2020 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2021

2020 A Year in Review

The year 2020 got off to a good start on my blog with The Ancestors series. The plan was to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set. The WOOD, McGRAW, HONEGGER, and WISEMAN 6th great-grandparents (all on my paternal side) were done before Luxembourg went into COVID19 lockdown in mid-March. As these distant ancestors become more difficult to research and write about, a single post is not always feasible as seen in my having to break up the HONEGGER post into two parts.

Four months later, only one post had been published. From August until October I worked on the earliest FOURNELLE family in my tree. After setting up the stageintroducing the main characters and supporting cast, I discussed each of the children of my 7th great-grandparents Jean FOURNEL (1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (1657-1702). All of the posts can be found under the tab for Books: FOURNELLE Book.

A few how-to posts on using the block editor on WordPress, Luxembourg birth and marriage records, and an updated post on transferring AncestryDNA raw DNA files to Gedmatch got me to the end of the year.

Posts, Views, and Viewers

As you can see by the year in review, 2020 was not as productive as previous years on my blog. I wrote 33 posts compared to 50 in 2019 and 51 in 2018. Views were a bit lower than in the past two years but still 40,547. A total of 23,348 viewers visited my blog during the year. The number of followers grew from 500, a milestone reached in December 2019, to 544 by the end of 2020.

Top posts in 2020

Genealogy Toolbox: Links to West Virginia Land Deeds on FamilySearch

The Ancestors: Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GOETZ (396+397)

The Ancestors: Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

Lëtz Research: How to Find Luxembourg Civil Birth Records

Dear Cousin – We Have a DNA Match, Now What? (Updated)

The Ancestors: Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GOETZ (Part II)

The Ancestors: Bailey WOOD and Nancy, his wife (392 & 393)

Adding Footnotes to your WordPress Posts Using Block Editor

Strong Women: Mary, wife of Isaac WISEMAN († 1779)

From Luxembourg to America –
The Tempestuous Voyage of the Cornely Family

What I was up to in 2020

Even though it was quiet on my blog during the summer months, I was still busy.

Mom’s AncestryDNA results came in a few days before the first lockdown. I went through each of the steps I’d set up for my brother’s and my own test. The matches were clustered using Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering Tool and notes with the cluster numbers were transferred to Ancestry. The raw DNA file was uploaded to FTDNA, MyHeritage, and Gedmatch. All DNA data (from the four sites) was imported into Genome Mate Pro, my major repository for DNA matches, trees, notes, correspondence, chromosome segments, mapping, and analysis.

I spent several Mondays in Walferdange at the Luxracines archive working with two other ladies from our genealogy society. With the archive being closed to the public, we had time to work on the inventory of the books in our collection, set up a classification system, and labeled all books with identifying numbers. The library was ready to receive visitors on an appointment basis due to COVIC19 restrictions. But before long we were once again under a soft lockdown and then a more strict lockdown at the end of the year. Other members of Luxracines were busy extracting marriages that took place in Belgium for people born in Luxembourg under the direction of our president Rob Deltgen.

I spent 241 hours (121 days out of 365) riding my racing bike with my husband. My longest activity was 114 kilometers. I rode a total of 5,657 kilometers while he chalked up 10,100 kilometers.

And still, I had time to keep up with new DNA matches. I developed a new color system for my AncestryDNA matches. It is so brilliant that I plan on sharing it in a future post. What I had before was good but this is even better – and transferred over to chromosome mapping it clearly shows from which of my father’s four grandparents matches with MRCAs are coming from.

What’s coming in 2021

Along with the last mentioned, I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.

I hope I will be inspired by my mother’s DNA matches to work on my children’s 6th great-grandparents who have not yet been introduced here.

With two of her five children tested, Mom’s results include one 2C1R, three 3C2R, three 3C3R, and all other matches being “4th cousins or more distant.” Mom was an only child, had only three first cousins (1 paternal and 2 maternal), and her entire ancestry lies in the “greater” Luxembourg area. Clusters of matches include descendants of Luxembourg and German (from areas once part of Luxembourg) emigrants who for the most part settled in the US.

One FOURNELLE post still needs to be written on my 5th great-grandparents Pierre FOURNELLE (1713-1765) and Jeanne NEU (1723-1783) to complete the line between my grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE (1909-2005) and her most distant FOURNELLE ancestor.

These are things I would like to work on in 2021 but I’m not setting goals. 2020 taught us to slow down and enjoy what we can as long as we can. The year also brought blessings in the form of a granddaughter, our first grandchild.

Happy New Year 2021. May it be filled with hope and a brighter future.

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

2019 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2020

No resolutions and no promises were made for 2019. I wanted to work on whatever needed to be researched, reviewed, or updated.

Researching and writing without a schedule worked for a while. I wrote about my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH’s estate and the strange goings-on in the lives of his sons John and Alex, my 2nd great-grandfather.

With the questions on the CLONCH line answered, I realized I needed to formulate a research plan and/or schedule. Which families or geographical areas did I want to work on while leaving me time to keep up with new matches on my brother’s AncestryDNA test?

My children’s ancestors had been covered from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents during three rounds of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors. The 6th great-grandparents were waiting to be reviewed, researched, and written about. The posts were supposed to be short and informative but the couples I started with were a bit more complicated than expected.

Johannes HAMES (c1756-1826) and Agnes BOUR alias HEITZ (1755-1836) were first up and I was able to write about them in a single post. While researching Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798), I felt I needed to prove his parents and her parents which led to proving their parents. I ended up writing a series of seven posts. The same thing happened with  Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852) and Margretha BREGER (1767-1851) and with Hubert CORNELY (ca. 1753-1816) and Margaretha EVEN (1756-1839). I wrote five posts for the first couple and three for the second. At this rate, I’d not be getting one couple done per week as I’d hoped. But I was getting some great research done as well as discovering new generations of ancestors for these lines.

The Slave Name Roll Project was put on ice in April as I worked only with Luxembourg civil and church records. It’s a bit difficult to find slave names when you aren’t working with US records.

My DNA results were ready in October. Research and writing were put on hold while I set up all my tools and worked on matches I didn’t have in common with my brother.

In December, wanting to get back to blogging regularly, I wrote about Holiday Traditions. These short posts about the season reminded me that genealogy also means saving the stories of the present and not only the past.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the content I added to my blog this year and the stats look good.

A Milestone in 2019

On the 4th of December, the total blog followers reached 500!

Posts, Views, and Viewers

During 2019 I wrote less than one post a week. This will be the 50th post, one less than last year. In comparison, I wrote 88 in 2017 and 129 in 2016. Views will be a little below 2018 while visitors remained the same.

Top posts for 2019

ThruLines™ Introduced by Ancestry: TrueLines or TrueLies?

I Found the Coolest Site to Use for Land Records in West Virginia

Wowsers! Ancestry Fixed My ThruLines

Look Who’s Finally Taken the Autosomal DNA Test

I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks! – a reminder to check the FamilySearch catalog

Referrers

Google Search brought the most visitors and views to my blog followed by Facebook, WordPress Android App, and WordPress Reader. Number five referrer was Linda Stufflebean’s Friday’s Family History Finds on Empty Branches on the Family Tree. Thank you, Linda, for the mentions.

I Published a Book

One of my proudest moments in 2019 was when I received my first blog book. Now I need to find time to get the rest of the content of my blog ready to print.

What’s Coming in 2020?

  • I want to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set.
  • I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.
  • The Slave Name Roll Project will come back monthly.
  • Several updates on older posts are in the works.
  • The Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can series’ final post, a synopsis of the family connections made during the process of writing about over 150 photos, still needs to be written. This was promised back in March 2017 and I never got around to working on it.

Happy New Year 2020. May it bring peace and hope for a better world and new keys to open the doors in your brick walls!

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.