Thursday, March 24, 2022

Where To From Here?

 


Yes, it's been nearly two years since I've blogged.

Yes, I feel incredibly guilty about it. After all, I was raised Catholic. Guilt has always been an unpleasant motivator in my life. And yes, I am giving a lecture this weekend on the power of blogging for your genealogical research. So now in addition to guilt, I feel like a fraud.

So here I am.

For those of you familiar with this blog, it began as a story regarding the confirmation of my mother's identity and the search for my maternal grandfather. If you are newly stumbling upon this, the story begins at Hoosier Daddy?: Beginnings. It is a narrative, so you need to start at the oldest post and move forward in time. Although the story began several years ago, it is still a story that will resonate with many. The entries may be older, but the story is timeless.

Did I finish the story? No. Since I was writing about my search in real-time, just like the rest of you I had no idea how the story ended. Sadly, it did so in a horrible way that even I couldn't have anticipated. As it unfolded, there was no dispassionate way I could write about it. Seven years have since elapsed. 

SEVEN! 

I have toyed with the idea of picking up the story again, but after so much time who is even interested anymore? When I started writing, the idea of DNA surprises and unexpected results was novel and shocking. Now it's so passé that human interest articles pop up nearly daily of someone switched at birth, someone finding a long-lost relative, or someone finding their unknowing daddy — all with the power of DNA testing. Crimes are being solved and the bodies of Jane/John Does are being identified regularly. How is my story even unique anymore?

I was approached by a publisher to finish the story in book form. That was tossed around for a while, which put off blogging about it even further. That idea has been abandoned. So do I pick up where I left off? 

Readers will also see that my more recent posts have been devoted to genealogy as it pertains to current events. I enjoy writing, and if I feel passionate about something, I like to put it into words. That is always an option.

I also love genealogy. I love teaching. I love researching. I love sharing my knowledge. Do I write about helpful databases, research stories, new publications, or current events in genealogy I find exciting? Aren't there enough genealogy bloggers that do that?

Do I write about my own ancestors? God knows I have my share of murderers, criminals, social outcasts, and shysters in my family tree to write about until the day I die. And frankly, I always bemoan how organized and documented my client research is compared to my own. Perhaps this would motivate me to practice what I preach — write as you research.

Do I write about my own life? Through the years you have gotten snippets of my past, and although baring my soul to the world was never my motivation or intention in blogging, it resonated with a lot of readers. Those blogs generated the most sincere, meaningful responses that really touched my heart and soul.

I have been lecturing professionally now for nearly twenty years (Lord, how did I get so old so fast?). Many of you have heard me speak. Many of you have read my blog. Maybe some of you are new to all of this and just have an interest in genealogy or story-telling or DNA testing. So I am asking you, dear reader, what do you want to read? What can I do to enrich your day with snippets of the garbage sloshing about in my head? How can this be different than every other genealogy blog out there?

Feel free to leave your comments below. Of course, if you are going to try to sell me herbal supplements, erectile dysfunction remedies, or exciting job opportunities, I will assume you really aren't interested in my well-being and will be deleted. (wink)

Use me. I am all yours.


46 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you are back! For a long time now I've wondered what became of you and of your story. Maybe you can't tell us how that story ended now but someday I'd like to hear it. In the meantime, I'll bet you've got plenty of other ancestors you could tell us about. On the other hand, if you think not, then maybe you'd like to write about my ancestors. They all have great stories but unfortunately for them, they got stuck with a descendant who is the queen of procrastinators....

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  2. Plenty of us are interested in what happened with your story. I've often wondered

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  3. Plenty of us are interested in what happened with your story. I've often wondered

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  4. michael, you are such an excellent teacher and writer that I would read whatever you wanted to write about. I would like to hear "the rest of the story," but I also love hearing the tales of your ancestors as you research them. It inspires the rest of us to do the same. I'm not as interested in resources except how they were utilized to create the story. As you say, lots of people write about that, but only you can write about your ancestors. That's why I'm trying to shift gears and reprioritize my life. It sounds like a good thing that you got back to a regular job because then you can spend your free time doing what you want.

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  5. I was an eager follower of your blog. As I recall it more-or-less ended with an unexpected death. You will have had time to recover from that shock by now, I expect. Could you recap the story as it stood just before that event, recount what happened at that time and then bring your story up-to-date, both your family story and your life.

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  6. Welcome back! I found all your writings very interesting.

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  7. I came across your blog 4 years ago or so after a genealogy seminar mentioned it. I started at the beginning and was hooked! Disappointed that the story wasn't finished, I checked back periodically to see if there were any new posts. I checked in 2020 and saw one new post but no continuing story. Today I just happened to check again ... on the very day of a new entry ... but still no conclusion to the story. While I appreciate genealogy-related insights, recommendations, and related material, I love people stories. So I'm hanging on ... waiting ...

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  8. Welcome back, Michael. I will be happy to see where go from here.

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  9. I'm a procrastinator too. I have followed "Hoosier Daddy?" from the beginning and I would love to hear the "rest of the story".

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  10. "So do I pick up where I left off?" YES! I am sure I am not the only one patiently waiting for the rest of the story. Your writing style is very compelling. Pleas continue. Thank you.

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  11. Glad you're back! Would love to hear the rest of the story....when you are ready!

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  12. Please DO continue your story!

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  13. I found your blog sometime towards the end of your updates and was absolutely rivited. I checked back many times to see if there was any resolution. I understand too well how things can suddenly become chaotic, or too delicate, or personal. It not a bad thing to take a step back, and personal blog should never feel like an obligation.
    That being said, I'm sure I'm not your only audience who wonders how things continued for your family. Perhaps a summary of events to wrap it up? Then you can start fresh following whatever inspires you. Whatever comes next, I appreciate thr journey you've shared with us, and am glad to see you back.

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  14. I admire all of your work, since I've had several opportunities to listen to your talks and, of course, read this blog. I even asked you in person at GRIP a few years ago if you would share how this story turned out. You said you hoped to do that one day. I'm still anticipating "the rest of the story" even though I know it ended in tragedy. So glad to see you online. I would be happy to read most anything you write about your interesting cast of ancestors.

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  15. Michael, welcome back. I too wondered, fairly recently, about your whereabouts. Was my email address deleted by mistake? Glad it wasn't.
    As for the guilt thing: being catholic has nothing to do with it. I can share that being Jewish has its own bag of issues.
    Please soldier on and share with us. We are all ears & eyes ;-)

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  16. Please pick up where you left off, then on to writing about other subjects. We'll be more than interested to read anything you write!

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  17. Michael I am in New Zealand and have followed your journey the ups and downs with great interest. I can relate to what you have written. Please keep blogging no matter what the subject.
    David

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  18. Perhaps someday you will feel like giving us "the end of the story." If so, we will enjoy it; if not, we can chalk it up to "families can be really strange" and go forward the best we can. As long as you are comfortable with what you share, that will be fine also. DNA can really throw us for some loops. I think emotional reactions are not as common as they were 7 years ago. Any way you look at it, DNA does NOT lie.

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  19. I thoroughly enjoyed your earlier blog. And, am confident I will enjoy whatever you decide to share with your readers. And it would be nice to tell us how things played out in your mom's linage for starters. I am also enjoying DNA findings. I enlisted first cousins on both sides of my families to DNA test, as well as descendants from some specific recent ancestors that were a mystery to me. And, wow, has that been a shocker. All we thought we knew was just bunkum. Am sure your work inspired my work to discover the father of this particular recent ancestor. So thanks!

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  20. I was SO EXCITED to see a new blog post from you! I sincerely hope that things are going MUCH better for you than they were back in 2015-2016. I have often wondered how you are doing after the seemingly endless series of tragedies you endured. To answer your questions:

    "I have toyed with the idea of picking up the story again, but after so much time who is even interested anymore?" WE ARE!!!

    "How is my story even unique anymore?" You are an AMAZING storyteller, and you have left us all hanging on the edge of our seats since you penned the line "Harold James 'Brighton' Daugherty died, on 25 March 2015, at the hands of the daughter he never knew existed." When you are ready to share, I would love to hear how your family's story played out. I have no doubt that you would do a masterful job of telling the tale.

    "So do I pick up where I left off?" YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! We have been waiting seven years to hear the end of the story!

    Welcome back! No matter what you choose to write about, it is really good to hear from you again!

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  21. I too was happy to see you posting again! I would like to know the "rest of the story" but if it's still too much to write about I'll have to wait. I'd be interested in anything you have to offer in genealogy hints, stories, DNA, etc. I have a heavily Irish family with many brick walls to explore so any distractions are appreciated. Keep blogging please!

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  22. I'd love to hear the rest of the Hoosier Daddy story but understand if you're not able to do that. So tell us about your other ancestors. You have a gift for writing that I enjoy and envy. Don't stop now.

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  23. I have enjoyed your family story immensely and hope that you will tell us the end of the story(sounds like Paul Harvey). Seriously, I love your blog and hope that you will continue.

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  24. It will be captivating whatever you end up deciding to write about. You have a unique writing style that I enjoy immensely. So glad you're back!!

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  25. I still check every so often to see if there's a further installment in your family's adventures. I would definitely be keen to read it when you are ready to write about it. (And I hear ya on finding it hard to squeeze the blog into life... I'm terrible with mine!!)

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  26. Also so glad you are back. Frankly write about whatever you want to write about. I will probably read it anyway. Loved the Hoosier Daddy, but I guess I like your style, so whatever you are currently researching or thinking about is fine. Hope to get to see you live in the future.
    Thanks

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  27. If you are willing to share the details, I know most of us who followed your story would be interested in knowing the details. You are not a fraud, but you're human. I'm so sorry that things didn't turn out better. If enough time has elapsed and you feel you can do it, sharing the "rest of the story" might help someone else who is struggling with a less than perfect ending, and for those who have followed your story, it will give us a chance to learn what happened. BTW, Yahoo mail is slow and this just arrived in my mailbox on the afternoon of 3/26/

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  28. If you are able, please finish the Hoosier Daddy story. Many of us have waited a very long time. Thank you!

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  29. I have been waiting to hear the end of your story, and would still love to hear it, if you’re willing to share!

    Your blog changed the way I research my own genealogy. After reading your stories, I tried writing stories about my own ancestors and my research became 1000% more interesting. I think we’d love to read more of your stories!

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  30. For what it's worth...

    Michael,
    You are genetically wired to skip town when the going gets tough.  With all the generations of men in your family who left behind disappointed loved ones and committments, that has to be an overwhelming urge.  Just walk away and don't finish the story.

    With the heartwrenching losses you've had over the past few years and the horrible burden of recording each loss and trying to get your life back into order, it is totally understandable that you would want to take things easy and just walk away.

    Fork in the road moment...

    I may be totally wrong, but when I look at all the work you did and the success you had finding a very small needle in a very large haystack, I feel sad at the thought of you just abandoning all that effort.  How do you know that great success and future reward isn't just around the corner?

    A large group of people have hung onto your every written word, checking back for the next installment.  Think how many more people could be reached if you wrote a book, documenting the large amount
    of info you said you have.

    "This is the rest of the story..." Paul Harvey always said; and he had people on the edge of their seats, wanting to know the story's end.

    You've created the same suspense with your
    loyal readers.  It should be fairly easy to complete your book.

    I have a mental picture of you as an ollllld man, reviewing your life and all the difficult things at which you succeeded, such as veterinary school. It would be very sad if that ollllld man was full of regret that he didn't finish his story, and missed out.

    I wish for you a clear mind and a fully-functioning reasoning center.  I wish for you to be
    the man who broke the generational curse the previous men in your family forged.  The man who stood tall...

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  31. For what it's worth...

    Michael,
    You are genetically wired to skip town when the going gets tough.  With all the generations of men in your family who left behind disappointed loved ones and committments, that has to be an overwhelming urge.  Just walk away and don't finish the story.

    With the heartwrenching losses you've had over the past few years and the horrible burden of recording each loss and trying to get your life back into order, it is totally understandable that you would want to take things easy and just walk away.

    Fork in the road moment...

    I may be totally wrong, but when I look at all the work you did and the success you had finding a very small needle in a very large haystack, I feel sad at the thought of you just abandoning all that effort.  How do you know that great success and future reward isn't just around the corner?

    A large group of people have hung onto your every written word, checking back for the next installment.  Think how many more people could be reached if you wrote a book, documenting the large amount
    of info you said you have.

    "This is the rest of the story..." Paul Harvey always said; and he had people on the edge of their seats, wanting to know the story's end.

    You've created the same suspense with your
    loyal readers.  It should be fairly easy to complete your book.

    I have a mental picture of you as an ollllld man, reviewing your life and all the difficult things at which you succeeded, such as veterinary school. It would be very sad if that ollllld man was full of regret that he didn't finish his story, and missed out.

    I wish for you a clear mind and a fully-functioning reasoning center.  I wish for you to be
    the man who broke the generational curse the previous men in your family forged.  The man who stood tall...

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  32. I would say finish the story, it would be nice to find out how it ended. Even if it is one last post to summarize the story. I still think about your story once in a while as I am helping adoptees, wondering how it ended. The other option which I think would also be great, is just do a Facebook or Youtube video about your story and how it ended.

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  33. It's good to know you are still out there. All I've gotten for years are spam comments! I would also love to know what happened. After following the blog for so long and learning so much about your research, your family, and your journey, it's sad to not have some closure even if you only give us a general idea of what happened.

    But I get that it may be too painful for you to share, and it's your blog. As a blogger myself, I know you have to do what will work best for you. I have no suggestions, but I will gladly read whatever you decide to write about.

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  34. I would like you to finish your grandfather's story.

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  35. Would like to hear the rest of the story in a way you are comfortable with.Also looking forward to any new writing you do I enjoy your way with words, welcome back!

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  36. Welcome back! I have been waiting seven years for the rest of the story, even reread the whole archive at one point. So, I for one am interested!

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  37. Well, I personally would love to hear how the story ends. I also understand if you don't want to share.

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  38. Michael, it is SO wonderful to see you back!. I have checked this site once a month for many years waiting for the rest of the story. You are an extremely talented writer. When I started reading your blog in 2015 , I couldn't stop reading until I was caught up. Last year I went through and re-read the whole story. I do hope you continue blogging about genealogy.

    You are correct in the fact that now we read about new DNA finds everyday. Most everyone involved in genealogy DNA research knows someone who has found a surprise relative.

    I have always hoped you would be able to finish your story. . After reading the whole blog, then seeing the picture of you, your Mom and Brighton, it appeared to be a happy reunion and prefect ending. I am so sorry it wasn't. Our lives and stories aren't always perfect.

    I do hope you are able to share, in any way you are comfortable with, the rest of the story, then move on and continue to blog about other stories.



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  39. Michael,I was very happy when Hoosier Daddy? popped into my email. I have been waiting patiently! You asked what people would like to read about. Well, for me, I would love for you to finish your story, unless this is too painful for you. Otherwise, your writing is so good that it needs to be out there. I don't think anything is old or boring, just because it has been written about before. You bring your own style to any subject. In genealogy, there is so much information out there, but most people need inspiration,reminders,examples and connections to keep going. You can provide all of this with your writing and speaking. Please keep going!
    Kristy

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  40. I loved reading your story and would love to read the ending if and when you are ready to tell it.

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  41. I'm so happy to see everyone responding and cheering you on. I am also a silent, admiring and captivated reader. You don't owe us anything but we would glady keep reading your story...

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  42. hello from England, yes do please wrap your Hoosier Daddy tale in whatever way feels most appropriate. Then by all means take us on a new journey.

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  43. I guess that I haven’t checked ofor while but I was so thrilled to see anything written in 2022. Yes there are people out here still waiting for the end of the story.

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  44. I have read Hoosier Daddy from the beginning and would love to hear the rest of the story. If it was published, I would buy it immediately. You have a gift for storytelling and are a master of the cliffhanger. Please finish it if you feel up to it. Other than that, any of your family stories are sure to be fascinating. I am an adoptee who found out who her first family was by using the techniques you described in your story. I chose not to meet them. It was enough for me to know so I do understand how personal things might be difficult to write about. But yes, we are interested and we care. There are many stories out there nowadays, but no two stories are alike and probably very few are as well-written as yours. Thank you for all you have shared.

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