As any parent will tell you; milestones matter. So I was really quite chuffed to see this message yesterday.
When I started blogging, I really wasn’t sure what I was doing – either technically or editorially. I just knew that I wanted a place to collect together information about my family’s life and history.
I think I’m still only scratching the surface technically, but I do feel that over time I am becoming clearer that Shaking the Tree is my place to tell family stories – mainly historical stories, but also those that will become history.
Context is all-important to me. As I read census returns and marriage certificates I find myself rushing off to look at maps; I want to know what my ancestors’ homes were like. Occupational data raises questions about where people worked, what the routine of their workings lives was like, how much they earned, how many hours they worked – and what the output of their labour might have been.
Every now and then I find myself taking byroads into other people’s history – most notably a few months ago when I wrote about the death, in 1886, of 17 year old Emily Keeling on a suburban Auckland street; a victim of domestic violence.
I may be telling these stories for my own benefit, and to preserve them for my family, but I would probably do so with less frequency and much less enthusiasm without you – my readers – who read and comment and often share your own stories with me.
A wonderful, valuable lesson for me in all of this is the importance of my blogging community. I am learning so much from you; history, cultural patterns, research tips and skills and also the knowledge that my family is not unique – that our problems are like your problems; our joys and sorrows are mirrored in the lives of your families and your ancestors. And above all, I’m learning how to tell the stories.
This feels like a very good time to acknowledge and thank some of the wonderful bloggers who form my online “whanau” and whose interest and support and humour and wisdom I value so much.