As of tomorrow, January 6, 2010, What’s Past is Prologue will be two years old! I had to laugh when I realized how similar my blog’s growth has been to that of a baby, and this baby is about to enter the “terrible two’s”! In the beginning, the new blog gets all the care and attention it needs…later, not so much. The 2-year-old child behaves badly simply because his or her desire to communicate is greater than his or her ability to do so. If that’s the case, this blog entered the terrible two’s early, for last year the desire to post was greater than the time and the ideas to do so. Maybe I should follow the advice to parents of toddlers – provide predictable routines for the toddler. If I give myself more structure, more routine, What’s Past is Prologue will continue to grow.
And did it ever grow in its second year – thank you so much! While the number of posts decreased – from 146 in 2008 to only 93 in 2009 – the number of visitors dramatically increased from almost 23,000 in the first year to over 35,000 in the second. The busiest month of the year was November with 3,600 visitors in the month (but the busiest day remains in 2008 on the day after the vice-presidential debate thanks to Joe Biden’s “shout out” – he did mean this blog, right?).
I’m always surprised by which posts visitors are viewing. The all-time favorite has been Philadelphia Marriage Indexes Online, written in June, 2008, with over 3,600 views. Many of my older posts have high counts, but surprisingly, the post with the third highest count – 2,071 – was written in this second year (the honor goes to I Remember Betsy in March, 2009). Two other big posts from this year were More on Philadelphia Marriage Records with 890 hits, and an earlier piece on a similar topic, When You Can’t Find Grampa’s Marriage Record, with 631 hits. Of course, I have a whole list of “least read” posts, too… Fortunately, they weren’t any that required a lot of work or research on my part, so that’s okay. Sometimes the best of hitters strike out!
Any blogger will tell you that the numbers don’t really matter that much, because we all have our own personal favorites. Even if it is only read by a handful of people, the posts that are most meaningful to me remain meaningful. What I lacked in quantity this year, I made up for in quality, and I have quite a few favorites throughout the year. I hope you enjoyed them, too.
My favorite research-oriented posts were January’s The Slesinski Sisters 3-part series, in which I discovered who my great-grandmother’s sisters were after seeing their photographs (the series begins here), and September’s The Millers’ Tale, another 3-part series, in which I attempted to determine if three families named Miller with unique connections were related or not (the series begins here). But my best research-related post was short and sweet – or I should say, sweeter. In October’s A Sweeter Sweet 16 I learned the names of four more of my great-great grandparents!
Although this blog is primarily about genealogical research and records, the posts that mean the most to me are those that are personal reflections and memories. No other blogging vehicle allows us to write about those memories better than the Carnival of Genealogy, or the COG. As always, some of my COG posts are my personal favorites – even though I would have never thought to write on these topics without the suggestion. Whether it was about my aunt or uncles, my ancestors’ hometown history or the history in my own backyard, or my miserable memories of winter or ecstatic memories of Rome, the COGs in 2009 were a delight to write – and to read others’ entries!
The COG isn’t the only genealogy-related carnival in town anymore. I enjoyed finding examples in my collection for the new Festival of Postcards – my favorite was June’s A Bavarian Main Street that blended my great-grandfather’s past with my own. I have a tie for my favorite Smile for the Camera post – either March’s Brother and Sister or August’s A Different Kind of Bling. Poignant or humorous? You might find either when you stop by around here…
Speaking of humor…my favorite “fun” posts this year were March’s Ancestors on Facebook and August’s What Are They Looking For? The latter post, about the unique search terms people use to “find” my blog, will be repeated with new and exciting – and strange and unusual – search terms! You really can’t make some things up… What I did have to “make up” this year were humorous articles related to photography for Shades of the Departed. I took great delight in being a guest columnist for the lovely footnoteMaven’s blog, which became a full-fledged online magazine in November.
In last year’s post celebrating my very first blogiversary, I wrote, “One of the other “best” things about this venture is the rest of the ‘genea-blogging’ community.” It’s a sentiment worth repeating. I thank all of the friends who have left comments on my posts, encouraged me through emails, inspired me through their blogs, and amazed me by subscribing and visiting time and time again. Thank you – here’s to another year of blogging!