It’s the last week of 52 Ancestors posts for the year, and we’ve been tasked with sharing our genealogy resolutions. I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution–odd, I know, but my family hasn’t kept this tradition over the years. More often than not, we seem to trudge through our day-to-day responsibilities, making an informal resolution when the inspiration strikes. This week, I’m leaning on Writing My Past’s “Family history blogging…a year on…” for this inspiration; in the post, she discusses her reasons for beginning a family history blog and highlights her “lack of focus” as a hindrance to her research. The idea of “focus” strikes me, in particular: what is my focus on this blog? What should my focus be?
I’ve shared over a hundred posts on Applegate Genealogy since starting the blog in May. Applegate Genealogy began as a way to maintain my cool during the ever-changing months following college graduation, but I also thought it was the perfect time to start writing down the dozens and dozens (and dozens) of stories that my grandparents have shared with me over the years. In reviewing my posts, I seem to jump from line-to-line and ancestor-to-ancestor–chronicling my Mayflower Ancestors’ journey to America, taking a detour to wish my grandparents a Happy Golden Anniversary and throwing in a story about my connections to Christina Applegate–but the stories (almost) always come back to one topic: Buffalo, New York.
Maybe Buffalo is my focus, or maybe it should be. All of my favorite family stories and memories connect to the city and its outskirts: there’s the one when “Bug” Kuznicki was arrested for selling moonshine around town; when “Muzzy” Tofil defended the Liberty Ships that my great-grandfather, Stanley Zielinski, built; and when my grandmother swears she saw her grandfather’s ghost through the backyard window. Even the posts that aren’t quite about Buffalo–like The Next-to-Last Cook Sister or The Scamps–contribute to the larger story of how my family ended up in Buffalo. DNA Connections to Pomerania and My Musical DNA are among the random posts thrown in the mix, but one could argue that they align with this Buffalo focus, as well; after all, they are the story of me.
I realize I’m starting to ramble on, so here’s my point (and I do have one): the jumping from line-to-line and from ancestor-to-ancestor doesn’t hinder my research, as long as the focus remains on telling my story and connecting my ancestors by their hometown-in-common. My resolutions for this year? To focus more on the women in my family tree, even though their stories are infinitely more difficult to find; to revive the Behind the Photo series, enhancing the stories that my Wordless Wednesday photos already tell on their own; and to finally try to understand the meaning of “Centimorgans” and “X-match” and “Y-DNA Haplotree,” trying my hand at DNA Painter and finding common ancestors.
I’d love to travel to a few of my ancestors’ hometowns outside of Buffalo, starting with the Hawkins family’s Meeting House in nearby Guilford County. I want to take a trip to see my ancestors’ cabin-turned-schoolhouse in Wayne County, Indiana, and my Applegate line could benefit from a research day or two up in Maysville. 2018 was the perfect time to start Applegate Genealogy, though, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done–finally writing down these stories is a help to my research, and I’ve loved every minute. Is my work a little unfocused? Yes, but maybe no. In any event, it works for me, and I think it’ll carry me through these genealogy resolutions in 2019–my first New Year’s resolutions, now that I think about it.