Looking Back: A Review of 2017

Earlier this week, I read a blog from a cherished fellow blogger, Jeanne Bryan Insalaco.  On her site, Everyone Has a Story, she included a year end review of her writing experiences for 2017.  She included the information from another genealogist that invited readers to write about their discoveries.  Once I read the two blogs, I wanted to share my adventures too.  I have provided the original link from Jill Ball.




1.  A brick wall I demolished and an elusive ancestor I found was my great-grandmother, Annie Strassburg.  After years of hitting dead ends one evening while writing my family blog, I decided to give it one more try, and I found a newspaper site, Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection, that had numerous articles about my grandmother. I discovered where she lived, when she died, and where she was buried. This news gave such an overwhelming sense of peace because I had searched for years and tried to discover the name of the cemetery and the place of her burial.


2.  A great newspaper article I found was the newspaper articles about my great-grandmother, Annie Strassburg. I discovered news clippings that claimed she had abandoned her husband the day after the two married! She didn’t even stick around for the honeymoon!

3.  A geneajourney I took was an unexpected road trip over the summer. After the death of my brother, I hit the road for a couple of weeks. In July, I attended a family reunion in my mom’s hometown, Hotchkiss, Colorado. It was great reconnecting with family. While I was visiting, I went to explore my grandparent’s old ranch and viewed the small cabin where my family once lived. One highlight was visiting with cousins, David Allen and his daughter Nancy. Another cousin, Nina Allen Campbell, invited me to her home. I enjoyed my stay with her and Dale. Although I had not seen them for years, the two made me feel right at home. Nina gave me so much information about the Allen family, and she shared pictures, histories, and stories. I didn’t want to leave, and I look forward to visiting with her and Dale again.

4.  An important record I was given was a hand typed family tree that a family member gave my grandmother years ago. Since my aunt, Janice Snyder, knew I started researching our family origins, she passed this document to me. The genealogy record was for the La Duke family, and it provided information that helped me identify the people in a family photo.

washington1 copy
Lineage of George Washington, 08/1873

5. A geneasurprise I received was discovering I was related to George Washington. While researching my 6x great-grandparents, Henry Enochs and Rebecca Ross, I found that they knew George Washington. Before Washington became president, he was a surveyor, and he surveyed my grandfather’s land. Through research, I located a letter and a map that Washington had issued. Since I love history, I checked some historical sites that catered to George Washington. One had a family tree, so I decided to check it out. While scrolling through the names, I discovered some familiar names that I recognized. We shared the same distant grandparents, Lawrence Townley and Margaret Hartley. Yes, I still have to pinch myself on this one!

Anne Bradstreet

6. My 2017 blog post that I was particularly proud of was “Crossing Paths with Anne Bradstreet.” When I discovered that she was my 8x great-grandmother, I went into shock! I couldn’t believe the famous Puritan poet from Massachusetts Bay was related. In college, I remembered reading about her. Although she was a woman of character and had a strong faith in God, she was somewhat of a rebel for her time, and I loved her dedication to her craft even though Puritan Society deemed such works as folly.

7.   I made a new genimate, Jeanne Bryan Insalaco, who encouraged me in my endeavors in sharing my family blog. In addition, I enjoyed reading her stories about her family. Each week, I looked forward to reading her blog, Everyone Has a Story.  Her tales always brought up fond memories of my childhood.

Annie Strassburg Bryant

8.  A new piece of technology I mastered was my Canon Lide 220. To be honest, the term “mastered ” would not be appropriate, for I haven’t worked out all the kinks just yet. Still, this contraption has allowed me to save family photos and histories to my computer! Yay me!

9. I joined Geneology Bloggers this year. This Facebook group became a great resource, and I connected with others who also share family stories. Some even provided great articles on how to research your family tree. My new genealogy buddy, Jeanne Bryan Insalaco, suggested that I should join this group, and it was another positive step that has helped with my research and created a fun place to share my family stories.

10. A genealogy event from which I learned something new was the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. This writing challenge came from Amy Johnson Crow from her site No Story Too Small. For me, this journey offered an exciting and fun way to save the stories I found through my research. Near the end of this adventure, I felt as I had completed a writing marathon, for I had written over 52 stories about my family! In fact, it challenged me to start a writing challenge of my own making because I didn’t want the writing to end. In October, I created “My Tales Writing Challenge 2018” and posted it on my blog in November, so I would continue writing. Hopefully, others might become involved too.

Arrival of the Brides by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

11. A blog post that taught me something new was some exciting information about my French Canadian roots. While searching my family tree, I realized that twelve of my distant grandmothers were Filles du Roi or King’s daughters. Recruited by King Louis XIV, the women sailed to New France to help settle and populate the frontier in the Canadian wilderness.

12.  A DNA discovery I made was that I had trace amounts of DNA from the Iberian Peninsula. I found this DNA included the areas of Spain and Portugal, but it also included France, Morocco, Algeria, and Italy. I was excited about my colorful roots!

13. A great site I visited was The Washington Papers from the University of Virginia. I spent hours and days reading and viewing George Washington’s correspondence and documents.

14. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Indian Warfare in Western Pennsylvania and North West Virginia at the Time of the American Revolution, edited by Jared Lobdell. It included narratives and historical accounts of early frontiersmen. It also provided information about my family, the Hupps. One story was about Anne Rowe Hupp, the wife of an uncle who saved her family and neighbors during an uprising with the Shawnee in 1782, at Buffalo Creek, Pennsylvania.


15. I am excited for 2018 because the year 2017 offered such an adventurous journey. The reason I started this blog was to preserve family memories; I never expected that my little family blog would help others who were researching family too. Hopefully, as the year unfolds, this endeavor will have presented additional discoveries and fun-loving tales, revealed more cousins in the family tree, and will have continued to include warm friendships that will last a lifetime.

16. Another positive I would like to share is that I discovered many people in my family served in the military.  I found members of my family that fought for this country from the very beginning.  Distant grandfathers fought in the Pequot War and the French and Indian War.  Many of the men in my family served in American Revolution, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean Conflict.

In addition, I learned some of our family members were Mormon pioneers that traveled to Utah. Once I started looking into this information, I found that both my maternal and paternal family had ties to the Mormon Church. Some cousins were among prominent members of the early church. When I began researching, I discovered that some wrote hymns, and others belonged to the Mormon Battalions. Families traveled with the Willie Handcart Company, and others journeyed with the Hunt and Hodgetts Wagon Trains. Others were apostles to the church, and some were witnesses for the Book of Mormon.

Here’s to another fun-filled adventure!


Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

5 thoughts on “Looking Back: A Review of 2017

  1. Ann Marie… Great Year of Review post. It seems you had as much fun as I did in putting mine together… and thanks for the compliment and link to mine. I’m going to try and keep a notebook this year, so I’m better prepared for my 2018 review… now let’s see how well that goes. LOL I really enjoyed going down the road of 2017 with you. Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

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