Tag Archives: #reflections

Reflections on 2019 A-Z Learning From Civil War Pension Files

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary Reflections badge

This is the 7th year I have participated in the A-Z. As usual, I did not prewrite. Although I had all the records on hand and was familiar with them, I didn’t actually choose which I would use until the weekend before the challenge. I did change a few as I went along. Most of the testimonies and documents spoke for themselves and I did not have to do a lot of writing aside for an introduction or concluding paragraph.

In the past year I have done two series on my blog that consisted of over 40 posts each. I didn’t do them in alphabetical order, but did post them daily. Maybe that made this year easier, although at first I found it a challenge to have to skip around to different people instead of doing one person’s story in order. It did get me to look closely at 26 testimonies and during the next year I will probably post the stories of the various people featured in those posts in more depth.

It seemed to me that comments were down this year, so I decided to check my comments from all the years. They were actually pretty consistent. I visited back everyone who visited me. I checked out some new people from the list and some from comments on pages I visited. I didn’t look at the fb links this year and probably missed some interesting posts that way. My favorite new blog this year was Sonia’s Musings about the nerve wracking process of entering her three year old in a new school.

Other blogs I followed were:
Anne’s Family History “Visiting England, Scotland & Wales”
The Old Trunk in the Attic “Ancestors in Newspaper Clippings”
The Multicolored Diary “Fruit Folktales theme”
Anne E. G. Nydam’s “Fantastical Creatures”
Sarah Zama‘s “Berlin Cabaret”
Nilanjana Bose‘s “Bengali history and music”
Tell Me Another “Migrants, Refugees, and Exiles”
Tasha’s Thinkings “Ghost Stories”
Jollett Etc. “Family Heirlooms”

I’ll probably do A-Z next year and it will undoubtedly be connected to my family history research. Thanks to all those who make it happen!

You can find links to all my 2019 A to Z posts at A to Z Challenge 2019

The series I wrote this year outside of the challenge were: Katie Cleage’s story told through her pension file and My Grandmother Pearl’s Letters 1903-1905. In the coming year I plan to write a series of posts about finding my great great grandmother Susan Rice Ragan and what her life was like.

A to Z Challenge Reflections – 2018

Cick to see more reflections.

This is my sixth year participating in the A to Z Challenge. When I finished up last year, I planned to do the A to Z based on “small memories” that I had jotted down in a small notebook, figuring that I would have to do no research.  That did not happen. Instead I used the “small memories” to suggest poems that I wrote during April for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) which I posted on my other blog, Ruff Draft.

Back to A to Z. This year I had more of my posts written before the Challenge started. I had the majority of my research done before hand. The news items I was going to use were chosen early. Of course I changed a few of them along the way, but this year I was better prepared than any of the previous ones.

As always, I learned a lot about the people that I researched and their personal lives. And, most importantly, I wrote it up. I tend to get lost in the research with many interesting stories never seeing the light of day. That is my favorite part of A-Z, getting some of those stories down. You will find links to all my blog posts for the Challenge here – A to Z posts

I think I had about the same number of visitors this year as the other years, never an overwhelming number. I replied to all comments and visited back everyone who commented on my posts.

Last year I added my favorite A to Z blogs to my Feedly so when the Challenge started, I visited all of them to see which ones were participating and followed them again this year. I did not roam around on the list. I don’t even know who was above or below me. I would set to the category of “Genealogy” and  visit those. I visited some people who commented on blogs I was following.I did not use the fb link. I don’t use twitter any more.

I enjoy visiting other blogs, but there are only so many I can read day by day and get my posts done. I always mean to go visit some of the ones I have afterwards, but I get out of the way of doing it. I think what I will do is put them in my Feedly when I find them so they will not fade from my attention.

Several people commented everyday. There was a core group that visited me and I visited them. Some of those that I visited are listed below:

A few days before the Challenge started this year, I received 41 letters that my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage wrote to a friend from 1903 to 1905. I put off giving them a close read until the challenge was over because I didn’t have the time to devote to them that I needed.  I am now in the middle of transcribing and contextualizing them. So amazing to read her words about what she was doing at ages 16-19 years old.

Since I haven’t seen a Survivor badge yet, I made my own.