400 posts at Vita Brevis

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This photo of the Society’s Newbury Street exterior at night illustrated the first Vita Brevis post in January 2014.

Friday’s post, by Steven Solomon of the Society’s Development team, marked the four hundredth blog post at Vita Brevis. Since its launch in January 2014, the blog has featured posts by 64 bloggers, almost all of them NEHGS staff members, with a few outside contributors or transcribed interviews making up the remainder. What does the genealogical mosaic about which I wrote in the first post at Vita Brevis look like after eighteen months in the blog’s life?

Alicia Crane WilliamsOne of the most prolific bloggers, Alicia Crane Williams (with 60 posts to date), can serve as an exemplar: she has covered probate inventories and mourning rings, ear marks and horse censuses and Plymouth’s Forefathers’ Day, the ways the perfectionist nature of genealogical researchers can sometimes get in the way of publishing one’s findings – and, of course, the myriad ways she researches, writes, and publishes entries for the Early New England Families Study Project.

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Sam’s great-grandfather and great-aunt.

Another popular blogger, Sam Sturgis of the Website team, has written on an unexpected overture from an unknown cousin; how best to search journals on AmericanAncestors.org and, more generally, how to use AmericanAncestors.org’s search functions; on Robert Henry Eddy, whose bequest to NEHGS helped pay for the published Massachusetts Vital Records series of the early twentieth century; on the interesting provenance of middle names in his family; and on the detective novelist lurking inside every genealogist!

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Penny Stratton in the Society’s Treat Rotunda.

As editor of the blog, I’ve written a number of omnibus posts collecting related pieces in one place; in addition to periodically marking a new benchmark number of posts at Vita Brevis, I’ve collected some of the international research posts (here and here). In two posts spanning the New Year, I reflected on a dozen posts from 2014 that, again, captured some of the variety of the blog’s content, from Penny Stratton‘s admonition to readers that they write “what you know (and can prove)” to Kyle Hurst’s story of reviewing family scrapbooks with her grandfather.

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Robert Charles Anderson

So what does the future hold for Vita Brevis? It’s hard to say; safer to add that there’s no question that Robert Charles Anderson, Christopher C. Child, Sheilagh Doerfler, Katrina Fahy, Lindsay Fulton, Zachary Garceau, Henry Hoff, Alice Kane, David Allen Lambert, Eileen Pironti, Meaghan E. H. Siekman, and Leslie Ann Weston – not to mention almost 50 other writers – will appear on the blog with some frequency, and, of course, with an interesting point of view and fresh insights on how best to tackle tricky research problems!

About Scott C. Steward

Scott C. Steward was the founding editor at Vita Brevis; he served as NEHGS Editor-in-Chief 2013-2022. He is the author, co-author, or editor of genealogies of the Ayer, Le Roy, Lowell, Saltonstall, Thorndike, and Winthrop families. His articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, NEXUS, New England Ancestors, American Ancestors, and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and he has written book reviews for the Register, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

2 thoughts on “400 posts at Vita Brevis

  1. Vita Brevis has been a most helpful and enjoyable addition to the NEHGSociety work. Reading each article and saving many, the clues to next steps have been most helpful. As my work on the biographical sketches of each lineal ancestor continues, I have found thought provoking clues in many of the items posted. Alicia Crane Williams work on the second generation New England families has been extremely valuable and provided some very important materials on several of my ancestors. Please keep this program going and continue to provide the many stories and helpful hints. Alan H. Hawkins alanhhawkins@gmail.com

  2. I have been a faithful reader of your blog posts for the past six months. They provide me with insights into genealogical research that I plan to do more of in 2016. Thanks and keep up the good, quality work. And hats off to Christopher Child who really helped me sort out some DNA genealogical mysteries of my own family in early 2014. Chris–I am still working on the who my maternal grandmother was…but I hope to find this out with more concerted research in the near future.

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