Genealogical resolutions for 2018

With the start of a new year, I thought I’d lay out my genealogical plans for 2018:

  1. Write more blog posts here on Blackenedroots. Having an energetic toddler has been more of a challenge to my genealogical pursuits over the past three and a half years than I had imagined it would be. With Arwen’s third birthday now behind us, I feel (or at least I hope) that we’ve turned a new page and that I may be able to get more research and writing time in. This last month has been a test of that feeling/hope, and I found I was able to write more posts in the last month of 2017 than I did in all of 2016 or 2015. So here’s to a continued renaissance at Blackenedroots in 2018!
  2. Join a hereditary society or two—most likely the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (Mayflower Society). My cousin Linda asked for help with an SAR application she was filling out this past fall, and I realized I didn’t really have a good grasp of what was needed. I thought tracing one’s line back to an ancestor who was a member would be sufficient—not so, it turns out. If your ancestors joined SAR or DAR more than about 35 years ago, you pretty much have to redo all the work done by your ancestor, as the societies usually returned all supporting documentation to the applicant, without making a file copy for themselves. With the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower coming up in 2020, and the 250th anniversary of the nation coming a few years later in 2026, this seems like a great time to get this done. To benefit both sides of my family, I’ll probably be going with Benjamin Woodruff on my mother’s side for SAR, and John Alden on my father’s side for the Mayflower Society.

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Happy Father’s Day!

I’d like to wish my father and all fathers in our family a happy Father’s Day. You’re the role models, the teachers, the coaches, the soldiers, the providers, the protectors, the scout leaders, the tinkerers, the tree house builders, and the bad joke tellers that have allowed us—your children, grandchildren, and other descendants—to discover and become who we are.

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My 100th blog post and my 100-year touchstone

100In a little under a year, I’ve reached a milestone on this blog with this, my 100th post. To you, dear reader, I’d like to say thank you for reading, commenting, sharing, helping, and inspiring me. Family history may sometimes seem like a solo pursuit, but at its core, it’s a cooperative affair. Family history is about our history, and we all have a role to play in ensuring that this history survives. Think of the heirlooms and old family photos you might have in your house. You would not have those had someone else not taken at least some care to help preserve and protect them. I am utterly grateful to my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and beyond for making sure that some of our family’s history survived long enough to make its way to my hands and eyes.

Just as those who have gone before us helped preserve history for us, so must we help preserve history for the future. The more we try, the more history will be preserved; the less we try, the more history will be lost. History is not just a collection of facts and artifacts that survives on its own and can be counted on to always be there. If we don’t take an active role in nurturing and protecting our history, it will be slowly be lost.

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Dust and Memories

The interior timber frame of an abandoned barnWhile I was thinking of what to call this new site, one name that kept coming to me was Dust and Memories.  One of the goals of this site is to document the history of those family members who came before me.  I consider this to be an almost sacred duty of the family historian, because if no one in a family takes the time to document these histories with writings, images, and tangible artifacts, a family’s historical legacy all too quickly becomes dust and fading memories. Continue reading