Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review - Five Top Five

Jollett Etc started 2015 with a bang but slowed to a crawl by the end of summer. Suddenly LIFE took over as we started preparing to welcome the first grandbaby. Blogging definitely took a backseat to washing the soon-to-be-new-momma’s own baby clothes and blankets to pass along, to shopping and attending parties, to fixing up some heirloom baby rockers.

In looking back over the year, I am actually surprised at how much I managed to accomplish. So without further ado, here are the highlights of 2015:

Top 5 Blog Posts

Top 5 Personal Connections

  1. When I was working on a piece about my maternal grandmother’s cousin Blanche Rucker Strole, I found a photo on Ancestry. I contacted the owner for permission to use it. It turns out she is Blanche’s niece, and not only did she give me permission, but also she sent me MORE photos and some stories.
  2. Robert Nair’s granddaughter contacted me after stumbling into my blog from a Google search for information about her grandfather.
  3. I received quite a few thank-you notes and inquiries about the Calhouns, Angus Rucker, Mary Jarrell, the Fraziers, and Mary Jollett Forrester. Planting seeds. Planting seeds.
  4. Sam Towler, a volunteer with Albemarle County, sent me some documents he transcribed and indexed thinking I might be interested in them after he found one of my blogs. The documents are forming my latest “proof” for membership in the DAR.
  5. Jan Hensley is not a new connection; in fact, we’ve collaborated on our Sampson research for several years. Because of our online friendship, she rescued a stove pipe cap from my great-grandfather’s store when it was torn down this year.

Top 5 Genealogy-Related Activities

  1. Remodeling the room over the garage into my “gene cave” which included creating a family wall of old photos and organizing my research into family binders
  2. FINALLY publishing that Jollett book I’ve been planning in my head for years and being able to donate copies to libraries and historical societies in counties where my Jolletts lived
  3. Indexing for Greene County Historical Society
  4. Serving my second year on Thomas MacEntee’s GeneaBloggers MIITY team (we interview other bloggers for the “May I Introduce to You” series)
  5. Membership in several genealogy-related Facebook groups

Top 5 Discoveries

  1. A recent acquisition of an old scrapbook filled with greeting cards revealed that my grandmother’s cousin Sadie Burns was not “Burns” but “Byrnes,” and that her religious name was Sister Vincent Carmel. More cards were signed “Pat and Peggy Byrnes,” giving me another clue to learning more about my dad’s side of the family.
  2. When Ancestry published death certificates for Virginia, I learned that my father’s great-grandmother’s maiden name was Julia Keene.
  3. Comparing some old photos that were obviously taken on the same day, I was able to identify my maternal grandfather’s cousin Ben Davis and his wife Fleeta.
  4. A general search for “Jollett” in Ancestry’s Virginia Death Records uncovered one Julia Booton Kean (1828-1917) whose mother was Mary Jollett from Madison County. I have yet to figure out how this Mary Jollett was related to this new-to-me branch of the Jollett family, but still it is an exciting discovery.
  5. A general search of marriage records in Rockingham County revealed another new-to-me Jollett: Nancy Jollett who married Hiram Gaines/Garnes. So far that is all I have on Nancy although I did find Hiram on Greene County’s Mortality Schedule 1850.

Top 5 Best Money Spent

  1. Newspaper Archive
  2. Genealogybank
  3. Ancestry
  4. Family Tree DNA Family Finder
  5. Commemorative Brick for the sidewalk leading to the NEW headquarters and museum of the Greene County Historical Society

OK 2016, whatcha got?

© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Happy New Year to you, I've been quiet lately - as you say Life takes over a bit! Congratulations on your new grandchild, it's so lovely to have grandchildren.

  2. Wow...what a great year of accomplishments and ancestry history. You definitely 'made history' for your family archives and for this blog. Congratulations on all fronts...especially becoming a Grandmother. As in the years past, thanks so much for being a part of my blogland. Happy New Year...bring on 2016. Once again, I HOPE to get back to my Genealogy Studies. Great review.

  3. This was nice how you laid out this year; really great accomplishments in so many different areas!! 2016 can only be a better one I think!

    I'm impressed you kept baby clothes and such to pass on down :)

    Happy New Year!


  4. I am so proud and so wowed by all the information you have found and continue to find about our family. I am truly amazed. Now, if Momma would just send a signal about the rest of the Jolletts!

    Congratulations on all that you have accomplished!

    Here's to more exciting finds!

    Mary Jollette

  5. Happy New Years!! May 2016 turn up a lost cousin or three!

  6. Sounds like 2015 was a very good year! Congrats on the new grandbaby!! Happy New Year Wendy!! May 2016 be another successful year.

  7. Impressive! Birth of your first grandbaby AND you birthed that book you've been dreaming of! (Not that all those other goals were nothing...)

    Best wishes for another sparkling year!

  8. Looking forward to following your posts in 2016. Congratulations on the birth of your first grandchild.

  9. Wendy, great ideas & posts. Love the idea of a 'gene cave'. Best of luck with your research in 201!

  10. It really has been a great year for you...the adventures with your dad's scrapbook, the books that you have published (I'm green with envy over those!), those super cute rocking chairs and that cute cute grand baby. I can't wait to see what 2016 will bring.

  11. You had a really busy year, Wendy! I'm impressed that you were able to do so much research along with everything else. I hope 2016 is wonderfully successful for you!