Looking through my blog, I discovered five years have slipped by since that first post back in December of 2010. Things started slowly, but around 2012 I finally found my voice. It's been an incredible five years, I've found genealogy friends and made the acquaintance of dozens of cousins from far flung places; among them California, Washington State, New Jersey and Nevada. Cousin John, from Nevada, was born in New York and we met in person last summer while he visited family here, and along with his sweet wife we toured all our Ryan hot-spots together--cemeteries, homesteads, churches. Then there is the most far flung of all, the amazing Dara of Black Raven Genealogy, who lives in Ireland. We're not related, but this kind, generous woman actually took the time to drive to my ancestor's home site in Ireland and snap photos for me!
I've received other marvelous gifts too. One person sent me a digital copy of the fabric diary compiled by my cousin Inez Worden, filled with swatches of fabric she used over the years along with her handwritten notations of what she had made with each one and for whom. Another sent the memorial card of my cousin Sister Cecilia Vincent, a Catholic nun. New found cousin Ken sent me copies of all the late 19th century photos of my Ryan family in his mother's possession. Cousin Tom, a book dealer, regularly sends me packages filled with books, actual books! When my Nevada cousin visited, he presented me with a lovely, large, suitable for framing, copy of the Ryan family reunion circa 1920 with every single person identified. I can't think of any negatives in this whole experience. Except maybe those cases of writer's block.
This past year has been filled with...well, life. Illnesses, births, work--the sort of things that can get in the way of the concentration needed to put out a reasonable blog and so the number of posts has declined a bit. I've noticed that several blogs I follow have stopped posting entirely for much the same reasons and I can sympathize with the writers. When I started this, my goal was to write useful articles, find some new cousins, and chart my progress on each family line. Writing down what you already know is a wonderful way to see where you need to direct your attention next and pull together all the scraps of data that have been accumulating. After a few years it became more challenging to find topics and I finally figured out why-- the easy stuff has all been done. What's mostly left now is the brick walls and the gathering of information on ancestor localities and extended family and neighbors; in short alot of reading. The genealogical facts are more hard won these days and only come after hours of research and it's not easy to blog while you're researching. After you've found new information, yes, but while doing the actual work, it's difficult.
In closing, thank you, thank you, thank you for reading my blog. Just for fun I went back and found the five most popular ones over the years which I now share in ascending order--
How I Found The Missing McGarrs of Ballyraggan
Funeral Card Friday/ US Sailor John Francis Hudson
Another Unfortunate Train Death
Missing McGarrs Located
And lastly, the most widely read blog of all,
They aren't necessarily my favorites, but the reading public has spoken. Once again, Thank you.