16 November 2012

Follow Friday: Elizabeth's Blog Inspires Me, and the reasons why

I haven't begun to intensively share my family history research, but when I do, I want to do it in a similar fashion as Elizabeth from the blog From Maine to Kentucky. I have been following Elizabeth's blog for sometime now. I have no relation to her, but I wish I did. She writes in such away that wishes we were collaborating on the same family lines.

Header for From Maine to Kentucky

I could just post that and be done with it. For me, that doesn't tell you exactly why I like Elizabeth's blog so much. So, I'm going to list some of my favorite blog posts from her page. Hopefully you'll quickly see why she inspires me so much.

Matrilineal Monday ~ Sarah Lowell 

In this post, Elizabeth discusses what she knows about great great grandmother Sarah Lowell. I like how she gives you the details, and why it is correct. I also like when she inserts what she doesn't know or hasn't found. For example, in the first paragraph she says:
"I have not been able to find her widowed mother, Sarah (Smith) Lowell in the 1840 Federal Census, though I just found her in the 1850 Federal Census, mis-indexed as Sarah Lowde."
 It's simple, yet very effective. She tells you who Sarah's mother is, what research is missing, and how to find Sarah's mother, all in one sentence. That's amazing.

Throughout out this post, she includes other information about Sarah that one would find on a family group sheet with 'documentation citations'. However, the way she takes this information 'off the chart' and makes it easily readable is great. I like how she uses a combination of short and long paragraphs, as well as simple lists. She inserts close-ups of the Census and obituatry files, without including 'too much' information. And her citations are brief and too the point.

She wraps up the post with a quick relationship chart. It's not fancy, but it gets the point across.

As you see the remaining posts I share, you'll see the same elements repeated again and again.

Sunday's Obituary ~ Arville Chapin Adsit

In this post, Elizabeth shares the obituary of Arville Chapin Adsit. She has a large enough photo to read the image but also includes a transcription of the obituary. I like how she placed the source as a lead in to the actual obituary image. I would have placed the information under the photo as a caption. However, this simple element, looks a lot better. It's amazing what a small thing like source placement can do for a reader. To me, the source became important and not visually distracting, and therefore, overlooked.

The other reason why I liked this post, is because it links back to previous posts about Mr. Adsit. I have a tendency to put all the facts and documents together in one post. I see now that by separating the information, she breaks up the flow of information. In essence, she gives more weight to the obituary, rather than loosing it in a sea of factual information. (Perhaps there are ulterior motives to breaking things up. I don't know. But I like things broken up)

For another example of 'breaking up' the information in a simple, but powerful way, visit: An 1873 Wedding Invitation ~ Wedding Wednesday

Error in 1940 Census ~ No Charles Pyle 

 I remember the excitement of having the 1940 US Census released. People couldn't wait to find their ancestors. They found the enumeration district and anxiously waited for the images to be online. Perhaps I'm lazy, I didn't want to go through all of that effort. (It could also be that I have five active young children.) So, I waited for the Census to be indexed and found my relatives later. In any case, many people posted about their discoveries and how excited they were. Elizabeth posted about her disappointment. 

She discussed item, by item, all the errors she found and why she knew them to be errors. And there were a lot of errors. I loved when she wrote, "I wasn't expecting any major revelations in this census record, but I certainly wasn't expecting as many errors as I found."

I felt her disappointment and perplexity about the whole find. Her post walked me through the experience and I felt like it was my family, my find, and my disappointment. Elizabeth rarely gets grandiose in her writing. She's direct and effective. Yet, the emotions spoke volumes in this post of few words.

Mystery Monday ~ Susan Rood's Parents 

True to Elizabeth's overall style, she shares information about the brickwall known as Susan Rood's parents. She briefly layouts why she's having trouble in her research and a new question to evaluate. I could use her post as a guide to share my own brick wall problems.

Amanuensis Monday ~ 1891 Death Certificate for Mary E. Ashby

I think thus far, this is my favorite post for information. Elizabeth keeps her simple, direct presentation of facts in this post. She shares the death certificate and it's transcription. She presents her relation to Mary Ashby where she found the record. It's a different presentation style than the obit of Mr. Adsit, but nonetheless effective. 

What I like about this post is that Elizabeth goes beyond the names and dates, that I do far too often. She looked in the city directory to find the listing for attending physician and the undertaker company. I would NEVER have thought about finding this information without this post. Elizabeth is a curious cat and has often answered many of my "Who Is" questions on Tombstone Tuesday. I wasn't surprised to see that she went beyond the traditional... 'find your family's information on the death certificate' to finding more about everyone listed on the death certificate, including the undertaker!


I could seriously link to more posts and share why I so enjoy Elizabeth's blog. She'll probably be shocked to know just how much her blog and writing style has impressed me. She's shown me how to be curious and concise. She's presented simple, yet effective ways to share what we know about our ancestors. She's included the citations in a direct, yet not annoying, manner. As I start writing and sharing more about the documentation and brick walls I have, I hope to follow Elizabeth's example as I do. I know I'll have a tendency to be 'long-winded,' as that is my natural state. However, with From Maine to Kentucky showing me that less can be more, I will find a good balance. 

Thank you Elizabeth for all you do for your family history and to inspire me as well.

2 comments:

  1. Devon, thank you so much for your very nice post about my blog!

    A couple of comments - I break things up because I don't like reading really long blog posts and I figure many of my readers may not like reading long blog posts. And I "rarely get grandiose" in my writing because it's simply not my style - I don't think I could "get grandiose" if I tried!

    Thanks for the complements - I am truly flattered!
    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elizabeth,

      I knew this would be unexpected. I've started writing family blog posts, but I still need to edit them. I've referred to several of your posts because I do like your style. I just hope I don't bore people with how much detail I give. ;)

      Devon

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