Thursday, August 26, 2021

10th Blogiversary

Ten years ago today “Jollett Etc” was born. I had no idea that I would still be blogging ten years later. In fact, at the time, I did not really know what blogging was. I had heard of it, but I had never seen it. My experience with sharing genealogy online had been on Geocities. From September 1998 until 2008, I maintained a website called Jollett Hollar named for the community in Page County, Virginia, where some of my ancestors had lived. There in the “Heartland” neighborhood of Geocities was a database of documents, family charts, and photos about the Jolletts. Back then I even had to do my own HTML coding. My cheat sheet of formatting codes and color codes was always close by.

The opening page looked something
like this but the whole background
was that same blue.

When Geocities closed its doors in 2008, I stopped sharing altogether. I still researched though, and I continued to correspond with distant cousins whom I had met through my website. One cousin suggested that I start a blog where I could continue posting whatever I discovered. A WHAT? Finding blogs to read for ideas on how to do that was not easy. Most of the blogs that I found were about decorating, cooking, crafts, and parenting. I could not see how family charts and copies of deeds and wills could fit in the blogging world.

Then I stumbled into Geneabloggers. It changed my life and my approach to genealogy. The daily prompts like Mystery Monday, Tombstone Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday opened my eyes to what a genealogy blog could be. It gave me freedom. A blog could be spontaneous. It could be just a collection of stories and photos. It could be short or long. It did not have to be a timeline of anyone’s life. It did not have to be a satellite library documenting all things Jollett.

I created an account on Blogspot and named my blog “Jollett Holler.” However, I got frustrated trying to figure how to organize the blog, so I walked away. Months later when I was determined to figure it out, I tried again but had forgotten my password and “Jollett Holler” was already taken. HA – by me – it just didn’t know it was me.  I typed in a new name that popped into my head: Jollett Etc.

What a happy accident that has turned out to be. That little “Etc” allowed for stories about the Sampsons, the Marshes, the Davises, the Slades, the Walshes, the Eppards, the Ruckers, whoever and whatever.

Along the way, blogging challenges and groups inspired some of my best writing and research.

A-Z April Challenge: I participated in this challenge for 5 years. The first year I did not have a theme, but afterwards I had lots of fun with “Unusual Names in the Family,” “Who Came to the Funeral,” “All About Me” and “Family Heirlooms.”

52 Ancestors: I did my first 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks in 2012. I skipped a couple years, but when Amy Johnson Crow introduced themes to the challenge, it became more fun, and more challenging. I do love a challenge. This year marks 7 times participating.

Sepia Saturday: MY FAVORITE! It’s a photo challenge, which is fun in itself. But it’s the people that keep me coming back. I consider it a personal failure when I miss a week.

MIITY: In other words, "May I Introduce to You." What an honor it was to be asked to join the group of 5 bloggers who interviewed other bloggers for a weekly feature on Thomas MacEntee’s Geneabloggers website. We also assisted with the transition to the Geneabloggers Tribe when Thomas decided to end his website to devote his time to his genea-business.

In the blogging world, I’m just a small blogger with a small blog and a small readership. But Jollett Etc has been a big part of my life for 10 years and has done some big things:

  1. I always wanted to write a book about the Jolletts. My vision was for it to be THE story from beginning to end. That was so overwhelming that I never started. Eventually it came to me that all these little stories I had been writing ARE the book. Four family books later . . . .
  2. My blog caught the attention of people who were interested in the photos from scrapbooks compiled by my father and my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring. My sister and I were thrilled to donate Daddy’s scrapbook of his time in the Coast Guard to the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and Velma’s scrapbook to James Madison University.
  3. Of course, the absolute best part of blogging has been connecting with distant cousins who found my blog and left inquiries or messages of thanks. Some shared photos and stories. It has been amazing watching the family tree grow.
  4. I also am grateful to the many blogging friends I have made over the years. Some no longer blog but we stay connected on Facebook. While we have never met in person, I feel like I know some of these friends better than I know my own neighbors.

Thank-you for sticking with me!


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Wishing you a very happy 10th blogiversary ... you have accomplished a lot in your decade of blogging! Sticking with you and looking forward to reading your posts in the coming months and years :)

  2. Congratulations Wendy, well done, I'm still enjoying your posts and look forward to many more.

  3. I LOVE THIS! Maybe it's because it is so "me" - having someone "nudge" me to do it, the first post was so scary, figuring out I could write whatever and whenever I wanted to, 10 years of blogging this past spring. Maybe we were separated at birth? Congratulations - here's to many, many more years of entertaining me. P.S. I might need to get started with Sepia Saturday.

  4. Congratulations on 10 years of great blogging, Wendy! It's requires commitment to keep going and is definitely an accomplishment. I read your posts but (shame on me) don't comment often enough. Here's to another decade of blogging!

  5. Happy anniversary to my favorite sister who is faithful in everything you decide to take on. I have been thrilled and delighted at all the information you have gathered and provided each of us. We are so lucky.

  6. Congratulations and Happy Blogiversary, Wendy! Always look forward to reading your posts . . . Looking forward to many more.