Eight Years and Still Going Strong

It has been eight years this month since I started posting articles about my ancestors on this blog. In that time, I have learned a lot, focusing primarily on my direct ancestors and a few of their colourful cousins. Now it is time to reassess and decide where to take the blog in the future.

I have been thinking of abandoning Writing Up the Ancestors altogether and just post on https://genealogyensemble.com, the collaborative blog I share with eight other genealogists/writers. Many of my articles already appear on both blogs. We are each scheduled to post on GE once every nine weeks, and that is about all I have been able to manage lately. In June, I published a history of my father’s family – Reinventing Themselves a History of the Hamilton and Forrester Families (https://store.bouquinbec.ca/reinventing-themselves-a-history-of-the-hamilton-and-forrester-families.html) — and it was impossible to create new content for the blog while also working on the book.

Blogger, the interface on which Writing Up the Ancestors appears, introduced major changes about a year ago, and I was so busy with the book that I didn’t take the time to learn how to use the new version. It was extremely frustrating to see a blog that once was so easy to handle become quite cumbersome, especially when it comes to separating paragraphs. But I will give Blogger a try for a while longer. Meanwhile, my last two posts, both about my headstrong and unflappable world travelling great-great aunt Helen (Bagg) Lewis, appear only on Genealogy Ensemble.

Truth be told, Genealogy Ensemble has a much wider readership than Writing Up the Ancestors, however, people still contact me about various people I have written about on Writing Up the Ancestors. Furthermore, my articles about the Bagg and Clark families appear in footnotes in several recent books about the history of the Montreal neighbourhood where they once lived. Hopefully, my online collection of stories won’t be going anywhere.

Robert Mitcheson, Philadelphia

Now that my father’s family is “done” (although all genealogists know the research is never finished) my attention is turning to my mother’s family, all of them Montrealers since the late 1700s or mid-1800s. Wherever my future posts appear, they will focus on my mother’s side: the Bagg, Mitcheson, Clark, MacGregor, Smithers, Smith, Workman, Mulholland and Shearman families. In the coming months the focus will be on the family of Robert Mitcheson (1779-1859), pictured here.

In the years since I first started my research, many new resources have been digitized, so I’m hoping to make new discoveries, then pull them together into another book.

Meanwhile, before getting started on all that new research, it is time to reorganize. I am putting a lot of stray notes and articles into Evernote in the hopes of being able to find them when I need them, and sorting through the piles of documents related to the Hamiltons and Forresters, giving whatever is of value to an archive and throwing out all the duplicates and references I can easily find again online.

Is this overly optimistic? Perhaps, but winter is coming and the pandemic is not going away anytime soon. I have to do something to keep busy!