As far as this past week, I reached a bittersweet landmark. My Jabezes of the surname Burns is complete. My "Book" of Burns is fat with census reports, pictures, copies of old documents. And in a way, only my eldest daughter really understands, each family is separated by their own tabs, and all the relevant information encased in plastic protector sheets --- and in deference to her organizational skills, there is a bit of color coding. I also have some historical reference info tucked in at appropriate places --- i.e., writings on the Chartists, Peterloo Massacre, Corn Laws, Poor Laws,and Temperance movement; maps of the Five Points area of NYC, maps of London and Lancashire; a few short biographical pieces on folks that interested me along the way.
Now the sad question to be answered: Who cares? I have inundated the cyberspace with the names of my Jabez Burns folks, hoping for someone of that family of Jabezes to contact me. To date, I have not heard from those Jabez Burns descendants who says, "Hey, I was looking for you, my cousin (or something)and I have tons of stories and pictures to share.!"
I have had a few queries of tangential relatives, but none that have had my passion and my peculiar obsessive-compulsive tendencies in this area --- so I keep waiting, with my fat Book of Burns, waiting to share --- or someday to toss aside with it's hours and hours of research, reams of paper, and way to many plastic protector sheets.
As far as the first half of 2012, I have consistently plugged away at the Ranch Years stories. I even shared my entire folder of stories of that era with my eldest --- and she even sat down and read the whole thing. Always a good way to please a mother with latent writing tendencies. By autumn, the Ranch Years should be my major project ---and I believe I know where the story is going -- and I have my old friend as a secret weapon to keep my writing as clean as possible.
The last big project, outside of blogging, is the completion of the Uncle Ralph's Letters, which has been hanging around way too long. I have unearthed the box in which I stashed it before Christmas; and now is it's time. I am dialing back the project to a manageable effort. It is what it is, the transcription and publication of the letters of my dear Uncle to his sisters. It is not the entire compendium and history of my McPherson family.
Lastly, blogging -- which keeps me focused and yet unfocused -- which is par for the course of my life. Plans for blogging include, completion of the Story of My Jabezes; then from my grandfather Jabez Burns McPherson, I'll segue into short biographies of his children -- my dear father, aunts and uncles. I'm thinking that will make a nice little Blurb Book -- and doable.
I also want to be a more active participant in the COG (I had a great idea for the swimsuit edition, but just dinna get around to it. Also, I have been greatly impressed with geneablogger friends who have participated in challenges and series. And then there is my dear blogger friend from "Reflections from the Fence" who has such great times reading great stories from old newspapers --- whoa, wait a minute, this plate of mine is getting way too full -- but then that's the way I like it. Life overflowing.
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© Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications