I’ve been flying with WordPress for six years! Hundreds of thousands of words have been written, deleted, and rearranged into, hopefully, interesting articles. It’s been an amazing journey – this blogging thing.
I wrote about all of my children’s ancestors from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents. I began working on the 6th great-grandparents last April. Now I’m picking an ancestral couple on a whim and without a strict schedule. It’ll probably take several years to get this generation done.
Visitors to my blog have been more interested in content that was non-related to The Ancestors.
It’s understandable that DNA posts draw more readers. My ancestors aren’t shared with everyone while DNA is of interest to people using this genetic genealogy tool to prove their ancestry. I might do a few DNA related posts this year but genealogy research and writing about The Ancestors will remain the top priority on this blog.
This is post #609. Over 115,000 visitors have dropped in and viewed my posts nearly 212,000 times during these six years.
Happy 6th Blogiversary to Opening Doors in Brick Walls. Thanks to all of you for making this such an enjoyable journey.
What brings traffic to my blog if they didn’t drop in by clicking a link shared on social media? Search terms are no longer a precise way of determining what people are searching for as they are often encrypted on the search engines. But the ones which do make the list are fun to look at.
The top search term over the years has been the blog name followed by Johnny Cash family tree. Number 3 was Verwurelter. If you don’t know what Verwurelter are then take a moment to read the only recipe post I’ve written: Family Tradition: Berliner and Verwurelter.
Luxembourg and German towns names, as well as all those surnames of ancestors, have drawn readers to my blog. One search might not have helped the person interested in a dempsey in prison in beckley wv. It makes me want to do the same search just to find out if there was a Dempsey in prison in Beckley. I’m always willing to solve a puzzle.
As I mentioned in my first post in 2019, I’m taking things as they come this year. I’ll be working on whatever needs to be researched, reviewed, or updated. No resolutions and no promises.
Not all of my time is spent researching and writing for my blog. Three years ago the president of my genealogy society, Luxracines, asked if I would be interested in joining the committee. It’s not much work, he said. It was more time consuming than I had thought but I will be offering my candidature for another three years when our annual meeting is held in March.
Along with spending time with family and friends, I also have a retired husband who wants to share his passion for cycling with me. He keeps me healthy since research and blogging are sedentary tasks. Riding 5,300 kilometers (3,293 miles) last year took 210 hours and that doesn’t include preparations time and after ride clean-up. And I get my eight hours of sleep at night.
Four years! Sometimes it seems like yesterday and then it feels like I’ve been blogging forever. 2017 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2018 took care of the statistics for the past year but I left my readers hanging with the What’s Coming in 2018 question.
Although the majority of my articles have been about the ancestors, visitors to my blog have been interested in other content.
Top posts show people are being drawn to my blog for the how-to posts: DNA and FamilySearch. My About page, which I hope everyone visits, was updated in November 2017. James SIMS is on the list twice and – his son-in-law William JOHNSON Jr. just made it into the top 10.
What projects do I have for 2018?
Continuing Themes and Tying up Loose Ends
The Slave Name Roll Project posts will continue in 2018.
The Old Photographs Saved from Trash Can series came to an end after the last nine posts in January through March 2017. A final post, a synopsis of the family connections made during the process of writing about each of the over 150 photos was pushed off to the back burner but not forgotten. I want to get this done during the year. I have this mind mapping idea to show the connections using text and images but still working on the how to do it.
A New Look for Opening Doors in Brick Walls in December 2016 brought a fresher look to my blog. Unfortunately, with all the research for the posts in 2017, I did not find the time to go through and fix formatting which didn’t conform to the new theme. I want to go through the old posts, fix images (too large, not centered), add footnotes to early work, add Genealogy Sketch boxes to the ancestors’ stories, and fix links in earlier posts. I am always linking back to older posts but sometimes forget old posts can also be linked forward to new content.
I’m hoping to come up with a few ideas for future posts when I check and fix the older posts.
I’ve managed my brother’s DNA on Ancestry for a little over a year and a half. I’m not in the league with the genetic genealogists but I think I’m grasping it better by reading as much as possible. For the past six months a few hours a week, I’ve been setting up profiles and importing chromosome data to Genome Mate Pro. Going slow and getting it done right the first time.
So far it looks like the family tree data is matching up with the DNA results. I’m still waiting to make an earth-shattering discovery in my tree – and not in someone else’s. Why is it so easy to see the connection when it’s not your own tree? I’m not committing but I hope there will be a few DNA discoveries I can write about during the year.
Evergreen Content to be Updated
For nearly 18 years the SIMS family has fascinated me. I worked with a group of SIMS descendants in 2001-2002 per email. Everyone shared their information, photos, and documents. The result was the biography of James SIMS, Pioneer of Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, written in early 2002 with a revision in 2013. The original version has been attached to hundreds of trees on Ancestry.com.
James SIMS was the only child of Jeremiah SIMS of Culpeper County, Virginia. Many family historians have tried to prove the parents of Jeremiah were Thomas SIMS and Rebecca PETTY. But not Rose Mary Sims Rudy, one of the original members of the SIMS research group, who sent me 25 pounds of books and papers several years ago. It’s time to go through the research material to see what may have been overlooked. It’s also time to lay out and test a hypothesis Rose Mary shared with me concerning the ancestry of Jeremiah SIMS.
This should get me through the year.
Thank you to all my followers for the visits, views, likes, and encouraging comments that motivate me to continue.
I’ve been blogging weekly and bi-weekly since I started my blog in January 2014. One blogger I follow let her readers know she was taking a Blogpause. Another completely disappeared for several months and returned to blogging by writing a moving post about genealogy addiction. I chose to take some time off and come back with a selection of photographs from the wonderful time we had on our vacation in the Black Forest.
It was no surprise my top post for 2015 was the first of three parts on the slaves of my ancestor James SIMS for Black History Month.
Surprisingly two posts written on a whim and at the last minute, post #2 about my loving the new FamilySearch and post #4 Santa Claus’ visit to my hometown, were in the top 5. The first got most of its traffic through Twitter while the second made our local newspaper site which linked to my post. The report asked permission in an unexpected phone call. 🙂
Post #3 is a piece I originally wrote in 2002 and added to my blog in 2014, backdated to 25 August 2013 when it was last updated.
Top 5 search terms
william clonch was gunsmith in wv 1860o
opening doors in brick walls
why did william wilmore leave amherst county virginia in 1805
wood family of monroe, greenbrier & fayette county
mcgraw family of fayette county wv
Johnny Cash brought traffic to my blog with these search terms
Nearly 20,000 views since starting to blog on the 23rd of January 2014. This will be my 160th post. [All were posted during my first year blogging but 40 were written in 2000(1), 2012(4) and 2013(35) and are seen in the archives under the date written instead of posted.]
Most of the time I speak only Luxembourgish, write in English, watch (listen to) German TV, and read French and German as fluently/fast as English.
I’ve logged in 5,116 kilometers (3,179 miles) on my racing bike since the beginning of the year. That’s 183 hours in the sattle! I do this to stay healthy and share a hobby with my husband.
I have over 75 cookbooks. I enjoy planning and preparing 4-5 course meals. Secret to success is use the same plan several times during the year just as long as the guests are not the same!
I’d have done anything to get out of physical education class in school. I’ve never been an athletic person. They put me out in right field (spot for the less talented) when my Dad talked me into joining the softball team when I was about 13. (See #2)
I went to 7 schools in 4 different countries in 13 years.
I love reading. I finally got a Kindle last year and it is packed with free books. As long as it is well written and interesting, I’ll read it. And the not so well written teach me not to make the same mistakes!
I was a stay-at-home Mom for my two children. People did not understand how I could do such a boring thing. I get the greatest compliments about my children and it was worth it. It wasn’t boring and when they grew more independent I found more and more time for my family history.
15 Bloggers I Admire
I thought this is going to be easy but it didn’t turn out that way. I’m a new blogger and blog follower. Several are German blogs that are really worth looking into. I’m always waiting for Friday to come around for Jana and Julie’s blogs. Several of these have already been nominated by other bloggers. I didn’t see a rule about double or triple nominations so here it goes, in no particular order.
For me genealogy is about sharing, giving credit and payback! This time payback went full circle with the help of social networking.
Fourteen years ago, when I first began using the internet for my genealogy research, the work done on the family of my immigrant ancestor Johan Jacob RUPP and his wife Maria Barbara NONNENMACHER appeared to be the most thoroughly done. In time I learned that there were several persons responsible for the large amount of work on the family. One of them was my friend Everette Llavon McGREW (1923-2008).
He sent me a copy of his book My Mother Was A Rupe (revised August 2000) in February 2002 to thank me for sharing information and photos of my visit to the RUPP family’s village in Northern Alsace in December 2001. In the introduction he wrote:
I must give some recognition to Linda Dickey Roop….She had done some research and we made the decision that she would, with my help, write the book. So I sent her copies of all that I had pertaining to the family…..she sent me a rough draft for me to read, update, correct and comment. I did that immediately and returned same to her. Linda died in September 1994 from a fast growing cancer at the age of 51, without publishing the book, so I am attempting to take it from there.
So much of the history and genealogy have been lost forever, and I have not found another book written about our family, are the reasons that I am trying to write this book in order to preserve the small amount that I have found. Yes, there will be errors and omissions and I welcome each and everyone who sees something wrong to please let me hear from you in order that I can place it in an addendum to the book and make it a more complete product. I would love to spend the remainder of my days trying to make it perfect, but since we never know how many days we have left in this life, I think it is time to publish and get something about our family before the public now. I am not copyrighting this because I want to share and make available to all; therefore, if you feel the urge to take any or all of it in order to publish a more complete book, lots of luck.
Also my wife should be given some credit for the book because she allowed me to make trips (mostly to Virginia) to gather data from other Rupe descendants, libraries, courthouses, and cemeteries. She also let me spend many hours in my “computer room” when I really should have been going for groceries, digging in flower beds, running the sweeper, etc., because she had polio in 1950 and has been in a wheelchair ever since that time.
Everette loved his family. He was so thrilled when his first great-grandson was born in 2006 on his wife’s birthday and saddened that she did not live to share his joy. When his second great-grandson was born in 2007 he wasn’t disappointed that his birthday was missed by a few days. He had two great-grandsons to keep the McGrew name going and he was happy.
This year I got the chance to pay Everette back for sharing his research with me.
Anita wanted to know if Isabell’s date of death was in “my” Rupe Bible. She had seen the following statement in my gedcom file:
My mother….gave me the large, crumbling Rupe Family Bible (1875 Edition) which contained data on her grandfather, Crockett Rupe, and his children. I never asked her where she got it.
I hadn’t worked on the ROOP/RUPE family for a while but knew that my friend Everette Llavon McGREW (1923-2008) was the only person who had ever mentioned a Bible to me. Unfortunately Everette had passed away and I didn’t have a contact address for any of his children.
After a week of trying to find an address or email address I took more drastic measures – I friended Mike McGREW and his daughter Erin on Facebook and hoped that one of them would accept. Everette was such a kind man, I was sure that his children and grandchildren were the same and would help if only I could get in touch.
Erin was the first to send a message asking how she could help. I explained that I was acting as a go-between for a genealogist who was interested in her grandfather’s family Bible. She didn’t know anything about it and passed the message on to her Dad. I hoped that the Bible hadn’t gotten “lost” after Everette’s death.
Within two days I had four new friends on Facebook.
Anita wrote, “DAR will accept scanned copies of Bible pages if they are readable and submitted with a copy of the front page of the Bible that shows date of publication.”
Mike messaged me, “Unfortunately the cover and title pages are missing. I’ll take pictures of the Bible and maybe that will suffice.” Mike scanned and photographed the Bible, emailed the files to me, and I forwarded them to Anita and Patty.
“I think these pages along with what I already have will give me enough proof to link all the generations. I know Patty appreciates it as well. I will be seeing her soon and will give her a copy of the Bible pages. This will be a treasure to hand down to her grandchildren,” Anita wrote and thanked me for all my help.
Patty’s application was submitted after the chapter board met in late June. On August 19th Anita let me know that Patty’s DAR application was approved and she was awaiting assignment of her national number to make it official!
Everette Llavon McGrew and Patty Meyers Royal are 2nd cousins 1 time removed. Their common ancestors are Crockett RUPE and Poratha McALEXANDER. Everette who had a deep appreciation of his ancestors’ lives would have been proud to be a part of helping his cousin Patty in her endeavour to prove her lineal, bloodline descent from their common ancestor William McALEXANDER (1744-1822) who assisted in achieving American independence.