A relaunch of sorts

A new look, a new focus…

The header image above was taken from a bluff on property my paternal grandfather, Peter Ernest Arnold, owned near Gladstone, North Dakota, beginning around November 1915, when he and my grandmother, Magdalena Wehner, were married. I haven’t yet sorted out how they acquired the land. As far as I can tell, they weren’t the original homesteaders because I haven’t found a Bureau of Land Management land patent in either of their names for the property.

This overlook is a short distance from the family’s first home, a small sod hut that, in rainy or snowy weather, offered little protection to its inhabitants. Peter and Magdalena eventually built a modest three-bedroom home in a protected valley below the bluff, adjacent to the Green River. Together they parented 12 children, 11 of whom survived to adulthood. Their older children recalled the hardships they endured when the family lived in the sod hut, but the younger children (my father, their 7th child, included), reported little want. Between crops, Grandpa’s prized orchard and garden, livestock, and hunting, they had plenty to eat and, though they were usually barefoot during warm weather months, each child had new shoes before the start of the school year.

It is an understatement to say that I have become fascinated with genealogy. I never imagined a few months ago when a cousin asked for information about me and my siblings that those questions would be the genesis of a new (and thoroughly absorbing) hobby. Since then, genealogy has, quite honestly, become something of an obsession. I am thrilled when I stumble across a detail-filled obituary from one of my ancestors, but I simultaneously celebrate/cringe when I realize that this new discovery means I must add another 2-4-6-8-10 (or more) people to the family tree. I’m still struggling to find a reasonable middle ground between pursuing every lead and focusing my attention on our family’s central figures.

Thus, I have decided for now to concentrate on genealogy research and related documentation. I’m in the beginning stages of planning a 2017 trip to southwest North Dakota to obtain records and/or photographic evidence of the places family members called home. Until then, I will continue pursuing a combination of original records, family history, and relevant research to better understand the life and times of my ancestors.

It’s been nearly two months since my last blog post. Since then I’ve considered a range of actions including closing my blog entirely, setting it to private, or starting a new blog for genealogy purposes. Finally, after much waffling, I’ve decided to retain my original blog title but to shift the focus of my writing to genealogy instead of its original topics of photography, post-processing, and scrapbooking. I may eventually return to those pursuits, but for the time being I believe documenting family history will be the best use of my discretionary time.

So, as I move on with this new interest, I want to take a moment to thank each of my regular readers—Alexa, Allison, Becs, Brenda, Cathy, Gail, Lee, Miriam, and Sian. I very much appreciate your support over the four or so years that I’ve been blogging. Your comments have been enthusiastic and encouraging, and I have enjoyed participating with you in various classes, challenges, and memes. Each of you brings something uniquely creative to the blogosphere so I will continue to keep an eye out, via my reader, for your posts. Take care, my friends, and happy blogging.

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9 thoughts on “A relaunch of sorts

  1. Hi I am very much interested in the history you have compiled on the Arnold family and would appreciate it if you would email me.. My name is Elaine and my mother was Anna Arnold. Thank you.

  2. So glad to see you posting again and new directions are always intriguing – and I am sure you will bring lots of interesting, thoughtful and enlightening moments into our lives as you search and pursue this new avenue. Exciting times!

  3. I got hooked on genealogy when my father died, trying to solve the mystery of who he really was and where he came from. It was an amazing journey and so fulfilling to be able to answer life-long questions. I’m not doing any research currently, but I do enjoy reading your family stories. I’ll still be here, following along as long as you’ll let us! PS – I love your new header. How wonderful to know the exact place your ancestors lived…and to have a photo of it. It’s beautiful.

  4. Hello Wanda, Oh congratulations on sorting out what you want to concentrate on. I do admire your research. You may or may not know that following my mothers passing some ten years ago now I decided to investigate her family tree. I was looking for her and for answers to the many questions I never asked. I made a web site, all technical stuff was my husbands and I began to make phone calls. I phoned every one of her family that I could and they gave me information and then they gave me more. I loved it, it took days and weeks and months and years. I was fascinated by the living though, I loved tracking down all the aunts cousins and all the new babies. I know that even though I don’t research anymore the web pages and the tree are still there for me to pick up one day. You blog posts will be a wonderful addition to your tree, you write so well. Lots of my family have told me how valuable, informative, and sometimes amusing my work still is so I wish you all the luck in the world, I’ll still look in, of course I will. Much love Miriam x

  5. I’m not going anywhere either! Looking forward to this new journey of yours – and Brenda is right, I love the passion that comes through your writing. xx

  6. I’ll still be here! Family History is another passion of mine – when I was little I made a big family tree and I still have it. I’d love to have the time to research more and I just know I’m going to enjoy following along with your discoveries so please do continue to post. I’ll be waiting..

  7. I for one will continue to pop by for a catch up on your family tree…like Brenda, It’s not something I would pursue myself but I will enjoy reading about your finds- happy hunting!
    Alison xx

  8. Wanda – go for it, girl! We each must follow our passions, wherever they might lead. I find your work fascinating (at least in the abstract sense – it isn’t something I wouldn’t want to do myself). It is because I can sense that passion in your writings – and we are all attracted to someone who is passionately involved in their work. I will continue to follow along with interest.

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