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Top family posts of the year

Here we are, in the last days of 2016, and The Legal Genealogist is taking just a moment to think back and reflect.

It’s Saturday… the day I usually focus on my family here in the blog. And it’s Christmas Eve even … a day when most of us try very hard to keep the focus on our families.

So here on this Saturday, I’m taking a moment to look back on a year’s worth of once-a-week blog posts about my family… the blog posts that mean the most to me individually — and that often resonate the most deeply with readers.

Sometimes, a family post will break into the top 10 overall for the blog for the year — and this year’s top family post about a loss that hit hard in my family did that.

But whether these posts ever make anybody’s most-read list, they’re certainly among the nearest and dearest to me.

And so I take this opportunity, this Christmas Eve Saturday of 2016, to share with you the top 10 family-related posts of the year.

Let’s do the Top 10 countdown:

At Number 10 for 2016:

Childhood’s end: the place (29 October): “Here. This building. Right here in Dallas, Texas. This is where The Legal Genealogist’s childhood ended.” My visit to the Texas Book Depository building, and the memories of 22 November 1963.

At Number 9:

That newfangled right (5 November): “When, like The Legal Genealogist, you reach Medicare age, the one thing that’s unalterably true is — you’ve seen a lot of elections. … But … just three generations back, there’s my grandmother’s mother. Eula (Baird) Robertson, my great grandmother, was born in Alabama in 1869. She turned 21 in 1890. She was living then in Texas, where women didn’t gain the right to vote until the 19th amendment took effect.”

At Number 8:

The comfort of being held (30 July): “I feel her arms around me today. Today, on what would have been her 95th birthday. Third-born child and oldest surviving daughter of my grandparents, Eula Cladyne (Cottrell) Barrett was born in Colorado City, Mitchell County, Texas, the only one of my grandparents’ 12 children to be born there.”

At Number 7:

Calendaring kindness (26 November): “Advent is not the kind of term you’ll ordinarily find in a legal dictionary. Or in a genealogical dictionary either. But it’s a word that’s going into The Legal Genealogist’s vocabulary, starting tomorrow.”

At Number 6:

The handful (9 July): “It’s one of The Legal Genealogist’s favorite family pictures. In part, because of what it tells us about the boy in the picture. And in part because of what it tells us about the woman who took the picture and whose handwriting appears on the back. You can write some of the story yourself, just by looking at the photo…”

At Number 5:

His name is Martin (7 July): “This is not a genealogy blog post today. Not exactly. It’s certainly a family blog post. And it is one of a desperate fear. A fear on behalf of a little boy The Legal Genealogist loves as deeply as it is possible to love a little boy.”

At Number 4:

Remembering Camp Douglas (20 August): “Chicago genealogist Tony Burroughs posted on Facebook this past week that he had signed a Change.org petition to urge that Camp Douglas be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. “Being a genealogist and historian and knowing the history of Camp Douglas, the Civil War in Chicago and the role of African Americans in the Civil War,” he wrote, “I must sign this petition. I understand the value in getting national recognition. It is an honor to sign.” Boy oh boy is The Legal Genealogist ever in on that one.”

At Number 3:

Another kind of thankfulness (24 November): “This isn’t the post that The Legal Genealogist planned for today. But life has a way of doing that, doesn’t it? Tossing us curveballs. Unexpected twists and turns. Even grief on a day of thanksgiving. Maybe especially grief on a day of thanksgiving. And I am so very thankful today for the life of one Jerry LaStone Cottrell. My Uncle Jerry. Born 10 July 1934 in Midland, Texas. And … sigh … died 22 November 2016.”

At Number 2:

Telling all of the family’s story (27 June): “They have names. The young woman was Ana. The young girl was Mary. They are not merely tick marks in a census column. As individuals and as people, they have names. They were enslaved, yes. But that just makes it all the more The Legal Genealogist’s obligation to set out the full record. To tell all of the family’s story.”

And the Number One family post — one of the hardest but also one of the most deeply felt in my family’s collective heart for 2016:

Sunset in Rising Sun (11 June): “It’s never entirely unexpected when the news comes of the end of a life lived long and well. Any time you can honestly say that someone was vibrant and with it and dynamic almost to the age of 97, loved by her family and her friends and generations of children whom she taught, that’s a life that goes into the books for sure as one lived long and well.
But oh… how it hurts when such a life draws to a close.”

On to 2017… with the usual additional sidetracks into other top 10 lists for this year…

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