Saturday, September 8, 2012

One Thousand and Counting

According to Blogger, this is my one-thousandth post since Midwestern Microhistory opened up 23 January 2008. Not a huge deal, since those geneabloggers who started sooner and/or post oftener whizzed past this milepost a long time back.

This blog still benefits from my daughter-in-law's original layout, but its original relentless focus on the Midwest has been relieved a bit by doses of methodology. (It's true: when I started blogging I had yet to hear Tom Jones speak.) But my heart and my business remain close to Chicago, however much the occasional blizzard or drought makes me wish otherwise. 

Blogging tends to be impromptu, unedited (except sometimes in remorseful afterthought), brief, occasional, sometimes disputations, and always sociable. I have argued elsewhere that its spirit predates the net. When I have to explain blogging to non-bloggers, I say that a blog is a cross between an email and a web site: a temporary communication that stays put and that folks can see later. Not sure that helps much.

In principle blogging on the internet should make us more honest. It's a web log, and that implies linking. We might want to say, for instance, that members of the other political party are morons, or that the "genealogy police" are abusing innocent hobbyists on a regular basis. If we're talking or writing for print, 20th-century style, we can just make the claim and hope no one asks for evidence. But if we're blogging, we are expected -- if not morally obligated -- to link to an example of what we're talking about. It shouldn't be that hard to do (even if our claim turns out to be false, there should be a plausible example somewhere). And if we can't find anything to link to that illustrates our point, then maybe our thesis is flawed and should be retired for the time being in favor of a post about a new record type, or some cute pictures of kittens or grandchildren.

Sometimes blogging is real writing (by which I mean not fancy but something that sticks with you), and sometimes it's the prelude to it. I think it suits genealogy well, because both enterprises rest on the firm foundation described some time ago by Robert Louis Stevenson:

The world is so full of a number of things,
I think we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson, "Happy Thought," A Child's Garden of Verses (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895), 44; digital image, The RLS Website ( : accessed 5 September 2012).  The virtual book is on Internet Archive.

Harold Henderson, "One Thousand and Counting," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 8 September 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


Elizabeth Shown Mills said...

Congratulations, Harold! You're a role model in both content and consistency--not to mention perseverance!

Jacqi Stevens said...

Harold, congratulations on your thousand-post milestone--as always, aptly linked!

Michelle Goodrum said...

Congratulations Harold! Your blog is on my must read list. It's enjoyable and I learn so very much.

Tina Lyons said...

1000 posts! Great job and keep generating the great content.

Harold said...

Thank you, Elizabeth, Jacqi, Michelle, and Tina!

Kerry Scott said...

I am going to say right here that your blog is awesome, but I cannot site any sources, because people only tell me they think so in secret.


(Seriously, though…rock on. 1,000 quality posts is a real accomplishment.)

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

What a wonderful milestone to achieve! Keep up the GREAT work!!