My A to Z challenge: what’s it all about about?


I am participating in the A to Z 2012 blog challenge throughout April. My theme is a genealogical travelogue or a travel genealogue (I’m not sure which).

This is how I introduce each post, but really, what is it I’ve been trying to achieve? There are, as I say, two strands to my stories: family history and travel. Mostly it’s the former with occasional sprinklings of the latter.

Those who’ve been reading the A to Z posts (well most of my posts) know that I don’t really do short and sweet. I probably could, but it’s not a priority. I want to tell a story, which is why I much prefer the description of family history to genealogy. In this particular challenge I decided I wanted to talk about the places of significance to my family history, wherever they are in the world. I wanted to describe the place, give some sense of its essence (if I can manage it) and explain why it’s important to my family history.

Rather like the 52 weeks of Personal Genealogy and History series, this theme has been an opportunity to bring a collection of writings together which I can leave for my family, so they know the places of importance to our family tree. Obviously I also hope that some elements of the stories will be of interest to my readers, however if that was my only purpose I’d probably only focus on one place for each letter and leave it at that…more likely to be a small meal rather than a buffet.

Some of the elements include more recent family history because it occurred to me that even our children possibly don’t know all the places their paternal grandparents lived and we visited. An unanticipated outcome from the series is a “to do” list for future research.

My intention is to batch this theme with the 52 weeks posts from 2011 and put them in a book. I’ve already done this with Blurb for my general 2010-2011 posts but I wanted to keep the thematic posts separate. Much as I like technology and instant access around the world, at heart I still believe books will survive longer. Maybe I’m wrong, but then I’ll never know, and anyway I’ll have done my best.

As to the travelogue, mostly it’s pure self-indulgence with the excuse that it keeps the story alive, and hopefully my readers entertained. Australians tend to be travellers, but even so we’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel a fair bit. Neither of us was born with a silver spoon in our mouths, rather we decided that travel (and family history) was important enough to prioritise so that we had no regrets. While we have informal bucket lists, that’s as much about going back to places as exploring new ones. Let’s hope there are yet more adventures ahead.

Meanwhile if you enjoy dabbling into these posts and reading a little about the people and places, I’m pleased. I really feel my readers are part of a community to which I’m proud to belong. I thoroughly enjoy getting your insight and comments. Thank you!.

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12 thoughts on “My A to Z challenge: what’s it all about about?

  1. I am really enjoying reading about your travels and adventures and think it was a great theme for the A-Z Challenge.Like you I had the idea of producing into a book. I am putting mine with last years A-Z challenge and on looking back on my posts I can see how I have developed as a blogger! I am also going to produce into a book this years A-Z challenge and leave it in Australia with my cousin’s children.

    • “great minds” and all that re putting it into book form. it’s a great idea to leave a copy in Oz. I’m sure itbwill be greatly appreciated. Nearly at the half way mark.

  2. You two are inspiring and I plan to do the challenge next year. Right now I guess I’m doing my own 1940 USA census round up of my family for a series. I do like a series, makes it easier for me to focus.

    • Kirsten, the jury is out inspiring or obsessive,(grin). I’ve only got one family link in the US 1940 census,& I need to sit with a large supply of refreshments & search. Otherwise, I need to extra the data for my two one name studies.

      • Julie and Kirsten, I’m going with obsessive myself . I’m glad that any links into the US are “cold” so I can get on with the rest of my stuff. It’s given me a chance to catch up.

    • Like I said above Kirsten, speaking for myself I reckon it’s obsession but happy for you think we’re inspring . Happy hunting with the 1940 census.

      • 1940 seems so close to me. I know a lot of the addresses and it turns out much of my father’s family lives in the same or neighboring enumeration districts. I wouldn’t stress about finding any distant relative. It’ll be indexed before you know it.

      • It seems close to me too, but I suspect it’s a clue that I’m getting older;-) I have my 2xgreat grandfather’s brother who may have gone to New York in the 1860s. When I get down to the nuts and bolts of researching him I may yet end up in 1940 USA but like you say hopefully it will all be indexed by then.

  3. I always enjoy your posts – and Julie’s – and I’m glad there’s room in family history/genealogy for story-telling as well as hard facts.It’s a big subject and we all find our niches. It was the story element that hooked me on my own journey into my family’s past. But these stories have to be based on fact, otherwise they stray into myth…

    • Thanks Rebelhand. I agree it’s the personalisation of their history that makes family history appealing for me hence why I choose FH rather than genealogy which I always think of as bio data. Also agreed we need to stick to facts unless we’re adding an anecdote or possible hypothesis in which case that needs to be clearly stated as such.

  4. I think you have met your objective admirably in telling your family history through the significance of places. Your titles are captivating and, like me, you like alliteration! I have partricularly enjoyed your accounts of your visit to Scotland to areas I know well.

    • Thanks Susan, I’ve enjoyed writing this series which I hope to print off for my family. Scotland has a place in my heart so glad you’ve enjoyed the stories. Hope the packing is going well.

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