Friday, December 27, 2019

2019 Year-End Review

Family Sleuther had one goal in 2019. Just one.

My aim was to finish writing and publish my book about my fifth great-grandfather Thomas Kirk.

Yet, here we are, the clock ticking down to the year's end and I've not accomplished that one genealogy endeavor.

Sure, a lot of progress was made on the manuscript. However, the chief complicating factor (aside from limited time) was that I encountered a lot of new research avenues that held the potential to reshape Thomas' origins story. 

It would be ridiculous to publish without thoroughly investigating each new lead. So, the year is drawing to a close and the book remains undone. 

But the prospects for 2020 are quite promising.

Blogging Family History

This year-end recap is my 40th post in 2019. That's seven fewer posts than I wrote last year or the two years prior. Not only did I not achieve my year's goal, but my blogging output dipped. Nonetheless, I'm still celebrating!

In my defense, the 15% decrease in published posts wasn't due to a waning interest in writing family history. My excuse was travel.

On the road again

I traveled a lot. In fact, in 2019 I traveled - for work or pleasure - every month beginning in January. Some of these travels touched on family history.

  • In January, I traveled to San Francisco for work and was able to trace the footsteps (and recreate a photo) of my great-grandfather Samuel Kirk who served in the Motor Transport Corps while based at the Presidio during WWI.

  • In May, work took me to London where I was able to squeeze in some research time at the Society of Genealogists and locate my ancestors in the 1841 census, learning that they had been copper miners before emigrating to America and continuing that profession in the Rocky Mountains.

These are just some of the travel highlights that included family history. Clearly, I covered a lot of ground (and need to get a new wardrobe... apparently I like that red checkered shirt, a lot!).

Did you read it?

This year's top three most-read posts were:

  1. The Trials and Tribulations of Triangulation*
  2. RootsTech 2019: Daily Recap
  3. Family Rumors Beget A Genetic Conundrum

*My most-read post of the year got me into hot water with some genetic genealogists who rightly flagged the challenges inherent with triangulation. I corrected the record in The Limits of Triangulation

Those were the most widely read posts, but there were others that told important stories, including:

These three posts detail just a few of the research leads I'm pursuing in my Kirk family history, which have necessitated the delay in writing and publishing my book.

A year of accomplishment

There were many research discoveries this year, and although I didn't finish my intended goal, I did make progress which will ensure that the final product is a more thorough and accurate volume.

Here's to a happy and productive 2020 for all of us.


  1. I loved following your travels this year. And what a great excuse it was! Even if you didn't finish your goal, you got a lot squeezed into the year. Here's to seeing your book published in 2020.

    1. Thank you, Cathy! Here's to lots more family history in 2020 - for the both of us.

  2. Whew, that wore me out just reading about all your travel. Admirable!

    1. And that's not even all of it! Just the trips with family history. Whew!

  3. I have really enjoyed your blog and look forward to following your 2020 adventures!

    1. Likewise, Amy! Here's to a productive 2020 for both of us.

  4. Congratulations on your accomplishments this year. It's always important to follow those leads, which will make a better book!

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I'm following them and hoping the final product is indeed better because of it. Fingers crossed.

  5. I'm a new fan of your blog! Great posts. If you ever need another lookup at the Society of Genealogists let me know! PS I have a favourite travel ensemble too!

    1. Thank you for the kind offer, Penny. I appreciate it! I may very well take you up on it. :)