Blogging about genealogy is all about the intersection of individual lives with the past and present. I enjoy working the experience of my various ancestors with particular events - those both celebrated and insignificant in the great scheme of things - into what I post and apparently a number of you find that interesting to read as well, even if they are no relations of yours. Personal, eyewitness narrative is a particularly engaging way to animate history, if not always to sort out fact from fiction; for tales, as we know, often grow in the telling.
Still, there is something especially delightful about reading family history that is about your own family, and that is why collateral relations are more important to the genealogist than strictly linear lines of descent. For one thing, the chances that that infuriating break in your family tree that has bedeviled you for years is addressed in the on-line pedigree of some 6th cousin, once removed, are far greater than anyone in your immediate family remembering who was the father of your Gr-gr-gr-gr-gr-gr-great grandmother. One has far more distant relations alive today than close kin, if only one knew where to look for them. Sometimes, thanks to the serendipity of the blogosphere, they find you instead.
I have been thrilled and delighted by long-lost cousins rediscovering our family connections in genealogical posts I have written from time to time at Walking the Berkshires. My 8th great grandfather, George Abbot (t), is a common ancestor I share with Bill West, and both of us have discovered mingled roots in Puritan Essex County, Massachusetts. My post on Keeping Track of the Olmsteds introduced me to Jackie Hunt, a 5th cousin once removed from Missouri who provided additional archival and biographical material on our common ancestor Esther Ingersoll Olmsted. Recently another relation has discovered this post who shares the same relationship to me as Jackie but a much closer relationship to her (2nd cousins) and I have had the pleasure of introducing them to each other.
And today, a comment is posted to a post of mine from December - Dedication - by a distant cousin in France who must have been surprised to find a photograph of him, taken in the early 1980s, with my great Aunt Margie beneath a portrait of his ancestor William Weeks (who married the sister of my ancestor Sarah Gilmore in the early 1800s). He was searching on line for his name and found his family history instead. It is a marvelous way to make a reacquaintance.
So I'll continue to weave the stories of my long departed forebears into the tales I tell. For many of you, I hope the material intrigues and holds your interest. For others, my rediscovered collateral kin, it may turn out to be more like coming home for the holidays.