Saturday, November 14, 2009

Reflections on Being a Wheel in the CoG; or, The Wheel on the CoG goes Round and Round

I couldn’t decide which pun to use for my title, so I used both.

The theme for the 84th Carnival of Genealogy is: “What The CoG Means To Me”

Appearing twice a month, the 84th carnival marks 42 months, or 3.5 years. I first participated on June 29, 2007, for the 27th edition, What Independence Day Means to Me, with my post Independent Thinking. While I’d been blogging since 2002, I'd only been blogging for a few months on the topic of genealogy, and I was still using my all-purpose blog (which has experienced a sharp decline in usage over the past couple years.)

Since then, I have participated in 41 editions of the carnival. This will be my 42nd, so I will have participated in exactly half of them. Like many, I first started participating in the carnival so others would get to 'meet' me, and my blog. Along the way I have found that the assigned topics often lead me to discoveries I may not have otherwise made.

For example, for the 33rd Carnival theme of Weddings, I analyzed the marriage record I had received from the UK's General Register Office for my second great uncle Solomon Newmark and his wife Sarah Nathan - August 31, 1902. I researched every name I found on the record for the entry, though I suspect otherwise I may not have researched the witnesses to the same degree. I doubt I would have found the sheet music for the wedding liturgies created by the cantor, Marcus Hast, and likely sung at the time.

For the 52nd carnival, the theme was Age, and I was inspired for the first time to use my genealogy software to test a hunch -- that one branch of my family tree has had a lower life expectancy than the others. Age is Relative.

The 53rd carnival was a 'carousel' edition, where we could choose any topic. I went back to the theme of the 47th carnival, which I had missed, A Place Called Home. This was my first post researching St. Louis City in 1908. I started with some Sanborn maps I had discovered a few months earlier online. The maps showed my Newmark ancestors lived nearby Carr Sqaure Park. I searched for information on the park, and this led me to a disturbing report entitled, Housing Conditions in St. Louis, conducted by the Civic League of St. Louis in 1908. I revisited that report in October of 2008 for Blog Action Day.

I look forward to each issue of the Carnival. I don't participate each time; occasionally due to time considerations, occasionally the theme doesn't spark an idea. As I've mentioned before, I have the writer's curse. I will always write. I don't need the regular carnivals or the daily blogging themes to prod me. (They do encourage me to write about genealogy and family history, though.) Still, I always enjoy crafting my submissions to the carnival, and I enjoy reading the submissions of others.

I haven't yet hosted the carnival, but the next time Jasia at CreativeGene requests guest hosts, I believe I will volunteer, as I think it would be fun.

Links to all 41 of my previous CoG entries:
83 81 78 77 75 74 73 72 71 70 68 66 65 64 62 59 57 55 54 53 52 51 50 49 46 45 44 43 42 41 39 38 36 35 34 33 31 30 29 28 27

The ferris wheel used for the image is the original one designed by George Washington Gale Ferris for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Source: The Field Museum Library.

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