Some time ago, I made a "lottery list" in which I listed all the things I would do if I won the lottery. One item was to research my family history properly and visit all the places they had come from. Then this past January, it occurred to me that I didn't have to win the lottery to do this (although I wouldn't be opposed to it) and that I could document my search in a blog. I had a goal - set up the blog before the last episode of Henry Louis Gates' program aired. I met this deadline; but then did absolutely NOTHING with the blog.
Since the winter, this phantom blog, called Under the Family Tree, has been lurking in the back of my mind. I couldn't quite bring myself to do anything more with it. Suggesting perhaps it wasn't ready for prime time. So, I let it percolate. I knew I wanted to organize what material I already had, figure out what I knew, record family stories and share all of this information with family members. Then I heard Drew Smith speak on using blogs to document family research at the FGS conference in Knoxville. He pointed out that if you used your blog as a research log it could be accessed from anywhere in the world (well, as long as you had a computer and an Internet connection). I was inspired.
It seems that inspiration was not enough. Then, finally, "my" family history blog finally clicked, not just in my mind but in my heart. What differentiates me from other genealogists is that I am a professionally trained historian. I am proud of my academic research and writing (visit The Scottish Emigration Blog to learn more) and enjoy it very much. However, at genealogical events I am slow to mention my background. When I do it's akin to admitting to something embarrassing (like having toilet paper stuck to your shoe) or to something troubling (like an addiction). Why? Because I have been told, directly and indirectly, that historians are incapable of doing genealogy. And, yes, I'm still upset about it.
Being an historian and a writer are both part of who I am. I can not disown either in this family history quest to be or do what some genealogists think I should. Consequently, this blog will document this historian's search for her ancestors, stories about family members, and thoughts about both disciplines. Please join me; it will be fun. Promise.