A beginning

I started this blog today.  I’ve been wanting to start it for many months and, in some ways, many years.  But today I started it and I’m facing a somewhat-daunting blank screen, wondering what may lie ahead.  While I have a very active social media and web presence for my work in the entertainment industry (I’m a casting director for theatre and film and own my own company in Manhattan), my genealogical work has generally been as a long-time researcher and observer.  While I read many websites and journals, I’m not usually an active participant – but I have felt that tide changing in recent months and figured it was time to put pen to paper, as it were. 

“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” – David Ogden Stiers

In 2012, I attended two conferences: RootsTech, the “Family History & Technology Conference” in Salt Lake City, and The Genealogy Event, in its inaugural year, right here in New York City.  At both gatherings I became aware that there’s never been a more exciting time to be interested in genealogy and technology.  With billions of records available for free, and billions more being digitized, indexed and accessed every day throughout the world, I’m excited by the times in which we live – and I want to contribute more actively to all related pursuits.

I’ve been inspired by reading a number of excellent blogs along the way.  Some personal favorites have to do with NYC research, including

  • the excellent You Are Where You Came From blog, which really gave me a new way of looking at how blogging can serve a genealogist’s needs, while also serving his or her community.
  • The Bowery Boys (not related to genealogy, per se, but an amazing New York City history podcast series)
  • The Newtown Pentacle, where Mitch Waxman provides amazingly detailed analysis of my area of Western Queens, with frequent posts on Calvary Cemetery and Newtown Creek. 

Other favorite sites tend to focus on genealogy and technology, such as

  • The Ancestry Insider – terrific “insider” analysis of the latest genealogical technology industry news.
  • the Family Search Blog, providing regular updates on the incredible work being done by Family Search
  • and, of course, Dick Eastman’s invaluable Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.  I look forward to it every morning, and have been subscribed to the “Plus Edition” for many years, for the best in genealogical news.

All of these have contributed immensely to my decision to enter the blogosphere myself, but leave me wondering what particular niche I’m aiming to fill, by tossing my own hat in the ring.

They say “write what you know”, and I suppose that’s what I’m going to set out to do.  I want my research to reach not only my relatives, but others who might have advice or suggestions.  And who knows, perhaps getting these names and faces and stories out into the world might lead to some new discoveries.  But, beyond my own research, I find no greater joy than the joy of helping others on their own research journeys and intend for this space to provide me the opportunity to chronicle some of those exciting instances of “philanthropic genealogy”, if you will – and perhaps create some new ones.

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