As a genealogy blogger, I tell my ancestors’ stories; although I’ll sometimes share a memory I have with a particular ancestor, or reflect on a particular research find, I try to refrain from placing myself in the forefront of their stories. Ruth Blair–the brilliant writer and researcher behind HistorianRuby: An Historian’s Miscellany—nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award this week, and while it feels odd to put myself in the spotlight, it’s also a great way to share more about myself. This blog is about my ancestors’ stories, but it’s a bit about my story, too.
A note on HistorianRuby: according to her “About” page, Ruth is “fascinated by the early modern period and the various themes that you can explore, including history of crime, social, women’s, family and royal histories,” and that’s exactly why I followed her blog. One of my favorite posts is “World War One: When War Reunited a Family”–an uplifting story about two long-lost brothers reuniting in war-torn Europe–but you can also find posts about Britain’s suffragettes, London’s blue plaque campaign and “The Children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert”–all great reads.
– Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
– Answer the eleven questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
– Nominate eleven other bloggers and ask them eleven new questions.
– Notify your nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.
– List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award log on your post and/or your blog site.
If you had to choose to be on a reality show, which one would it be?
Clue was one of my favorite board games growing up, and I’d choose to be on the murder-mystery show Whodunnit?. (It only aired for one season–it wasn’t very good!) In each episode, the competitors witnessed a staged “murder” committed in secret by one of the members, and their task was to find clues and determine the identity of the murderer. The competitors were privately quizzed on how well they solved the mystery at the end of each episode, and the player with the lowest score would be the next “murder victim,” eliminating them from the game. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a real-life game of Clue.
If you could change your name, what would it be?
My great-grandfather, Wendle Applegate, was a deserter during World War II, and he changed his name to John Gates to avoid arrest–that’s why my surname is Gates. If I had to change my name, I’d switch from Jamie Gates to Jamie Applegate–Applegate is a unique last name, and then my connection to Thomas Applegate of Gravesend would be clearer.
How long have you been blogging?
I started blogging in May, a few weeks after graduating college. You can read about my blogging journey in my previous post, “Feeling Grateful.”
How frequently do you blog?
I post family stories and photos three days per week. Mondays are dedicated to my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posts, Wednesdays are for my Wordless Wednesday series (in which I share my favorite families photos–often photos that can stand alone) and Fridays are for musings about the ancestors or records I’m researching that week.
Share the link to a favorite post of yours. Why is this your favorite?
“Unlucky 13th” is my favorite blog post; it’s one of my favorite family stories, and one of the stories I was most anxious to share on the blog. After my great-great-grandparents, Mikołaj and Wiktorya (Drag) Kuznicki, left Poland for New York, they started a family bar and restaurant. On the side, they had some shadier business dealings, and both of them were arrested a few times (as was my great-grandfather and his brothers).
Do you check your stats for the countries that have “visited” your blog?
Guilty! Most of my readers are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland or Canada, but I’ve had a few readers from Germany, Sweden and Poland–the countries that my ancestors emigrated from. There’s one viewer from the Philippines, who turns out to be one of my cousins on my mom’s side–genealogy blogs are great for connecting with cousins!
Which countries are you missing from your globe?
Most of them! Right now, I’m following a lead that would connect one of my Kuznicki ancestors to the Napoleonic Wars, and I believe he may have married a French woman. It’d be really cool to have a reader in France (if I prove the family connection to France, especially!).
Are you a crafty person?
I can knit a scarf, so maybe? My grandmother has won the knitting competitions at her local fair for the past three years in a row, but I’m not very good myself. I’ve tried my hand at painting and pottery over the years, but I think I’d better stick to writing!
Do you shop in advance for Christmas? Or leave it until the last minute?
I used to leave Christmas shopping until the last minute, but I’ve been planning gifts a month or two in advance the past few years. I already know what I’m getting almost everyone in my family this year–fingers crossed they like the gifts!
Do you participate in sports?
I love to read and write, and I’m pretty good at singing, but I didn’t inherit the sports gene. My great-grandfather, though, was the quarterback of his high school’s football team, as well as a first baseman. One sports commenter even called him “nothing short of sensational;” I guess he was a community favorite.
Are you a sweet or savory person?
Sweet–and my favorite sweet treats are brownies and fudge.
Now It’s Your Turn!
I’m nominating Myricopia, Branches on Our Haimowitz Family Tree, Shaking the Branches, Urungamaiden, Saving Joyfully, Cherie Lynn’s Herstory, Making Their Stories Known, Kindred Stories, Gerry’s Family History, Diary of a Young Genealogist and Silly Mummy Family Tree. Here’s my questions:
– Why did you start your blog?
– Who is your favorite ancestor to research? Why?
– What’s your favorite family heirloom? Why?
– What’s the weirdest name you’ve come across in your family tree? (Mine has to be Drucilla Van Sweringen.)
– What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from an ancestor?
– How many generations back can you trace on your maternal line? (Your mother and her mother and her mother…)
– What’s your current “brick wall,” or who’s your current “brick wall” ancestor?
– What’s your favorite holiday? Why?
– What was your first car?
– What’s a random fact about you?
– What advice would you give to a newbie genealogist?