52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 1 Recap

52 Ancestors in 52 WeeksWow, this challenge took on a life of its own! Exciting to see so many people who have taken the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge!

This is strong showing to start off our 52 weeks. We have stories of heat waves, mean ancestors, and one ancestor who makes you want to repeat a tongue twister. One story (or at least its title) is likely to put songs from “The Sound of Music” in your head.

At least two participants just set up their very first blogs! Congratulations to Shannon of Our Family Tree Tales and Judi Carroll-Thompson of Journey of a Family Historian. May your blogs bring you happiness and new-found cousins!

One of the most common comments I saw about the challenge was “I’m having a hard time choosing which ancestor to start with.” It’s understandable — so many ancestors, so many things to share. But I knew exactly who I wanted to start with: my paternal grandmother Adah Young Johnson. (Read the entry and you’ll know why I wanted to start with her.)

Being a librarian, I had to organize the links :) So I’ve listed them by the surname of the ancestor being highlighted. Females are listed under their maiden name when I could tell what it was.

Didn’t blog this week? No problem — start next week! Leave a link to your blog in the comments below and be sure to include “52 Ancestors” in the title of the posts for the challenge. (And if you’re on Twitter, use the #52ancestors hashtag.)

Here are the entries for Week 1:

Did I miss your 52 Ancestors in  52 Weeks post from Week 1? If so, add a link in the comments. I’ll try to do better next week :)

68 thoughts on “52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 1 Recap

  1. Niki Davis

    I love that you’re doing these recaps! It’s great to read everyone’s stories. Who knows … we might find some long lost cousins! Kudos.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      It’s been a wild few days, that’s for sure! I’m grateful to everyone who has accepted this challenge. Can’t wait to see what develops!

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      I am *so* sorry, Colleen! I don’t know how I missed it! I’ve added it to the list above and double-checked that you’re in my Feedly list so hopefully I won’t omit your next post!

  2. Patricia

    What an impressive showing. Thanks for getting so many of us engaged and organizing all the participants. I look forward to reading the posts!

  3. Kathleen

    Wow, not only do you start something to benefit us all, but then organize the results!
    I’m having so much fun looking at the different blogs and am impressed with the design and content of all. Hopefully, the practice of meeting the challenge will improve my own writing and put the habit firmly in place.

    Thanks again,

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Thanks, Kathleen. Getting the writing habit firmly in place was the main reason I started the challenge! I hope it works for all of us (myself included)!

  4. Janet Brooks

    Thank you for organizing them in this amazing way. I immediately looked for the names in our tree! Such cool information. You are a wonder to me and an incredible asset to the genealogy community!

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Two strokes of genius already this year and it’s only January 8?! Wow, I hope I haven’t exhausted my supply, which is normally 1 per year. I might need one later… like sometime this fall when I’m trying to narrow down which ancestors I still really want to highlight!

  5. Chris Nicholson

    Hello Amy,
    I’m enjoying the week #1 recap but am disappointed not to see my
    write-up on Sarah Jane Hunt (Baldwin). I sent it as an e-mail to relatives
    and resent it to you this morning at your e-address. I think I should probably
    learn how to set up a blog.
    Chris Nicholson

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Hi Chris, I really can’t post the text of everyone’s entries. The only thing I can do is post links to what’s online. If you start a blog, I’ll be happy to post a link. But even if you don’t start a blog, I encourage you to keep writing and sending those bios, stories, etc, to your relatives. It’s the writing and sharing that’s important, no matter where you do it.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Great! I’ve added you to my list. Just remember to put “52 Ancestors” in the title so I can find what posts you’re doing for the challenge. Thanks!

  6. Pingback: The 52 Ancestors Challenge

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Welcome to blogging and to the 52 Ancestors challenge! I hope you’ll enjoy both!

  7. Pingback: Searching for Ilo’s Son – 52 Ancestors #1 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  8. Jenna


    I’ve just created my first blog – not only the challenge of committing to write, the challenge of blog management.
    Please let me know if you don’t receive or can’t view so I can fix.


    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Thanks for joining the challenge — and blogging! I see the blog. I look forward to reading your posts.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Great! Just a quick reminder — if you want your posts to be part of the weekly recap, please put “52 Ancestors” somewhere in the title of the posts so I can find them in my blog reader. (Otherwise, I’ll have no idea which posts are part of the challenge.) Thanks!

  9. Andy Unrein

    I love this idea! I have gobs of research to funnel into a weekly writing exercise.

    I’m using a different platform, a TiddlyWiki, rather than a blog. However, the Wiki is completely devoted to genealogy, and I’m tagging the 52Ancestors posts accordingly.


    While customizing my site appearance, I broke some Wiki functionality such as the ability to close individual “tiddlers” — think of them as stories or nodes. I will work on restoring those buttons by week 2.

    I will be publishing permaview URLs through tinyURL which bring a given week’s installment to the forefront, and may be easily returned to later in the year:

  10. Karen Batchelor

    Amy –

    Like others here, I just discovered 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks this weekend. Funny – I had already started a series about my ancestors at my blog, Extreme Ancestry, but it’s far more fun to be part of a group challenge with some serious accountability to keep writing.

    Here’s the link to my first post about Great Aunt Frances:


    And I’ll have two more posts up and be on target by the Tuesday deadline. Thanks for pulling us all together:)

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Hi Karen! I just read your post. What a wonderful tribute. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  11. CuznAmy

    I never been very happy with how my posts read, so it takes me a longer time to be satisfied and click the publish button. But I’m going to give this a shot in hopes of finding some new cousins, but at the very least I figure I will improve my writing skills with practice over time. I’ve managed to get two up so far, now working on the third one. :)

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Any writer will tell you that the best way (some say the only way) to get better at writing is to write!

  12. Rachel

    Thank you so much for inspiring me.

    I have managed to do four blog posts so far this year as a result of your challenge. That’s the same amount I did for the whole of 2012 and 2013 put together!





    As you will see I am doing a slightly amended version – 52 ancestors in 52 weeks in 52 words (or thereabouts) to make sure I post on a regular basis and don’t get hung up on writing a long narrative. I think it is also going to serve as a very useful way for me to keep track of the people that are interesting and that still need some investigation.

  13. Candy Kammerman

    Accepted the challenge a bit late, but I’m working on catching up. Thanks for creating this opportunity to share stories as well as network with others interested in family history.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Welcome! Just be sure to include “52 Ancestors” in the title of your posts so that I can find them for the weekly recap.

  14. Cheryl Miller

    I want to start participating in your 52 Ancestors Challenge. I will start at week 4. Thank you so very much about doing this. I have a great deal a information to find on my ancestors.

  15. Vicki Court

    I decided that Australia Day – 26 January – was a good day to begin this challenge. I have been collecting notes for many years and occasionally writing a story about someone in the family tree but this challenge will encourage me to concentrate on writing stories about family members from the information I have collected so far. Have completed two so far with a third almost finished.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      That’s great, Vicki! One of the goals of this challenge is to take those notes, photos, and other “stuff” that we’ve all collected over the years and do something with it! If you’re going to blog, let me know where your blog is and I’ll be happy to include your “52 Ancestors” posts in the weekly recaps.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Wonderful! If I might suggest — you might want to post this link on the Week 1 recap post that I’ll do on Thursday. This is the recap from Week 1 of 2014. (I thought I had comments turned off!) Sorry for the confusion!

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