Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

I’m not that big on New Year’s resolutions. As one of my friends recently posted on Facebook, a New Year’s resolution is the to-do list for the first week of January. Instead, I like “challenges.” (Ok, maybe it’s a thin distinction, but it works for me.) Since I want to blog more (and blog more regularly) in 2014, I’m setting up a challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors in 52 WeeksThe challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor. Not only should this get me blogging more, but also to take a deeper look at some of the people in my family tree.

Challenges often go better when people do them together, so I encourage you to try 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on your blog. Don’t have a blog? Post something each week on Facebook, send an email to your family members, write something in a journal…  write it anywhere!

Who’s with me for this? If you’re in, leave a comment with a link to your blog so we can all follow along!

UPDATE (8 January): If you’d like to participate, please check out the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” page.

309 thoughts on “Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

      1. Eileen Souza

        I was planning to title my posts “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Ancestor Name” and then tag it 52Ancestors and categorize it as Family Stories. I look forward to other ideas.

        Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Go for it, Eileen! Hopefully this challenge will be engaging enough to stick with, but not so hard to make it frustrating. And even if we don’t make it all 52 weeks, it’s something more than nothing :-)

      Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Yay, Wally! It’s great to hear from you again! Been a long time since our OGS board days.

      Reply
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  2. Peggy Lauritzen

    What a great idea, Amy! I have trouble coming up with ideas, but once I have one planted, I can go to town with it. Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Jennifer Merry

    I am going to try to do this!! I love the idea! But I am also a grad student so no guarantees that I can make it, but I am gonna try hard!! :) I actually have two blogs, and I believe a class I am taking this semester will lead me to creating a third — yikes!
    shafferandzirkledescendants.blogspot.com
    genxgenealogy.blogspot.com

    I resolve to write something on one of them each week!! Thanks for the challenge!!

    Jenn

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      I remember my grad school days; I completely understand your workload! Write when you can — anything is more than what you have right now :)

      Reply
  4. Ann Hinds

    I started a new blog today for the other side of my family. I have been researching my dad’s side for several years and it’s time to go in another direction. This comes along at the right time. I’ve already retitiled my first post as 52 ancestors in 52 weeks.
    http://yeakleyjones.blogspot.com/

    Reply
      1. Diana Ritchie

        Oh ALL of my ancestors were terrific…some were terrifically good, some were terrifically BAD, some were terrifically married (5 times is my winner), some were terrifically hard to find…. :-)

        Reply
  5. Vera Marie Badertscher

    I’m SO in. What a great idea. Of course it is easy for me to say, since I basically have done a different ancestor each Thursday at Ancestors in Aprons since I started the blog last May. To be clear, you are asking for a DIFFERENT ancestor each week? I ask because sometimes I have several stories about one ancestor–but I guess I can just add a third post per week to my present two if I have “spillover.”

    I also second the idea of having a list somewhere that we can easily check for other people who are participating, so we can exchange links and promote through social media.

    I’d suggest each of our posts should include something like “this post is part of a challenge from No Story Too Small’(linked to your blog.” All that Google juice is helpful. ;-)

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      The idea is to have one ancestor per week (52 ancestors in all), but you can make it whatever you want. Nobody is going to audit you… and if they do, well, they need to get a life. :)

      I’m planning on doing a weekly recap (likely on Wednesdays).

      And I like your suggestion to include a link back here to the NSTS blog. I hated to mention it, but since you brought it up…. ;)

      Reply
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    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      The closest I have to a button would be the graphic in this post. You’re free to use it, but would appreciate a link back to this post.

      Does anyone want to volunteer to make a button/graphic for this (one that looks better than the one I cobbled together in Photoshop)? :)

      Reply
  7. Shelley Bishop

    I love this idea, Amy! Fits right in with my desire (notice I didn’t say goal) to write more about my ancestors this year. Hope I can keep up by focusing on the little things that make family history fun!

    Reply
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  9. Cheri Daniels

    This is a huge amount of discipline for this free-spirited blogger (translation: slacker blogger)….but changing things up is very healthy! Thanks for the fun blogging kick in the pants!

    Reply
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  11. Barb Rogers

    I am already organizing to post “Ancestory Saturday” which is to put the ancestor posts all on one day of the week rather than on their birth-dates. Sometime I do have other things I post on “When I was 69″ Hope to read other’s blogs about their ancestors also!

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Sure! If you wouldn’t mind adding “52 Ancestors” and the week # to the title if the posts you want included in the recap, that would be great. Thanks!

      Reply
  12. Patricia

    I am in! This is a great way to get me refocused and to be able to look deeper into what I am missing in my tree! Thanks for starting this. I will hope to get my first post done this weekend!

    Reply
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    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      I read your post. Blogging with a busy toddler in the house?! Wow!

      If it makes you feel any better, I think most of us have that feeling of “I wish I had recorded more of his stories.”

      Reply
  14. Kathleen

    As a new blogger, thanks for this challenge – it should help me to improve and form a habit of posting regularly.
    Off to work on the first one!

    blog.mcelrea.org

    Kathleen

    Reply
  15. Karen Biebel-Sutera

    I love the idea, I don’t have a blog yet but one of my goals for 2014 is to start one. Now I have the prefect starting point I may have to post two one week to catch up. Once I have it set up I will definitely share the link.

    Reply
  16. Kim

    I accept the challenge and will also attempt to follow the trend of pinning each for a board called family stories.
    thanks for the challenge…khanks-possibilities.com

    Reply
  17. Marian Wood

    Thanks for the great idea! I just posted using the heading “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: [ancestor name].” This challenge will also encourage me to rotate my focus among all the different families I’ve been researching. So many ancestors, so little time. Happy new year,

    Marian

    Reply
  18. Minnie Becton

    This will help me with blogging since I’m attempting to create a blog. I’ll start next week. Maybe this will cure me of my candy crush addiction.

    Reply
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  20. Catherine Pendleton

    Count me in, too. What a great idea! I noticed recently that I seem to blog about a certain few surnames the most and have been thinking I need to “branch out” :) I also want to get back to blogging more regularly.

    Reply
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  22. Sandy

    I’m in! I’ll be writing a short sketch for 52 of my ancestors in 52 weeks. It will be the start of my families’ “dash” story. You know all the things in life that happen between the birth and death dates that makes each person an individual. Thanks for the challenge, been wanting to get the stories fleshed out, now I’ve got an incentive to get it done. Good luck to everyone else doing the hard work of writing your family histories.

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Sandy — will you be blogging? If so, please send me the link so that I can include your posts in the weekly recap. Thanks!

      Reply
  23. Megan Heyl

    I need to get back to blogging – life had jumped in the way last year. I hope someone has some steel toe boots to kick my can if I start to slide off track! I decided to start off with the ancestors I found thru cousin connections on social media. Some are still with us, but deserve to be recognized! I’m buckled in, will keep all hands and feet inside this moving “vehicle” until the ride ends… good luck everyone!

    Reply
  24. Jo Henn

    I’m late, but I’m in at http://jahcmft.blogspot.com! I try to do some sort of Ancestor Highlight 2-3 times a month, this will encourage me to do more, which my readers (family) will like. I’ve explained what I’m doing and linked to this post in http://jahcmft.blogspot.com/2014/01/im-back.html. Because of my day job I’m used to thinking (& operating) as if weeks run Monday through Sunday, so I’m already a week behind but I intend to have one up tomorrow & perhaps next Saturday to catch up. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with one a week (I still have a F/T job) but I’ll try.

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      You’re not a week behind — we just started! I’m going to do the weekly recaps on Wednesdays, so you have plenty of time. :)

      Reply
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    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the “big” stories in our research that we forget about the smaller, quieter ones. They all add up to a life :)

      Reply
  26. Joy

    I’ve been think about starting a blog, but needed a topic idea. I would like to try the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge. I’ll post my like when I create my blog.

    Reply
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    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Welcome! If you haven’t blogged before, I think you’ll find that it can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. (Even if you have blogged before, it should be fun and rewarding!)

      Reply
  28. Kyla

    This sounds fun! I have been slacking in my blogging lately and I think this will help! I think my first blog will be about a relative of my husbands that was involved in a murder suicide love triangle thing (he was the shooter). Interesting tidbits there!

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      A murder-suicide love triangle shooting?! That’s starting the challenge with a bang! (Pun totally intended :) )

      Reply
  29. Deb Holman

    Great challenge! I’m doing kind of the same thing by posting on ancestor’s broth dates- works out to almost one a week. Guess Ill have to step it up a bit to meet the challenge – add in posts about surname history or info about ancestral homes. Thanks for the idea.

    Reply
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  32. Kathy Judge Nemaric

    My blog has languished over the last year. I started the new year with the death of my mother and the loss of my job on the same day – which seems to me to be a great opportunity to join the challenge. Perhaps I’ll start with mom and get it posted this afternoon on http:www.kjngenealogy.com

    Reply
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    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Some codes and graphics don’t come through very well in the comments. How about you send me an email and I’ll post it in its own post. Thanks so much!

      Reply
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  36. Sallywi

    I will accept your invatation to write a story. Currently working on DAR application on William Gilreath Sr.. and Jr.. but will write the final story on my 2nd Great Grandfather Thomas S. A. Gilreath..

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Will you be blogging? If so, could you send the link. I’d love to include your posts in the weekly recaps!

      Reply
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      1. Julie Goucher

        Kathleen, you mean I am predictable! LOL, I think I will use the next 52 weeks to explore some of the ancestors that I want to learn more about.

        Will be blogging at <a href="www.anglersrest.net"

        Reply
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  39. Cindy Freed

    Amy – I think this is the best idea since sliced bread! I accept this challenge and know it’ll be loads of fun, a chance to honor the lives of our family members who came before us as well as see which ancestors could use a little more tlc research! I even bet I’ll learn a thing or two reading what others post!
    Thanks so much! I look forward to it!!

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      I don’t think I’ve ever had an idea that was the best since sliced bread! Considering my fondness for all things bread, that’s quite a compliment you paid me :)
      Looking forward to your posts!

      Reply
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  42. Sanne van Zijl

    What a great initiative and what a great response allready.
    I have been thinking about writing a “Family Book” for my children in which I want to capture the stories of their ancestors. But I never knew where to start. I guess this is the perfect opportunity to start with my book!

    I am in for this challenge, but my stories will firstly be in Dutch language. If I find the time I will translate.
    Looking forward to read all your stories though!

    Happy greetings

    Sanne
    http://drakenvliegje.wordpress.com/

    Reply
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  44. Chris Nicholson

    I would like to accept the challenge of 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. My tech skills are limited and probably the best way would be for me to do it as e-mails to family members. I’d appreciate any suggestions. I have considerable info but have not written the stories in ways that the family can appreciate them. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      That’s a great question, Chris. I would advise starting small. You don’t need to tell the ancestor’s entire life all at once. And make it a story. Find something that has a beginning, middle, and end. Maybe that person fought in the Civil War. You could focus a story just on their time in the war or maybe the effect on their life afterward. Maybe an ancestor died in childbirth; tell just that story.
      You’ve got me thinking about this topic — I’m going to have to give this one some more thought. I’m sure I’ll be blogging on this topic in the near future!

      Reply
  45. Joanne

    I’ve actually dusted off my old blog that I hadn’t updated in a few years in order to try to do this. I’m at ondrurylane.blogspot.com

    Great idea!

    Reply
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  51. Leah Smith

    My blog has is about people from the town of West Brookfield, Massachusetts. Some were my ancestors, some were my husband’s ancestors, but most were unrelated. Still, I would love to take on this challenge. I have been wanting to post more frequently.

    Reply
  52. Kris Hocker

    This sounds like a great way to put my focus back on my family. I’ve been so busy with projects that are only tangentially related to my family research, it’ll be interesting to go back and see what I actually have to write about!

    Reply
  53. Shannon

    I just set up my first blog. Yay! And now I have my first entry into that blog! Thank you for this challenge, I am inspired to share some of the stories that I have come across in my research!

    Reply
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  55. Judy Persin

    Great idea.
    I do not have a website yet, but I will get one up and running.
    I want to participate in your challenge of 52 stories in 52 weeks. I needed a push to get back into genealogy and this should do it.
    I am a week late but will catch up.
    Thank you for starting this project

    Judy

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Great, Judy! When you get your site or blog up and running, just leave a comment with a link to it and I’ll add it to the list of blogs that I’m following for this.

      Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      You’re just in time for Week 2! I’ll add your blog to my list in Feedly. Just be sure to include “52 Ancestors” in the title of the posts that should be included in the weekly recaps, which I plan to continue posting on Wednesdays.

      Reply
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    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      That’s one of the great things about this kind of challenge — there really aren’t any rules! You can interpret “ancestor” however you want to :-)

      UPDATE: Just read your post. Wow. Just wow.

      Reply
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    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Awesome! If you want your posts in the weekly recaps, please be sure to have the phrase “52 Ancestors” in the post title. Otherwise, I’ll likely miss it in my blog reader.

      Reply
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  60. Judean A. Wise

    I submitted 2 blogs today on WordPress. I just learned how to do it; it’s fun. Here’s my link:

    judeanannwise53.wordpress.com

    Do I need to send you my link every week Amy?

    Sincerely, Judean
    P.S. I’m a retired librarian/library media specialist!

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Congrats on the new blog! You don’t need to send the link every week. I have you in my blog reader; as long as you have “52 Ancestors” in the title of your posts, I should be able to find them. Thanks!

      Reply
  61. Deborah I. Welte Gosa

    Here is my first submission so that I can continue to write about my own family history. I will also invite family members so that they will be aware of what I have done regarding this research so far.

    My blog posts are located at dgfamilyhistorian.blogspot.com

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      No need to leave a comment every time. As long as your blog is listed here and you put “52 Ancestors” somewhere in the title of the post, I should see it.

      Reply
  62. Lynn Hetlet

    I’m hopping on the 52 Ancestors bandwagon! I just posted my first entry, and labeled it #3, to be in synch with others who started the first week of the year. (I’ll squeeze # 1 &2 in as time allows). I’m thinking now maybe it should have been #4? I hope you’ll read it this week, regardless of my confusion as to where we are on the calendar!

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      The address is helpful ;) And don’t worry about the numbering. Just be sure to include “52 Ancestors” somewhere in the title of your posts so I’ll see those posts in my blog reader. Thanks!

      Reply
  63. Nancy

    Great job, Amy! I don’t think I’ve seen such a huge response to a challenge since I’ve been blogging. I hope compiling the list each week doesn’t wear you out or take too much of your time!

    I’ve accepted the challenge (a little late due to welcoming a new grandbaby into our family) but I hope to catch up and keep up.

    My first post is at http://nancysfamilyhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/52-ancestors-case-of-second-sight.html.

    Would you like us to send you our links each week?

    Thanks for the great idea. Best wishes to you.

    Nancy.

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Welcome, Nancy! No need to send your links each week. As long as you’re on the blog list and you put “52 Ancestors” somewhere in the title of your posts, I should be able to find them in my blog reader.

      Reply
  64. Karen Bruynell

    Hi Amy,

    I’m just jumping on the bandwagon. Not sure if you received my message yesterday so I’m posting it again. I’ve written 2 stories and will continue to work on catching up this week! Thanks for offering up this challenge as it has me excited!

    Best,

    Karen

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Yes, I got it! Your post about Mary is in this week’s recap. Richard’s story will be in next week.

      Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      I’m glad you like it, James! I know I’ve enjoyed the Challenge and it seems like others are, too!

      Reply
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    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Welcome! I’ve added your blog to the list of those participating and to my list on Feedly. I look forward to seeing your posts!

      Reply

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