the other day, and was so glad to see you are back to writing! You certainly have a way with words...and photographs!


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