Monday, December 29, 2008

I Do Solemly Resolve To . . .

As the new year begins, I look into the future and make what I will call "Year-Long Aspirations of Good Intentions." Jasia, a traditionalists, has referred to them as New Year's Resolutions, might prefer a more professional designation such as annual goals, but call it what you will, it's always nice to strive for improvement as we step into 2009.

Last year I refused to engage in what has always been for me, the resolution farce. You know; clean, organize, lose weight. It always ends in bitter disappointment, defeat, and weight gain.

This year I have been struggling with nostalgia. The nostalgia fire was stoked by Becky Wiseman's post, A Salute to the Old Timers!, and ended with email correspondence between Jasia and myself. Could I be an Old Timer, surely not.

I now write several blogs. It was feeling like several too many so I was contemplating closing down footnoteMaven and moving my blogging life to Shades. I would retain my nom-de-blog, but no more footnoteMaven the blog.

I discussed this with Jasia, a good friend and the engine behind all the GeneaBlogger machinery. She reminded me that footnoteMaven was where my personality resided, where I wrote, where I really interacted with my blogging friends. Shades was the professional me. She gave me a great deal to think about and Becky's post brought back some wonderful memories.

Becky pointed to my first post, Shelter From The Home and Hearth, which was also my first contribution to the Carnival of Genealogy. I was so new, my hand shook as I hit the blog submission button. I had been reading these famous bloggers for months in the certain knowledge that I was not worthy. Now I was about to prove that to the world.

I had joined the 19th Carnival with my blogging idols, Randy Seaver - Genea-Musings, Jasia - Creative Gene (the reason I started blogging), Miriam Midkiff - AnceStories, Becky Wiseman - kinexxions, Craig Manson - Geneablogie, Apple - Apple's Tree, David Bowles - Writing the Westward Sagas, Tim Abbott - Walking the Berkshires, and Chris Dunham - The Genealogue (Chris actually mentioned me in a post once and left a comment on my blog, that Chris. I was so excited!).

These were the Old Guard and I was jumping into the deep end of their blogging pool. They were kind, generous, and welcoming. Encouraged, I wrote more posts and more Carnival submissions. Then, miracle of miracles, I received my first comment. A comment for another Carnival submission, Only Woman-Built Boat On Long Island. Here is that memorable comment and my response:

Apple said...

A very interesting story. Your comment that she evaded her family for most of her life is very intriguing. I hope you'll share more about her in the future as you learn more.

The footnoteMaven said...

The stories of Lois Green have not always been kind. They are the type of family lore that you must be certain of before you plant your ancestral foot in your mouth.

Apple holds a special place in my blogging heart for being the first to comment on an article I had written. You have no idea how excited I was, then again, perhaps you do.

I admire each and every one of these wonderful people and am still very close to those who encouraged me from my first post. People have often asked why I create a Carnival of Genealogy poster twice a month when the Carnival is Jasia's and not mine. It's really quite simple. I owe my blogging life to the Carnival and Jasia. It is my homage to her for my online start. I will be forever grateful.

Along the way I added many new friends and I have enjoyed their research, writing, and wicked sense of humor. This past year also saw the advent of Facebook and a flood of new Geneabloggers. I hope in some small measure I have encouraged this new crop of GeneaBloggers as I was encouraged. Today, it is so difficult for a new blog to stand out, to get the recognition it deserves with the number of blogs in competition for our viewing. I offer one suggestion - Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.

And with that I get back to the point of this post, my "Year-Long Aspirations of Good Intentions."

1. footnoteMaven will remain. I love writing this blog. It is my beginning and my roots. fM needs a face lift and more articles in the areas I enjoy - writing, sources, citations, humor, family history, and friendship. More of those in the coming year. And yes, I need to put a few more blocks on the quilt.

2. I hate, detest, loathe and dispise my blog reader. Sure you get a quick read, but how I miss the trips to the actual blogs. The redecorating and all the little widgets that show a blogger's personality. More trips to the actual blogs, less blog reader in the new year.

3. More new blogs. No, not ones I'll create, those you've created. More trips to the blogs of new GeneaBloggers. There are so many gems out there.

4. This last year I haven't commented nearly as much as I would have liked. I lay some of the blame with those infernal blog readers. More comments! There are some fantastic blogs out there and I intend to tell them so more often.

5. I once responded to all the comments my articles received. I haven't done enough of that recently. If someone takes the time to stop on any of my blogs and leave a comment I intend to respond. I miss the interaction. More responses in the new year.

6. I am working on that database of photographers to help date our family photographs and would like to have it online in the coming year. It's one of those projects that will never be finished, like our own family history. Shades will be putting out a call during the year for assistance from my readers. I want that database to become a reality.

7. My first love is researching old photos and there will be much more in 2009. Back to the detective work.

8. Oh, those women wearing glasses. The collection grows and I am refining the database that holds them all together. This year I will talk more about the work.

9. I have spent a monumental amount of money on new technology (ask Mr. Maven). Now all I have to do is master that technology. I will spend more time learning the ropes of my hardware and software this new year, in the fervent hope all that technology will make for quality and efficiency.

Do you see a pattern? I'm going back to the things I love,
the things that made me happiest. The reason I became a GeneaBlogger.

10. Step away from the computer! Yes, there is life beyond the keyboard and I'm going out to get some.

Meet me here next year! Same GeneaTime, same GeneaBlog, same GeneaDiscussion. Let's see how my "Year-Long Aspirations of Good Intentions" worked out.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thoughtful and endearing post!

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken"; you continue to inspire me. More to say, but enough said!

"Guided by the Ancestors"

December 29, 2008 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Bill West said...

Great post, fm! Glad you are keeping this blog going.
The geneablogger community wouldn't be the same without it!

December 29, 2008 at 11:26 PM  
Blogger Becky Wiseman said...

I'm glad you've decided to stick around as footnoteMaven "on" footnoteMaven ;-)

Shades is nice but without the footnoteMaven blog would you really be the footnoteMaven?

By the way, I've only been blogging two months longer than you... it jsut seems longer ;^) though.

December 30, 2008 at 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


When I got to the part where you talk about shutting down, I gasped, "Say it ain't so, fM!" But I read on before ranting in your comment section. I'm so happy ALL of your blogs are staying with us. I can't wait to see what you write about in 2009!


December 30, 2008 at 7:53 AM  
Blogger Craig Manson said...

"It's all been said, but not everybody's said it!" So I offer my thanks to you for not only an inspirational post, but an inspirational year!

December 30, 2008 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

I can't believe that I didn't comment on your Carnegie Hall post! Your writing here at footnoteMaven has always been an inspriration for me. I may have been blogging longer but certainly not better. Your friendship has meant a lot to me, I'm the one who often feels like she's in over her head!

It sounds like you still have a very full plate but I'm looking forward to more of the pieces you write from the heart. There has been an explosion of good new blogs this year and I think we could all break out of our readers a little more often.

December 30, 2008 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Jasia said...

You've made my day, fM! I'm sooo glad you've decided not to retire the footnoteMaven blog. It is still my favorite. You are such a terrific writer. Your heart and soul really shine in your writing. I always delight in reading your posts!

And I am making a New Year's resolution to include your wonderful COG posters in all future editions of the COG. I should have done it long ago but sometimes I get stuck with doing things "the old way".

I'm so glad you took a chance and submitted an article to the COG way back when. I can't imagine the Genea-Blogger group without you. I will always be your number one fan.

Your BFF,


December 30, 2008 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Greta Koehl said...

Add me to the crowd cheering and saying "whew!" in relief that fM the blog will continue. It has only been a few weeks that I have been seriously following genealogy blogs, and I enjoy this one hugely.

I agree with you on the blog readers; I have tried a couple of readers and do not care for them much. What I find myself doing is going to my own blog and then clicking on the links under Blogs I Follow one after the other to keep up with the latest (of course, this works best if one makes sure to add the links to all the blogs that one is interested in following, and I have fallen behind on that lately).

From one of the newbies to whom you have given such kind encouragement,


December 30, 2008 at 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness fM won't be retiring anytime soon. If "pay it forward" is the Genea-Bloggers' motto, you are living the life. I dare to write because you let me know that someone (YOU and more) were reading. Thank you, and good luck with those Aspirations, Denise L

December 30, 2008 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Thank you, there is only one George Geder and I am very fond of him.



Thank you, old friends are the best!



Two months is ancient on the web, and I read you from the beginning.


Oh Donner, the things I have planned!



I couldn't have done it without you. You are the best! Thanks.



I love your work, your attention to detail and your perseverance. I'd like to be more like you.



It is a mutual admiration society. You took a chance on me and encouraged my work at every turn. So many GeneaBloggers owe their online existence to you.

I would be so honored if you use the posters; they have always been for love and nothing more BFF.



Thank you! You are a great GeneaDetective and I so look forward to reading your work this year.



Thank you. You have the gift, I just recognized it.


December 31, 2008 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger GenealogySleuth said...

Are you sure there is life away from the computer and genealogy?

December 31, 2008 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


There is a legend of a genealogist stepping back, opening the door and entering the magical world of the "real people."

Probably just a myth!


December 31, 2008 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger JoLyn said...

Thanks footnoteMaven, for giving me the courage and confidence to become actively involved in the genealogy blogging community. Your kind words have helped me get started, and it's so nice to hear your story.

January 1, 2009 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Those who can't - appreciate. I know talent when I see it. You have talent!

Thanks for the kind words, I looked forward to bumping into you in the coming year.


January 1, 2009 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger Sheri Fenley said...

fM Baby!

I had seriously considered toning down my blog and writing a couple of notches. I wasn't sure I was going to be comfortable with that. After reading your words of wisdom, I think that I shall (instead) crank it up a few notches.

Here's to a groovy New Year!

January 3, 2009 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Back at you!

You were one of those I was referring to when I said "wicked sense of humor." You have set yourself apart. Don't turn back now.


January 3, 2009 at 11:09 PM  

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