Shedding the Beginner’s Cocoon: Goodbye to a Genealogy Butterfly

This is my last post for Family Tree Firsts. After 12 months of blogging and research, I’m no longer a beginner-level genealogist, and next week a new novice will take over.

It’s hard to believe that a year has come and gone.  Wow, is about all I can say.  Being the Family Tree Firsts Blogger was an amazing experience and I am very grateful to all of you who shared my adventures with me.  I have made new friends, learned more than I could even digest at times from experts and connected with cousins all over the country.

Hopefully I have made you try something new, laugh, think, and on occasion gave you a good cry.  I certainly have done all of those things along the way.  This time last year I knew so little about my and my husband’s family that I was thrilled by this opportunity.  Every time I uncovered a new piece of information I couldn’t wait to share with all of you. Your comments encouraged me forward.

My husband and I have enjoyed sharing my research with our families and children too.  It is unbelievable that I solved as many mysteries and brick walls that I did.  It was such a wonderful feeling to know why his 2nd great-grandfather assumed a new identity, to find that I have a British Revolutionary War-era soldier in the family, tell you about my first trip to NARA (squealing with delight), plus all the other off-the-wall things that I saw and learned.  You became my invisible family, and I knew that you were rooting me on to further successes.

The education I received through Family Tree University was great.  Every instructor knew their stuff and was helpful when I ran into problems.  I have always had a thirst for knowledge and this was a fantastic way to satiate it.  The tips, techniques and information I learned guided me to each new discovery.  I was always excited to take what I learned (be it from a class, book or webinar) and discover another bit of my family history.

It’s fair to say I’ve been aggressively bitten by the genealogy bug.  It is approaching near-obsession level, and nearly everything I do leads me to ponder how I can tie it into my family research.  My main purpose is still to document our family journey for my children, but now I want to do more.  Writing this blog has shown me that I have a lot more to share. This won’t be the last you hear of me.

Curious as to what I might be up to next?  So am I!  You can keep up with my odd train of thought, discoveries and opinions at my personal blog, Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian.  I also have a Facebook page and you can find me on twitter @tntfamhist if that is more you style.

Well, it has been fun. And with that, in the words of Douglas Adams, “So long and thanks for all the fish!”


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Shannon Bennett of Locust Grove, Va.


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