I am proud to say that I completed the A to Z April Challenge every year for five consecutive years. On time!
I first discovered A-Z in 2012 through one of the blogs I followed in the Sepia Saturday group. The idea of blogging daily about my family history intrigued me, so I signed up. Since I was already a day late, my first entry was both A and B. The rest is history.
In 2012, my blog was fairly new, and so was I, a blog newbie with no idea how to “blog” about my genealogy research. I credit the A to Z April Challenge (and Sepia Saturday, too) for helping me see how to turn birth records, wills, deeds, marriage dates, and family trees into something readable.
That first year, my A-Z posts were just random stories about people in my database whose first or last names fit the letter of the day. The next year I wrote about women in my database with unusual names. Year three I got creative with “In-Laws and Out-Laws” writing about relatives (in) and friends (out) of my ancestors. Last year my maternal grandparents’ funeral guest books and sympathy cards provided names of people to research and write about. Finally this year I wrote about my childhood, something genealogists always encourage us to do for future generations.
I was inspired by fellow blogger Sue McPeak at Collect In Texas Gal who did this very theme during A-Z 2015. Unfortunately for me, she did it so much better, so right out of the gate I was disappointed in my own efforts. However, as the days moved along, I was more and more pleased with the responses from readers. Reminisce – that’s what our generation does, I suppose. At any rate, my blog felt like a lively conversation.
Frankly, I enjoy the writing side of A-Z, but the reading side has never been as enjoyable. We are not expected to read EVERY blog on the list of over 1000 participants, but we are asked to read at least 5-10 each day. In the past, I was faithful about going to the list and picking out 5 or more to read. I always found something good, something clever and creative, but far too often there were topics of no interest to me (like mythological creatures and science fiction). After day 4, I seemed to stumble repeatedly onto blogs that gave up the challenge. Frustrating.
This year was different. A post about the A-Z Challenge in a genealogy group on Facebook prompted genealogy bloggers to create a list so we could find each other. And so that is the list I read from. This was much more fun for me as a reader. I thank Diane Nolin of Beyond the BMD for getting the list started and for asking the administrators of the A-Z April Challenge to include genealogy and family history as a category next year. If they do, I just might sign on for a sixth year.
© 2016, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.