A thousand thank you’s


As any parent will tell you; milestones matter. So I was really quite chuffed to see this message yesterday.

1000 likesWhen 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 workedΒ  – 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.

















21 thoughts on “A thousand thank you’s

  1. Brilliant, Su. Searching for family roots can be a lonely pursuit, so I’m sure a lot of other searchers have gained inspiration from you, and vice versa. What a wonder is the web. One day we’ll be able to show how we’re all related to each other – all in one big mind boggling tree.

    • Thanks Tish. You’re right about the web whanau providing inspiration; I feel quite connected to the people whose stories I am sharing in, and have lost count of the number of times I’ve read a post and gone “… doh, why didn’t I think of doing that in relation to Great Uncle whatsisname?” πŸ™‚

  2. Su, I am not at all surprised you have so many followers. Your blog is fascinating and I learn so much from reading it. I have learned a lot just by reading this one today! You motivate and inspire me to try and find the time to work on my own blog which has been pushed aside because of other commitments – like work. Congratulations and I look forward to seeing you with 2000 likes!!! ps when do you leave for Scotland?

    • Oh Lynn; thank you so much. I am so inspired by other bloggers and humbled by how much people are willing to share of themselves and their skills and passions. Off to the UK on 9th September; a few days in London with my new nephew, a few more with my mum and then off to Scotland for R&R (research and recording). πŸ™‚

  3. I absolutely love this post and the way you’ve expressed what your objectives are and what motivates you with family history. Context is all, and knowing how other’s lives affect/parallel those of our ancestors (and our own) enlightens us as people as well as family historians.

    Congratulations on all those “likes”. I feel privileged to be part of your whanau…had to google that one…and now feel even more honoured.

    • Thank you. I realized afterwards I hadn’t defined whanau – probably because I use it so often! Yours is the first blog I followed, and has been really inspirational and influential in how mine has developed. I had no idea when I began this exercise how important it would become to me, and I certainly didn’t realise how many wonderful, talented people I’d “meet.” Thanks again.

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