I do have a nice group of loyal readers within various branches of my family, and have enjoyed connecting with some previously unknown cousins thanks to blogging. However, it didn't take long for me to realize that the majority of my extended family was not waiting daily with bated breath for the next blog article from me.
During those very early days of blogging, when I was trying to sort out my purpose in writing (along with the mechanics of putting it all online) and connect with readers, I was encouraged by the great camaraderie that I found with other family history bloggers. A few bloggers in particular found me online (or I found them) and we shared comments, emails and support. It was very heartening to this family historian taking my first steps into the blogosphere to know that there were others out there also - writing their own blogs and taking the time to read mine.
Two of those bloggers that were very helpful to me in the beginning as online mentors were Jasia of Creative Gene and Thomas MacEntee of Destination Austin Family. Each was always willing to patiently answer this newbie's technical questions, taking the time to ease my transition into the blogosphere. (Now thanks to the expertise Thomas shares at Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers and GeneaBloggers, we all have open access to his step-by-step tutorials without having to bug him via email. Thanks, Thomas!)
Besides their technical help, both Thomas and Jasia provided me with encouragement to write more (and continue to connect with other bloggers) thanks to their involvement with carnivals. Who can forget the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (2007) that they both dreamed up? Thomas took us on a fast and furious writing adventure throughout that year's Advent season. I wrote more than I ever could have imagined writing about the traditions of my ancestors' Christmases past on all three of my blogs (here at 100 Years in America, here at Small-leaved Shamrock, and here at A light that shines again) and I was exhausted. I couldn't imagine how Thomas felt after being the host and also contributing articles. I'm sure he enjoyed his rest that Christmas.
In terms of carnivals, however, no genealogy carnival has yet come close to topping what Jasia has accomplished through the Carnival of Genealogy (otherwise known as The COG). As a blog carnival host myself for the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture (now two years old and sixteen editions strong), I am in awe when I think of the quantity of carnival editions that Jasia has written as host of the Carnival of Genealogy (now three and a half years old and eighty-three editions strong!). Each edition that she has dreamed up, publicized, organized and written has taken much of her time - and it is has all been done gratis, just pure gift for all those of us contributing and reading.
A very special thank-you to Jasia for the "blogging marathon" that she has run (and continues to run) with her wonderful Carnival of Genealogy. I was very happy to take the baton from her once and run with it to allow her to catch her breath (Carnival of Genealogy, 52nd edition on "Age") and would be very happy to do so again. Please know, Jasia, that your readers and writers appreciate your work very much.
To all of you that I have connected with over the past few years through the COG and through other avenues in the genealogy branch of the blogosphere, thanks for writing your blogs, reading a little of what I've written, and taking the time to connect so that we could encourage one another. I truly consider you "cousins in genealogy".
If you'd like to read my own submissions to various Carnival of Genealogy editions, you can visit them here at 100 Years in America, here at Small-leaved Shamrock and here at A light that shines again. I'll be reposting a few of my favorites this week in honor of the COG and of Geography Awareness Week. You can read them here:
- "The waves' rippling song": South Beach, Staten Island
- Međimurje: Meeting place of rivers and cultures
- The view from my corner of the world
This story has been submitted as part of the 83rd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. The topic is "What the COG means to me". Visit Jasia's Creative Gene for the carnival.
The image of the Oak tree in winter is circa 1840's. You can view similar historic images from the Fox Talbot Museum at http://foxtalbot.dmu.ac.uk/resources/photo.html.