Well, 2009 is coming to a close and for me, not soon enough. It has been a mixed year at best. While there have been many exciting family history moments and genealogy 'happy dances,' 2009 has been difficult for Ellen and I as a result of Ellen's health scare that dominated the year.
Like other years, 2009 came in with much hope and promise for prosperity but soon saw Ellen experiencing mobility problems - suddenly losing her ability to walk, even shift herself in bed. Through a series of tests and scans, the problem was diagnosed and resulted with brain surgery in late February.While the prognosis is good and the results were immediate with the return of mobility, recovery from this type of surgery is very slow which curtailed many of the activities and plans we had made. 2010 therefore is a year in which we hope to really make up some of the ground we lost.
2009 wasn't all bad though - I started this blog that has now been read in 18 countries around the world and made incredible gains in my family history pursuits. I've had the chance to make connections with family members - "lost cousins" - whom I had always hoped to one day find. I now have Shand cousins, Gaull cousins, and unbelievably a 'new' Hadden cousin, all connected through the power of sharing information on genealogy sites, most notably Ancestry and Genes Reunited. On Ellen's side, I've made great connections with her Breithaupt, Kimmerly and Faulkner cousins. Through all of the connections, I have been able to collaborate in some problem solving and have seen my family database grow by more than 400%, albeit the growth was greater in Ellen's family than mine! If you are like me, the fun is in the chase, not just the victory so researching Ellen's family has been of great value.
I have also had the good fortune of making connections I never would have previously considered. For example, finding childhood friends of my parents to try and find out what they were really like, not just what they want me to believe they were like when they were young. The best example of this is connecting with John Perkins who along with his brother Ray made up half of the 1950's group, The Crew Cuts and who were both friends of my parents through their childhood and teen years. While we have spoken about the neighbourhood in which they grew up, I'm still waiting for the 'juicy' stories.
2010 will likely bring more connections and I hope, more depth to my family history. Not necessarily depth in generations but rather in an understanding of the full character of my ancestors. Hopefully too, some puzzles will finally be solved - I haven't given up hope of learning a lot more about my great grandfather John Foley. Without a doubt, we'll see more and more records becoming available online as the competition between subscription sites continues. Ancestry, Footnote, and World Vital Records, amongst many will be digitizing previously unavailable records and making them available to a world wide audience. I hope that many of these records are about my ancestors and yours!
Happy New Year! May you have health, prosperity and success in your pursuits in 2010!