Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year in Review - Five Top Five

When I was writing my Christmas cards, I struggled to find anything interesting to jot down in a note to friends whom we see so seldom, if at all. My personal life has been rather routine – husband is still working, I’m still playing, no major health issues to explain THANK GOODNESS, no deaths to report AGAIN THANK GOODNESS, no changes in the family. 

But as I look back on my blogging life, this year has been very busy and very productive. Here are my top 5 winners in 5 categories: 

Top 5 Blog Posts
The top 5 are all Sepia Saturday posts which typically generate my largest number of visitors and comments since there’s an implied obligation to visit the other participants. 
223 views            Public Humiliation
233 views            A Cure for What Ails Ya
260 views            Cooling Her Heels
268 views            Maper Session
295 views            The Runaway

(Out of curiosity, I looked at NON-Sepia Saturday posts to see what readers found interesting.  The 52 Ancestors meme took top honors along with one non-meme post.)

Top 5 Personal Connections
  1. Leta LeVow’s son found my blog, emailed me, and then called me.  Although I am sure I was more excited than he was, he and his children were VERY excited to see his mother’s photos and stories featured so often.  They were also very eager to tell THEIR stories about her. 
  2. My Grandma’s ex-boyfriend’s nephew found my blog and emailed me.  He and I have the same photo of William Novash.  How random was that??
  3. I found descendants of my great-grandmother’s sisters on Facebook.  My New York cousins were friendly enough in the beginning but have ignored my attempts to get photos or information.  Still I’m proud of my sleuthing that led to our brief connection.  Maybe one of these days they’ll open up.
  4. Nancy, a friend from college, found my post where she was featured and emailed me.  She called and we talked and laughed for over an hour.  That was so much fun.
  5. I met fellow bloggers Colleen Pasquale and Cheri Passey at the National Genealogical Society Conference held in Richmond this past May.  (And if I hadn’t been so shy, I would have met Michelle Ganus Taggart too!)

Top 5 Genealogy-Related Activities
  1. Being asked to join the “May I Introduce To You” Team at GeneaBloggers
  2. Indexing/transcribing for Greene County, VA Historical Society
  3. Indexing – World Wide Indexing Event
  4. NGS Conference
  5. Research trip to Rockingham and Rockbridge counties

Top 5 Discoveries
  1. Anne Elizabeth Breeden Jollett – Using the Freedman’s Bureau records at FamilySearch, I found Anne and her children in Shenandoah County, Virginia.  Previously I couldn’t find her after 1860.  Her presence in Shenandoah County confirms part of the story about her son William Jollett (aka William Boyd).
  2. William Pendleton Herndon – A pension application revealed the story of how Pension Agents scammed him out of money he was due for service during the Revolutionary War.
  3. Mary Jollett Forrester – Her name had been in my files for a very long time but with no further information.  In the most unusual bit of serendipity, my friend was contacted through Ancestry by a descendant of Mary Jollett Forrester who is distantly related to my friend through their Walker line.  My friend then relayed her information to me, which then led to my discovering what became of Mary Jollett Forrester.  I suspect she was a sister to my James Jollett based on the fact that both claimed a mother named Mary.
  4. Finding the sale of Leonard Davis’s land by Mitchell Davis, his siblings, and their mother might be just the document to seal the deal on my application to the DAR.
  5. Simeon Jollett/Jolley – What became of Simeon and Nancy Glass Jollett after they married in 1822 and witnessed a few marriages and land transactions was a mystery until I decided to look for him as “Jolly” and “Jolley.”  Suddenly, there they were in Ohio. 

Top 5 Best Money Spent
  1. Ancestry
  2. Genealogy Bank
  3. Fold3
  4. Backblaze
  5. Professional genealogist in Florida to work on my Slade line

It’ll be tough to top all this in 2015.  New Year – bring it on!

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Wendy, love all your Top Fives and I am honored to be on your list! Meeting you & Cheri was certainly a high point of my genealogy year! You had a great 2014 & I;m sure 2015 will be equal to it. Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks, Colleen -- and meeting a blogging colleague really tops the list.

  2. High Five to you Wendy! A great year of blogging and family history. I really like the idea of 'Top 5 Personal Connections'...I have had some, too, and need to document them. Thanks for that idea. I missed your 'May I Introduce You' on GeneaBloggers...as it turns out you were two months(Dec) after my interview in October 2011. LOL...who knew we would meet just 4 months later in April's 2012 AtoZ Challenge...both writing about Genealogy! LOVE IT!!!
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

    1. I KNOW! I have 3 devoted followers since that April 2012 -- that's so cool. I feel like you and I wouldn't skip a beat if we were to meet.

  3. Looks like a very productive year for you. You are fun and inspiring to follow. I can't wait to see what you come up with for the coming year. too wish I had overcome my shyness long enough to meet up with you at NGS. So glad we have the opportunity to work together on the May I Introduce To You team at Geneabloggers though.

    1. Hmm, I have ideas but you know this office has got to come together first or it never will. I too am grateful for our MIITY connection.

  4. Happy New Year, Wendy. I hope 2015 will be just as successful for you - it has a lot to live up to!.

  5. I follow a few genealogy blogs and yours is my favourite one to read! Happy New Year!

  6. What great markers for this last year! How pleased you must be. And now I think I'll go post about the number of re-connections to cousins, as well as a couple that are so far removed I can't figure out how to count our relationships! Keep up the great genealogy blogging!

    1. Thank goodness for genealogy programs that can calculate those relationships! Love to meet new cousins.

  7. Happy New Year, Wendy! Yours is definitely the blog I'd vote for, for most interesting Top Five lists for 2014. Here's to another rollicking year, my friend!

  8. I love this post - such a great way to put everything together. I found my mother's half sister on facebook a few years ago. The two of them were never close and had only met each other once and my "aunt" seemed really excited to connect when I first contacted her. But like your New York cousins, all of a sudden she clammed up and wouldn't even respond to me. I asked her once for a picture, any picture, of her father (my grandfather) and even told her how much I mother would like to see a picture. Nothing. And one last time I wrote to her to tell her that her sister had died and she couldn't even be bothered with a quick "I'm sorry, thanks for letting me know". I have no idea what happened and I just need to let it go :-(

    1. Now that's really cold. I can't begin to understand how someone can separate herself completely like that.

  9. I'm a bit late, but Happy New Year Wendy! Great breakdown of your blogging/family history accomplishments for 2014.