A – Z Reflections 2015

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This is my third year participating in the A to Z Challenge.  This year I blogged a series of sketches about the free people  formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. I also wrote about some of their descendents.

I found myself (once again) spending pretty much all day, everyday researching and writing up my posts.  I thought I had already done a lot of the research but once I started writing people up, I found there was more I wanted to know about their lives.  Sometimes I spend a lot of time looking and did not find the information.  Other times, it would appear unexpectedly.

I had a limited amount of time to visit other blogs and tended to visit the same ones when I found some I enjoyed. It was difficult to find blogs that I was interested in by the hit and miss method I employed using the gigantic list.  I had more luck visiting people who commented on blogs I already enjoyed.  I also followed people I knew from past challenges and other prompts I participate in throughout the year, Sepia Saturday for instance.

Three of the blogs I consistently followed were: MopDog, Stories I Found in the Closet, and Tell Me Another.  I think it would be a good idea to mention blogs we especially enjoy during the challenge.  I need all the help I can get to find those I enjoy. A blog I found late in the challenge through a comment on someone’s fb page that I will be catching up on and following is Modhukori.  Three blogs that I visited regularly from Sepia Saturday were: Bob’s Home For Writing, Family History Fun and  Anne’s family history.

I will be doing the challenge in 2016.  I like the way it makes me think about my topic and dig up information and actually write it up. My tendency is to get lost in researching.  I am very glad that Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out thought up A to Z and put it into action.

A list of my posts for the April Challenge with links.

38 thoughts on “A – Z Reflections 2015

  1. I too find that I always do more research once I start to write a blog post. No matter how much research I have already, I need to verify the facts and the mere writing generates a whole series of questions I hadn’t thought of before. Plus as you say there is the time spent researching with no results not to mention the following of distracting tangents.

    I thought it was terrific that you put so much effort into remembering people who shared your surname and whose roots crossed with those of your forebears.

    1. Thanks Anne. I could tell from your posts that you put a lot of time into research too. You have such lovely photographs of the people you wrote about. I just added you and Bob up there, how could I forget my Sepia Saturday A to Zers!

      I really want to get a feel for the community that my Cleage ancestors were part of. It’s so easy to just think of them as isolated individuals or members of a small family.

  2. Without a doubt, your blog was the most ambitions and well-researched one I stumbled across by a mile. While some people were satisfied posting a couple of pictures or a hundred words, day after day I was amazed by the painstaking efforts you put forth in compiling volumes and volumes of fascinating information on your ancestors. You really did take up the A-to-Z as a challenge, and you focused your efforts to create something truly incredible and hopefully long-lasting. You should be very proud of your work and I hope you can compile it into some sort of lasting archive for your family and other history and genealogy buffs.

    I applaud your for – the in truest sense – accepting and overcoming the “blogging” challenge!

  3. I may have to use this as a blurb on my book cover. Thanks for making my day. I have two new grandchildren that I have to make quilts for and then I am going to take these posts and put them into published form. I should write that out and put it on the wall over my desk.

  4. Thank you for visiting my A-Z reflections post. I know how painstaking researching family history can be. Your theme is so interesting. Now that the challenge is over, I now have more time to explore your a to z posts.

    1. And thank you for the visits! I learned so many ways to kill people, if I ever time travel back to medival Hungary.

      You will see me next year, and on MopDog Mondays between.

      And thank you for the information about how to do a signature! I will have to save that so I don’t forget between now and next year.

  5. I didn’t get here as often as I wanted. The information you shared was so interesting and fun to read. Congrats on finishing and look forward to see what you come up with for next year.

    1. I’m thinking about it and I know it’ll be related to family history. Maybe I’ll find something that has an X, Q and Z component.

  6. I too find research can go on forever – I guess if you like research, you do get intrigued and taken off in different directions. I did all my posts in March, apart from a few, and it really freed me up to go visit, after all there’s not much point in doing all the work and have no-one read it! Hope to see you next year too, Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

    1. Yes, I think research can be a bit addictive. I don’t know if it would be much better if I did my posts in March. It might just totally consume TWO months instead of 1. I was thinking if I could come up with a theme, I could do two a month all year and then spend April visiting and commenting. If I could only be so organized.

  7. Congrats on completing the challenge Kristin! Amazing to read about all the research and effort you put into it. I really enjoyed the posts I read – how you brought the historic persons back – fascinated me. Wanna come by and read some more. Happy to connect with you:-)

  8. Kristin,
    You have a very interesting blog and have organized it very well. I am going to direct my sister, who is the genealogist in our family, to it. Who knows? We might be related, but at the very least, it is a good template for her to start her own genealogy blog. Now, I have to convince her that she wants to do it. 🙂

    1. Having supportive relatives makes a big difference! I hope you can convince her to start. A whole lost branch of the family found me through this blog.

  9. I can see you love researching. You had a great theme for the A-Z challenge and I can see why you had to spent a lot of time on it. Great blog!
    Thank you for checking out my blog. I didn’t really had a theme, I just did random things.

    1. That’s what I did the first year I participated in the Challenge. For 2014 and this year I did have a theme. I think it would be easier for me to get those pesky hard letters if I went random.

  10. You are right it was difficult to visit all blogs on the list and find the very good ones….I generally visited the ones closest to my number on the list. I am sorry I missed out your blog too. I go into research mode only when I am writing about some ancient buildings etc but rest of the timesI guess I am in little hurry.

    1. I’m making a list of all the blogs I found late in the challenge, as well as those I found earlier, so that next challenge time I will know at the beginning if they do the challenge again and can follow from the start.

      I did visit the ones closest to me on the list but that didn’t always yield blogs I wanted to keep following.

  11. I appreciate you dedication and effort for putting so much of time in research. It was very interesting to read your posts, congratulations for completing the challenge..

  12. Well done for completing such a wonderful AtoZ. I’ve caught up on a few and will need to come back for more. I’ve done a tiny bit of researching on my family, want to do more but also want to remind people of how amazing my Dad’s was. It’s really important that people don’t forget the history of our ancestors as it’s often what makes us who we are today.

    1. That is true and if we don’t share the stories of their lives, they will not be remembered. It doesn’t have to be online, but I’ve found that it’s even easier to share with my children if I write the stories out. The opportunity to talk about them just don’t seem to come up.

  13. OMG. This is amazing! Thanks for stopping by my blog, else I wouldn’t have known you were here. I’ve bookmarked this and promise to come back later to take it all in. We’re on our way to a dog show right now, but I just had to say “Wow.”

    Kelley’s Dog Blog

  14. What a lively virtual world of genealogy blogs! Congrats on another year of completing the challenge.

    1. They aren’t all genealogy blogs, in fact only a tiny percentage of those who do the A-Z Challenge are genealogy blogs. But they are lively! And thank you for the congratulations 🙂

    1. I’m not sure if we all just have more time to respond to comments because the challenge is over, if people who write reflections are more likely to respond or if adding a signature with a link to my blog is responsible for the way people are responding to my comments on their blogs, but it is making me want to write some of my posts for next year before hand so I can spend more time visiting and commenting myself.

  15. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge!
    You were certainly busy with all your research. I actually visited your blog during my AtoZ journey, since you were linked up in the blogs below me and within the range of numbers I had already visited. It’s certainly true that blogging, visiting and commenting consumes a lot of time and there’s no way to get through the huge signup list during the month of April…unless you don’t get any sleep! Some days I spent more than 5 hours online just visiting/commenting (much to hubby’s disgust)! I don’t think it’s been effective as I haven’t gotten the same amount of visits/comments back. At least we have until the start of next year’s challenge to try and catch up on blog visiting!
    Thanks for reflecting.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

  16. Hi, Kristin – thank you for your comment on my A-Z Reflections post. I am impressed with the number of comments you have received on your first class series on the Cleague name.

    I read with interest your comment that you found a way to make a signature that includes a link to your blog. I have an idea I came across this tip at some point, but of course I did not act at the time and cannot remember where I saw it. I would appreciate if you could let me know how to do it. Many thanks,

    Susan at Family History Fun

  17. Many thanks for this, Kirstin. I sound so stupid when everyone says it is easy, but I am not sure I understand about html. However Blogger Help makes a suggestion through Settings which I hope works.

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