52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: The Sequel?

questionsAs we approach the end of 2014, I have had several people ask me, “So, Amy, about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge….  Are you/we going to do it again next year?” Here’s my answer…


Here’s my question for you: Do you want to do the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2015? If so, should the format change? Currently, there really isn’t a structure — you decide who to feature and you write about them. Some people found that liberating; others found it frustrating. (“I can’t decide who to write about!”)

Going into 2015, we could continue the Challenge just as it is. We could also start an optional weekly theme (announced at the beginning of each month). You could choose to use the theme or not; it would just be a way to spark ideas on who to feature or what story to tell.

Of course, there’s the option that we don’t do the Challenge next year.

Let me know what you think by taking this quick poll. Feel free to leave a comment, too!

Do you think we should do 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks again in 2015?

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44 thoughts on “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: The Sequel?

  1. Ellen

    Hi, I got into this too late to participate, but it did get a blog started for me and I would be interested in participating officially next year in whatever format those who were loyal participants this year think would work. Thanks!

    1. Jo henn

      I just started blogging a year ago in September. I found Blogger made it easy to make my blog look “not-so-amateur” and there are so many possible variations that not every blog looks the same. And it’s easy to write and publish on and put links and pictures in the article to make it look interesting to the reader. And it’s free. Plus there are apps so if I want to i can write from my iPhone or iPad. Take a look at mine: jahcmft.blogspot.com

  2. belleek

    I fell by the wayside after about 8 or 9 ancestors … Partly time and partly indecision. I would definitely give it another shot from the beginning and I love the theme idea, too ..

  3. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

    This has been a wonderful challenge. It got me to actually start writing about my ancestors. I planned them for the entire year. An optional theme would help bloggers who don’t know they should write about. I did ONLY ancestors on my paternal line and already have a plan for next year.

      1. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

        My US cousins may be a bit disappointed but I plan to do my maternal and my children’s paternal ancestors – nearly all from Luxembourg and parts of Germany, France and Belgium that were once part of Luxembourg. To get things moving faster I’m planning on doing couples instead of husband one week and wife the next. It’ll still take me more than a year and a half to finish up the 4th great-grandparents – where I am now on my US lines.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Hi, Sandy! The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is a blogging challenge that I started back in January of this year. The challenge is to write about an ancestor each week. It could be a short biography, a photo, a story, a record — something about that ancestor. Then the next week, write about a different ancestor.

      The point is to look at our genealogy, pull the stories and records together, and to write more often. No pressure — write on the weeks that you can. My motto all along is anything you write is more than what you had before you started :)

  4. starryblackness

    I’ve just finished drafting my #52Ancestors #45 and caught up with publishing my #44 this morning – it’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’ve been neglecting them!

    I’ve loved writing these blogs, partly because it remembers the forgotten, and partly because it’s been good discipline. What I would find more manageable is having a monthly star or theme; that would give more time to find out more context about the local, national and international events which would have shaped their lives. It also prevents me running out of ancestors to feature; I do have more than 52, but I need to find out a lot more about individual lives before sharing online, and getting access to pre-census records to provide this info is more challenging.

    But thanks so much for co-ordinating this Amy, it’s been – still is – an amazing and fascinating year meeting family old and new.


  5. Denise Murphy

    I’m so happy to have found your challenge. Even though I joined late it’s given me new reason to go back and look at past research. I’ve found things I previously missed as well as new information. Thanks for the push!

  6. kessara

    Like Lynne, I have appreciated the discipline – and I like the idea of a monthly theme. What has surprised me most about doing this has been how much I knew about some and how little I knew about others – even those that I had grown up knowing when they were alive. I still need to find my grandparent’s wedding license and …and… I think for next year, I’m going to focus on either more of my daughter’s father’s line or ‘collateral’ lines. Aunts and uncles and cousins. This year, I did just direct line ancestors on both mom & dad’s side.



  7. Barbara Murphy

    I have loved the challenge and would do it again for next year. I think the theme idea is very good as I would need some help on what to write about. I was thinking of going back and doing a more in depth research on people who I didn’t have very much on. I have liked all the comments I have had from family members on each weeks person of interest. Hopefully I can keep my family members interested next year too.

    Barbara Murphy

  8. Jo Henn

    I have loved doing it, though it’s been a bit overwhelming at times — a beginning family historian and blogger so I’ve been researching each person from scratch before each of my posts and I still work a stressful job with long hours. If you do this again next year at this level I’ll be dropping out, even though this has been fantastic for me. (I thank you so much for having thought it up and then for the time spent curating all of our posts!!)

    I still plan to do family research and blog but I need a slower pace for doing the Ancestor bios (maybe 1-2 a month along with smaller things in between) and time to do a more thorough job, and to go back to the beginning and double check my work now that I’ve learned so much more. Plus I need to spend some time organizing things – this has been so fast paced I’ve had little time to organize.

    My main issue is time. And sleep. I’m exhausted much of the time right now which, since it can’t cut into my work time, cuts into the research time — or I have a lovely series of breakthroughs like last night where I was up til 5:00AM chasing them (thank God it’s Saturday & I could sleep in).

    If you could do something with a lesser intensity that would be helpful. Maybe the voluntary theme idea if I could drop in and out of that?

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      You can drop in and out as much as you need to! It’s not an “all or nothing” challenge. :-)

  9. robertajestes

    I think this has been a wonderful project. It has encouraged me to gather together what I have and to find what I don’t, for each ancestor. I feel like I know each of them so much better now, and personally. I will participate next year in whatever format you choose. I have been writing my stories in groups that came from the same area because I am utilizing the same resources for those families, and I will probably continue this pattern no matter how you set it up. So I’m good with however you choose and whatever works for everyone. I think the important part is to write, and to share. I don’t want this research to go to the grave with me and the 52 ancestors challenge assures that it won’t. It’s compiled, written, published and public. And I’ve been amazed at the information that has been forthcoming to me as a result of these articles. Thank you for doing this Amy and I look forward to year 2:)

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Wow, Roberta! With an endorsement like that, how could I possibly NOT have the challenge next year?!

  10. Dawn Kogutkiewicz

    I would love to participate in the sequel. I like the idea of voluntary theme as well. I look forward to hearing what you decide.

  11. Elizabeth Richards

    Amy, I’m with the crowd saying that the discipline has been great, although I’m a bit behind. I’ve had to revisit my files, which is always a good thing. I’ve been able to share family knowledge that previously was hidden in my files. If you decide to continue in 2015, I would participate, but in a different manner, as I’m committed to exploring the family murder next year. Thank you for such a wonderful challenge in 2014!

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Hi Elizabeth! Like I’ve said elsewhere in this thread, participate as much or as little as you’d like. We don’t need more stress in our lives! Consider this challenge a “stress-free zone” :-)

  12. celticmama36

    I am happy to have found your project and hope to more fully participate in 2015. I want to take my blog even more into genealogy and family history, but I need guidance. Challenges and projects with themes are a big help to me.

    Thank you, regardless of your final decision on doing this again in 2015. Have a blessed weekend!

  13. Cheryl

    This is a wonderful project. Even though I did not post on line, I wrote about several ancestors. This helped me determine where I needed to complete additional research. I plan to continue this project next year. I appreciate you suggesting this project and prodding me to continue writing about my ancestors. I’m looking forward to your plan for 2015. Thank you.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Your comment reminds me — this is a good time to mention that our writing doesn’t have to be on a blog. The idea is to write… somewhere. It can be on a blog, a journal, an email to cousins… wherever, however you want to do it. The important thing is to WRITE!

  14. Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

    Wow, Year 2, I often wondered as I worked weekly to stay in track. Has it been a whirlwind year? YES! But I’ve enjoyed the challenge and I’m still on track. I’ve so enjoyed sharing my stories, making new friends, and learning many new ideas! I’d love a monthly challenge next year, as my house is a disaster:( much was neglected from fulltime work and all the research. But I’ve loved the ride and can’t wait to put my 52 stories in a booklet to preserve. Thanks Amy for your idea and bringing us along every week. I’ll have 52 stories that I’ll treasure forever!

  15. Maeve Mitchell

    I am looking forward to next year – Thank you, Thank you Amy for starting this challenge.

    Well, I am on track for blog posts but behind a school work for my genealogy certificate. Like Jo Henn – I have a stressful job and I am spending hours and hours on research for the blogs. I have to say that this is one of the most worthwhile projects I have ever worked on. My siblings, daughter, niece and cousins have really, really been enjoying them and are getting caught up in the stories. After doing one on a Grand Uncle – I decided to contact his 82 year old son (I’d only been thinking about it for 20 years.). He knew nothing about our side of the family and he is so grateful for all the blogs I have printed off and sent him. I wish my mother could have known her cousin. I am going to try my best to get the last 8 done (another cousin may do one.) I try to work on them at every lunch hour instead of just working through my lunch unless I have a doctors appointment. I am so anemic that I can barely function and now I’m to trying to get a 5 to 7 hour IV iron infusion scheduled ASAP – I have managed to do 44 feeling exhausted all year I should be able to whip through the last eight once I get the infusion. I still want to participate next year but I may have to do it as I can the first six months and then after I finish the certificate – really hit it hard.The certificate class is fantastic – I have learned so many new places to search for information. I also have joined three different library systems – Seattle, King County, and Snohomish-Island Counties – all with different genealogy databases online for as long as I want them. Plus I have the University of Washington Library system and all their data bases until the end of September 2015. I am definitely going to do has much research as I can at UW.

  16. Simon Bird

    I have been dutifully keeping more or less up to date with each weekly post since the start. It has enabled me to concentrate on one ancestor each week rather than randomly jumping into one and then into another without really achieving anything. I would miss it if it wasn’t there and I’m sure I would soon be writing less and less.

    I help run an English family history facebook page with over 10,000 members and I copy my blogs there every week – the feedback is amazing and so positive. Even if you don’t carry this on I certainly will and was going to :
    a) continue to 100 ….. and I would then include ancestors from my wife’s tree and
    b) include places or properties where my ancestors lived as my weekly subject matter rather than always picking an individual.

    A monthly theme sounds a good plan and I look forward to joining in whatever it may entail.
    Thanks Amy for creating this project as I love it !

  17. schmidtbarbara

    I would love to go on. I dropped out about halftime because I was one of those who couldn’t decide what to write about. Or I wrote but I didn’t feel it to be “52ancestors worthy”. So if I would have a theme I could follow that would be great!

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Hi Angela! That’s great that you want to start a blog! Basically, if you can type, you can blog :-) The two most popular platforms are Blogger and WordPress. Both are free and super easy to use. Blogger is through Google; if you have a Google account (doesn’t have to be Gmail), login and then go to blogger.google.com. Follow the step-by-step instructions. For WordPress, go to wordpress.com and set up an account.

      Have fun — and good luck!

  18. Vera Marie Badertscher

    I loved getting to know other blogs through the challenge. But I was already telling a story once a week about an ancestor and will continnue doing that, so I felt like I was cheating.
    My present goal is to follow each line I can find back to their arrival in North America. That means trying to find elusive info on women…always more challenging than men.

    Maybe a focus on challenges in the next challenge. ” My biggest family history challenge this week…this month.. Was…..”

  19. Nancy Vest

    I didn’t start my blog til April of this year so I didn’t participate in this year’s challenge. I definitely want to participate in 2015. With optional themes or not, I’m in!

  20. leicsandwarksancestors

    I am completely new to this idea but what a fantastic way of preserving the memories of our ancestors and sharing the families of others! After 18 years of research i need to get back to real people and my family too! I would love to take part and is there an easy way of following all the participants blogs?

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      Welcome, Iain! I’m looking into some ways of making it easy to follow the all of the participating blogs. For now, there are two options: take a look at the participating blogs page and add them to your favorite blog/RSS reader or subscribe to this blog and receive the notifications of when the recaps are posted. (Then come over and check out the links that people leave in the comments.)

      I tried compiling a weekly recap, but with 100+ blogs participating, it took several hours each week.

  21. Wanda

    Genealogy is a new-to-me enthusiasm in 2014. Your 52 Ancestors project looks like a great way to celebrate the lives of my ancestors. I have scribbled notes for who I might feature during the first couple of months and can easily double that by looking at another branch of the family tree. That said, I would welcome a weekly theme to prompt new ideas.

    Thanks for hosting this meme–I look forward to participating in 2015.


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