This year has been a difficult year for our family, consequently, it has been challenging for me to keep up with blogging. But as I looked back over my blog posts, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much progress has been made.

Among the highlights are new cousin connections which led to new clues, new photos and personal stories about common ancestors. One special lady, Sue Conklin, shared a beautiful picture of an ancestor, Lucille Rainwater, as well as details about Lucille’s life. Although I had found a great deal about Lucille through research, there were gaps of understanding that only a living direct descendant could provide and I was so thankful for Sue’s help. I shared Lucille’s story HERE. Betty Wedgeworth, a distant Gurganus cousin, found my blog and generously wrote and shared several stories about our Gurganus family, including a beautiful photo and story about her grandmother Lillie and her unbelievably long hair, which I shared HERE.  

The photo restoration company 399Retouch contacted me and offered to restore several of my old photos, so I sent them a couple of my most challenging photos. I was very pleased with the results and I shared those on my blog HERE and HERE. (Several of my friends, including one whose photos were damaged in a flood, have since used them and been extremely happy with the results.) 

Thanks to obituaries obtained through the Chattanooga Public Library, I was able to make considerable progress on my Faucett and Fricks line. One of the obituaries led me to a distant cousin who provided a photo of Burton Bartow Ganus, the son of David Ganus who was a brother to my second great grandfather, John Monroe Ganus. I was so excited the day I opened the mailbox and saw the manilla envelope with the words, “Photos, do not bend.”  I tell that story HERE


It’s always interesting to see which blog posts were visited the most. The following posts were my most popular, do you remember any of these? 

Getting Recharged – In this blog post I shared my experience when I attended the BCG* Lectures held in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 

Making Sorghum Molasses the Old Way – Cousin Floyd Ganus, a descendant of Robert Lee Ganus and Stella Montgomery, shared his memory of learning to make sorghum molasses with his grandfather. 

Photos! Do Not Bend! – In this post, I shared the excitement of finding a new cousin and of the letter and photos that she sent. 

Guest Blogger-Lisa Lisson – Blogger Lisa Lisson, author of the blog, Are You My Cousin? shared some tips and tricks for identifying old photos. 

Just a Beat up Ole Fork – Sometimes the simplest possessions can become treasures to the recipient. What began as a preference of a particular eating utensil at my grandma’s dinner table, became a connection to a grandfather I never knew. 

Where is My Peach Pie?  Distant cousin, Betty Wedgeworth shared a humorous story about my third cousin twice removed, Benjamin Powell Gurganus “Dock” and his wife Trannie J. Cain. The story made me laugh and left me wishing I had known them personally. 

A Poor Substitute for a Sandwich In this blog post, I share an entry from my grandma’s personal history where she shares her introduction to a sandwich she had never heard of before. 


It’s really interesting to see which of my blog posts over the years continue to draw visitors. The most popular posts all include a little mystery and most needed several posts to tell the full story. The following continue to be the top posts: 

The Stories Their Faces Tell -In this post, I share the sad realization of why my great-grandfather’s brother, Newton L. Ganus’s was the only one smiling in the family photo. 

From Murder Scene to Picnic Spot – Shirttail cousin, Claude Chambers visits the scene of a murder in our family history and is surprised to see what the spot has become over the years. 

Piecing Together Their Lives– This is a three-part series in which I share the exciting email I received from cousin Karen and the discovery that resulted. 

Moonshining in Alabama – There really is no competition when it comes to this three part series about a murder trial of a moonshining ancestral cousin. Written in 2013, this continues to be the most popular post on my blog.   

This past year I continued to pursue opportunities to learn by attending Rootstech 2016 in February, the BCG Lectures in SLC in October, and in December I finally completed the last of the required courses for a certificate in American research from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies

I’ve also continued to interview bloggers as part of the “May I Introduce to You” team at GeneaBloggers which has provided many wonderful opportunities to get to know other bloggers and to learn from them. Everyone has a story to tell and experience to share. 

All in all, there have been many good things this past year. Hopefully, the coming year will bring more new cousin connections, more family tree discoveries, and more opportunities to learn and share.

*BCG is an acronym for the Board for the Certification of Genealogist

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

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20 thoughts on “A Look Back before Moving Forward 2016

  1. Michelle, reading through your achievements this year, I can imagine your excitement opening those envelopes with photos and obits! How did you find time for "May I Introduce" interviews in between everything else? Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2017.

  2. Michelle. I totally understand about tough years, having lost my Mom last March.
    Your blog is always a joy to read. Your stories and the way you tell them bring your family to life. I particularly loved your post about the old fork. I wish you and your family a blessed and Happy New Year. Here's to another year of family discoveries.

  3. Totally amazed to read this inspiring summary. Blogging is such an incremental process that it's gratifying to pause and look back at what can be accomplished, even in a difficult year. Wishing you and your family the best in the New Year.

  4. Michelle, I'm sorry to hear it was a difficult year for you. I hope your life follows a positive path in 2017. It is a good idea to look back before moving forward, much like our family histories. Your blog is always a wonderful read & I look forward to reading many more posts in 2017. Happy New Year.

  5. From a reader's perspective it was a great year with great posts. And thanks to one of them I will be sharing my own photo restoration from 399Retouch later this week. Congrats on the certificate, I look forward to hearing more about your research this year!

  6. A late happy new year Michelle. Thanks for all the great blogs over 2016! I'm really interested in the photo retouching, been looking for a reputable company, it's nice to get a recommendation.

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