How I Wrote About 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Do you feel a need to jumpstart your genealogy? I had that very feeling at the end of 2021. I had done research for many years and compiled oodles of records and documents. I wrote up in some detail the lives of those ancestors who interested me and shared their stories with family members. I have even helped others with their research. Was there a new way to enjoy a favorite pastime we call genealogy?

 To that end, I was introduced to Amy Johnson Crow and her 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. It is a free series of weekly themes encouraging us to write about our ancestors.  I like to write, but did I have the self-discipline to write something EVERY SINGLE WEEK? The only way to find out was to, well, jump in, so I did.

Amy starts each month with an overall arching theme. For 2022, the themes varied from January’s FOUNDATIONS to June’s CONFLICT to December’s NEW HORIZONS. Within each month was a subtheme. So, for example, January’s first subtheme was called FOUNDATIONS and I wrote about Who Sparked My Interest in Family History? It spelled out why and how I started. The following week the subtheme was FAVORITE FIND and I wrote about The Elusive Ancestors (Though One Wasn’t Ultimately an Ancestor). The hunt was fun anyway and he did raise my paternal great-grandmother as his own child.

March’s theme was FEMALES and included subthemes of FEMALES, WORSHIP, FLOWERS, JOINED TOGETHER, AND SISTERS. I was particularly stumped by what I could possibly say about FLOWERS until I remembered that my husband’s paternal grandfather had married first one sister and then the other – VIOLET and ROSE. Bingo, their stories now came to life.

Perhaps my favorite subtheme was PERSERVERANCE. It offered me the opportunity to look at a few of the obstacles my ancestors had to overcome. My maternal great-grandmother, Mary Kearney Reardon Pond, who came from Ireland to America in 1853 and gave birth to her second daughter a month later in Ohio. She later homesteaded on her own in Colusa County in northern California. Or the Jackson brothers who came to California from Missouri during the gold rush only to have the younger brother lose his feet to frostbite and yet managed to ride his horse back to Missouri.

So, if you are looking for a way to refresh your genealogy, check out the 2024 version of 52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS. It’s free, it’s at your own pace, and a wonderful way to share stories with others.

I’d love to hear from you, please contact me through:

Michel Nellis, SBCGS Life Member

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