Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award

No doubt you're well aware of the Thinking Blogger Award meme that's been sweeping through the genea-blogger world. The footnoteMaven very kindly nominated me for the award, calling me a "Blogger par excellence, who directs our thoughts in chronicling our own lives." I'm very deeply honored, Maven! Folks, the footnoteMaven is on my "must read" list, and she deserves to be on yours, as well!


Here are the rules for the meme:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. Tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking!

2. The origin of the meme is "Too Many Blogs, Not Enough Thoughts!" at The Thinking Blog.

3. Display the Thinking Blogger Award with a link to the post that you wrote.

This wasn't an easy task. First off, I wanted to stay true to the principle behind this award, and list blogs that really made me think. Secondly, many of the thoughtful genealogy bloggers that immediately came to mind had been tagged before I could write this post (of course!). So with some more pondering (I am a thinker, after all!) and a little creative "thinking outside the box," I now give you my list:
  1. One of the most thoughtful bloggers I read is no longer with us. Ken Aitken posted his helpful tips on being an effective genealogy researcher, speaker, writer, and educator at Genealogy Education. I considered him one of my mentors and am so sad that there will no longer be any new wise thoughts he can share with us. His son has graciously kept his blog up on the Internet, and I still revisit to relearn or get new ideas. Yes, I realize that Steve Danko has also posthumously given this award to Ken; in my humble opinion, Ken deserves it many times over!

  2. Before I had the pleasure of meeting Michael John Neill last fall at my local genealogical society's October Workshop, I had already been a huge fan of his blog, Rootdig, and the articles he writes for various genealogical publications. Michael's posts on his blog generally run short, and thus the lessons he shares are very effective. They do make me stop and ponder the point he's making. His "Can You Read It?" posts really make me think...many are true head-scratchers! Another reason I like his blog: he often references his research on his Frisian ancestors; his come from Germany, while mine hail from the Netherlands.

  3. Speaking of the Netherlands, Hank van Kampen has a very good blog, fittingly titled Trace Your Dutch Roots. Hank's blog has made me understand that no matter how much I learn about research in a certain location or culture, there's always more to discover! It's also very helpful to know there is someone I could turn to if I got stuck on a certain Dutch genealogical research challenge! In addition to his genealogy interests, Henk also has two other blogs, Masterpieces--highlighting masterpieces of art, literature, and architechture--and Haagse Prenten (Images of the Hague), featuring images of the capital city of his country. Take a look at his reading list at Masterpieces, and you'll agree with me that Henk is a thinker!

  4. Very Short Novels by David Hodges, a.k.a. David B. Dale, make me think, and think, and think some more. In fact, a visit to VSN usually leaves me feeling like my brain has been turned upside down or inside out, or both. Never before have I seen someone take 299 (or less) words and write a complete, compact, conflicting, emotional and thought-provoking novel! One of the David's great abilities is to re-write his novel from another character's point of view. Ah, the twists (and hence, the brain flip-flops)! So what does this have to do with genealogy? On the surface, nothing; and yet I believe the mind exercises involved in reading and comprehending these novels are great for strengthening the outside-the-box processes that good genealogists need.

  5. I just discovered that my fifth nomination for the Thinking Blogger Award had already received it (not surprising); and as I am too exhausted to hunt though my long list of the many blogs I read to find another (!), I'll leave you with this: Peter Haslam's Necessary Skills is chock-full of insightful, inspirational posts that educate his readers on thinking about what they are thinking, changing and improving their thinking, and utilizing their thinking for personal growth and fulfillment. Again, the relationship to genealogy is obvious to me: when faced with a brick wall, we often need to critique our thought process. Is the problem our ancestor's lack of records or our own incorrect or undeveloped thinking about the situation?

[A hat tip to Bill West of West in New England and Tim Agazio of Genealogy Reviews Online for their mentions of me in their own Thinking Blogger Award posts.]
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