Thursday, July 4, 2019

My 200th Post- 8 Years of Blogging, 15 Years of Genealogy

July 4th, 2019 marks 8 exact years since I began blogging. It all started when I was 21 years old and home from college over the summer. I was inspired by Cece Moore who runs Your Genetic Genealogist and has become a common name in the genealogist household with all the work she has done with DNA, adoptees, and even working on "Finding Your Roots". In June of 2011, she herself had completed her first year of blogging and so I decided to trace my own family via a blog as well. Who would have thought that 8 years and 200 blog posts later, I'd still be on this journey!

Though I don't have many official followers for my blog (as I haven't dedicated myself full-time to running it/putting it out there), I really started doing this for two reasons:

1) Personal Motives - To keep track of my own progress, hurdles, difficulties, breakthroughs, and as of recently analyzing my DNA in conjunction with my paper trail/genealogical searches. In a sense it would serve as a digital journey for which I could refer to and keep track of my finds and brick walls.

2) Visibility - While initially researching my family, I hadn't found too many blogs that covered a wide range of Puerto Rican topics in regards to genetics and genealogy and I ultimately wanted to be a contributor in order to make Puerto Rican Genealogy more visible. There is a big misconception that genealogical records from Puerto Rico have been burned, lost, or destroyed by hurricanes and people give up without even realizing all of the amazing resources available for Puerto Rican research there are out there.

5 years ago, I posted my Post #100 and I actually really liked the style I wrote in so I think I'm going to mimic it for Post #200! Feel free to read post #100 to compare and contrast now that I have 100 more posts and 5 more years added!

What I've Learned

My first blogpost was titled "What Started it all - Part I", where I write about the typical Puerto Rican love story of a "Spanish man" and a "Taíno woman" who had fallen in love in Lares, Puerto Rico - my 2nd great-grandparents. By the time I had written that post I had about 7 years of genealogical research under my belt but I had only just begun to scratch the surface of research. There were many doubts about my tree and definitely many, many ancestors' names yet to be discovered. When I began at the age of 14 there were no known (to me) family trees out there, none created by my grandparents, uncles/aunts, parents, or cousins. All I knew at the time when I began my tree were 2 out of 2 parents, 4 out of 4 grandparents, 6 out of 8 grandparents, and 7 out of 16 great-grandparents - though it's a little, it's also a lot compared to what some people start out with.

My First Blog Post - July 4th, 2011 [Personal Photo]

I've been very fortunate that since I started my research and blog I have come pretty far with my pedigree, which I am both fortunate and blessed to have. Various of my lines reach the early 1700s with a few reaching the 1600-1500s and very few the late 1400s when they came over from Spain. A few lines stop at the 1800s due to the lack of records for slaves - these being my lines from Martinique and Guadeloupe. However, "Rome wasn't built in a day"! It's been 15 long years of painstaking research where I have put in literally thousands of hours to search for my ancestors. I have been blessed to be able to travel to Puerto Rico to continue my searches various times, as well as traveling to Mallorca to research my ancestors. I have also been able to visit towns in Spain where my ancestors lived/were from before heading to the New World. Recently, I have been able to continue to test various family members with DNA and across various companies to help triangulate and find new information about who we are on a genetic level.

I've linked above and below various posts to the different themes I've discussed over the years! 

Advances in Genetic Testing

There have been many advances in genetic testing since I first started researching my family, to believe when I first tested with 23andme back in 2010 the cost was somewhere near $600 for one single DNA test! Nowadays, genetic DNA testing has become much cheaper and fairly accessible to many, not only here in the US but in various other countries. Here are some of the more recent posts that highlight these advancements throughout the years. 

My Favorite Discoveries

Since 2014, there have definitely been some exciting finds! These discoveries are a combination of things: from DNA testing, finding new genealogical documents, to discussing/receiving help from other genealogists. There were a wide range of discoveries made, from very intimate ones to discovering my Dávila line's origin in Spain in the 1700s. Listed below are some of the recent discoveries I've been able to make! 

Words of Advice

I would tell myself keep doing what you're doing! I have come a long way since my initial searches and there is still a lot to find out! Researching my family has brought me much closer to Puerto Rico and my identity as a first generation mainland American born citizen. To those of you budding genealogists - it's never too late! Ask family members questions, document what they have to say, and search online to see what you can find. If you're interested in genetic genealogy - test those family members (with permission, of course!) who might be willing to help you learn more about your family's past.

Hopes, Dreams & Aspirations

Reading my post from 2014 it was interesting to see where I was amongst my hopes and dreams for genealogy. There are some I have been able to check off and some that are still on my genealogical "bucket list". For example, being able to travel to Puerto Rico and go around the island to discover the towns, barrios my ancestors lived in, and the churches my ancestors would have married in. I have been fortunate to travel to distinct parts of the island and as of recently meet cousins in Lares, Puerto Rico. I have also been able to travel to Mallorca which was amazing. I still haven't become a professional genealogist, though I'm sure there is still plenty of time and I also haven't been able to travel to Martinique and Guadeloupe yet. I haven't brushed up on my French though hopefully that is in the works and I am still interested in bringing genealogy to my everyday life and profession.

I still dream about connecting Eglantine Lautin to a certain country/tribe in Africa and it would be amazing to have DNA cousins that confirm my ancestors are connected to Martinique and Guadeloupe (I have one potential lead with a cousin but nothing solid yet!). I also want to continue collecting stories and record them to have a digital audio database of stories from my current living family members that I could look back on years from now and listen to. A genealogist's work is never done as you can see!

Here's to 2024 when I complete 20 years of genealogy! Let's see what's in store! 

1 comment:

  1. The little boy looks just like my brother. Genes and endogamy are amazing things!