2012 really has been a wonderful year both in general and in terms of family history. Thinking back on my work, writing and research it truly has been a year of exciting discoveries and growth. Though the discoveries produce gasp inducing ‘oh my god’ moments I believe it’s the growth that’s the most important. Without growth I would not have made the discoveries.
Over the year I’ve learnt that researching family history does not necessarily mean sitting in front of the computer for hours on end. It also means visiting libraries or checking out bookstores specialising in old books, leaving your comfort zone and dropping in to your local genealogical society and hopping in to your car and driving around to meet various distant cousins who have differing knowledge and memories to your own (as well as the odd never-before-seen photograph).
I’ve learnt that (despite evidence to the contrary) you should always listen to your gut instincts because sometimes they can be spot on (i.e. the story of Matilda Maria Hurst).
I’ve learnt that although having one photo of a person is important; having all the photos relating to a person’s life is even more important because they inject more depth and colour into a person’s story. Hence, I’ve learnt that scanning said photos can be very time consuming but at the same time, extremely rewarding. As can keeping your USB (my pride and joy) neatly organised.
I’ve learnt that though researching one’s family can be done as cheaply as possible, sometimes you do have to spend some money to get the breakthroughs you’ve been desperately searching for.
Finally, I’ve learnt that there are some people in the world who are very kind and generous and who will go out of their way to help you even though they’ve never even met you before.
So, to that end, I’d like to thank all of the people who’ve helped me in some way (be it big or small) throughout 2012. I especially want to thank my family and my friends for once again listening patiently throughout the year as I rattled off a possible theory or vented about the issues I was having with finding information on a particular ancestor. Of course, thank you, thank you, thank you if you gave me new pieces of information or clues, photos or documents to scan or huge chunks out of your own research. I truly appreciate it. Finally, I must thank The Boy. He’s also a fellow family history researcher but he researches a little differently than I do. He’s really the one who constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone and to be honest I wouldn’t have learnt a lot of the above if it wasn’t for him standing behind me, poking me in the back and telling me to keep walking and be brave. To The Boy: thank you for everything you do for me. x
To Finding Family’s readers and followers: thank you for reading and commenting and helping to make my blog a joy to write. Here’s to 2013 and hopefully to many, many more exciting discoveries and blog posts along the way!
PS: The talented people at WordPress have put together Finding Family’s 2012 stats into a lovely report. If you’re interested in viewing what was most popular and regularly googled, please click the following link: http://ancestrysearch.wordpress.com/2012/annual-report/
- 1885 ‘”A HAPPY NEW YEAR.”.’, Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872), 19 December, p. 4, viewed 31 December, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64036760