Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thankful For Some Lovely Bloggers

I would be remiss in closing out this Thanksgiving weekend without a long-overdue thank-you to some bloggers whose well-wishes I appreciate.

Go back with me, for a moment, to that month leading up to my trip to Ireland. You know, that trip in October which, for months, consumed my every waking moment with panic-stricken thoughts of not being “prepared enough” to take my research on the road.

It was back in September when the last of the research-panics hit me with the inevitable countdown to take-off. Only three weeks to “finish.” Then two. Then a count of days. Packing? Who needs to do that in advance? I still have to look up more online records!

In the midst of that personal frenzy, there was something happening elsewhere in the blogging world. Who started it, I can’t quite figure out. All I know is it was one of those creators of a “meme”—a sure misnomer in my book, where I’ve always understood a meme to be something spontaneously occurring to more than one individual at roughly the same time—who decided to devise an award to pass along through the blogosphere.

By the time the meme made its way from general writing blogs to specific history blogs, and then honed in on genealogy blogs, the weeks had passed from August to September. Come September 7, Alex Daw of Family Tree Frog had sent the nomination from Brisbane, Australia to San Diego, California. Now the hot potato was in the hands of prolific genealogy blogger, Randy Seaver. From the pages of Randy's Genea-Musings, the cheer spread out once again—in fifteen different directions, incidentally—and landed in my lap by September 10.

Great! I had been nominated for the “One Lovely Blog” Award. I felt honored. But swamped. Stymied like a deer in oncoming headlights, I froze.

Should have acted quicker, I soon discovered. On the heels of Randy’s kind nomination came a second one. On September 19, no less than Genealogy Rock Star Top Ten designee Sharn White of Sydney, Australia, included me in her fifteen selections on FamilyHistory4U. (In case anyone’s counting, Sharn gave me the number one position on her list—surely this was coincidental!—and for a bonus, quoted from one of my posts. Flattery can get you everywhere.)

So far, that added up to two nominations: one from Down Under and one from down south. I didn’t know what to do—remember, countdown to take-off was now at ten days, and I still didn’t feel ready to go on that trip.

The price of delay: three days later, Elise Ann Wormuth made it a trio with her post on Living in the Past. Elise is a relatively new blogger, but she is not new to the world of writing—nor the world of art and photography. She is a retired college professor of English. She and I struck up a virtual acquaintance when we discovered that we had been in the same place at the same time—last year’s Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree conference—but didn’t know it.

By this time, I was one week shy of our departure for Ireland. What to do? A response included not only writing “seven things” about myself, but acknowledging and linking back to each nominating person’s own blog. In addition, the requirements included sharing a list of my own fifteen favorite blogs. Finding a list of fifteen great blogs would be no problem, I thought: I’m not as voracious a blog reader as Randy Seaver, but I do subscribe to a huge number of genealogy blogs, as well as blogs on other topics. But taking the time to put the post together was weighing on me.

I thought I’d wiggle out of this one by saving the post to do after my return home. By that time—the third week of October—the World Series would just about be over, and I could piggyback on some baseball vernacular with a title like “Triple Play.” I did, after all, have three gracious bloggers to thank for their encouragement.

I spoke too soon when I came up with that answer. Later that same day—September 22 by now—Cheri Hudson Passey of Carolina Girl Genealogy added her voice to the chorus. That made four.

The very next day, another nomination came in. This one was from Elizabeth Handler of From Maine to Kentucky. But that wasn’t the last of it. One more was added to the list—I didn’t even realize it until I was already in Ireland—from Linda Stufflebean of Empty Branches on the Family Tree.

What to do with all this? For one thing, I’m certainly glad it didn’t mean I needed to do six times the fifteen recommendations the award requested. While I’m sure there are ninety blogs out there, worthy of my mention, I’m not sure you’d be a willing partner in slogging through a list of that length.

For another thing, it always seems so un-fun of a person to decline an invitation to “come out and play.” It was gracious of these several bloggers to think of me, in composing their “best of” lists. I certainly want to acknowledge their thoughtfulness—and please do follow the links back to their blogs, if you aren’t familiar with them; you may find another delightful stop to add to your blog reading routine. Besides, I didn’t want to just turn out to be a grump and not play along. You know how I love blogging and what other bloggers are doing with their virtual space—not to mention these researchers’ desire to give back to the genealogical community by sharing their family history findings.

In deciding what to do, I had to face some realizations. First, of course, was the time pressure. (Don’t think returning home from a three week trip removed that restriction; there is no such thing, really, as a vacation. You always have to catch up on what you missed when you return home.) Then, I realized that I am already sharing blog recommendations—both here, as they are appropriate to the subject of my daily post, and on my other social media outlets. As for the other award requirement—sharing seven things about yourself—I think a daily post, over the years, is ample face time to allow one to achieve that task.

So, what to do? In communicating with one blogger who had nominated me, the point was brought up that, just because a person is nominated doesn’t necessarily mean she is obligated to follow suit. I can simply say thank you and let it rest at that. Thinking of my blogging friend Wendy Mathias’ banner on Jollett Etc., “Award Free Blog,” I decided to do just that.

And so, a warm—and grateful—acknowledgement of these well wishes from so many fellow bloggers! I appreciate your recommendations and your good thoughts. I’ve basked in those warm thoughts again during this Thanksgiving weekend, and I didn’t want this holiday and its theme of gratefulness to slip away without posting this formal note of thanks. May each of you continue—in your own inimitable way—to bring your personal vision of genealogical pursuits to your readers in a way that encourages others to do so as well. There is nothing so heartwarming as a willingness to freely share what you’ve worked so hard to learn.


  1. I don't do memes either, it takes up too much time, that may seem ungrateful but oh well...I have known to be a bit of a grump:)

    1. I have so much that I want to write, that there isn't time left to write an assignment someone else thinks would be a good idea! Yeah, maybe that sounds grumpy...but I'm pedaling as fast as I can already.

      You certainly have a very specific agenda for your blogs, Far Side, so I can understand that sense of frustration over losing time being sidetracked. Memes have their place, but they are not for everyone. Just hope for the grace that comes with understanding :)

  2. Jacqi, I like your comments about being nominated and also not having the time to write but being grateful for the positive attention. Makes a lot of sense. I'm enjoying your blog, so thanks for keeping the focus on writing!

    1. Oh, thank you, Marian! I appreciate the vote of confidence. It seemed awkward trying to balance the two. Hopefully, people will understand.

  3. If anyone deserved praise for a well-written (and daily!) blog, it would be you! I'm please to see you garnering the attention you deserve.

    1. Thanks, Iggy! Hmmm...daily? See, I guess I can get a bit "intense" about this, too :)

  4. Yes, you ARE a lovely blogger. But don't think announcing being "Award Free" will stop anyone. Despite my banner, I still got nominations. Oh well.

    1. True. And I confess: I'm one of the guilty ones!


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