Motivation Monday: Eight Years of Sharing Stories – and Here’s to Many More!


Eight years…can it really be that long?
My trusty Underwood typewriter, its ribbon now worn,
keeps  me company as I write.  A gift from my great-aunt
Detty, it once belonged to my great-grandfather Thomas
McGinnis, who used it to write an autobiography
of his adventures at sea.
Actually, it’s eight years and two days…171 posts, and 30,959 page views.
That’s right. According to Google statistics for this site, Many Branches, One Tree has had 30,959 page views since it debuted on June 21, 2006.
I remember my first post, a “welcome” message to my new readers and a hesitant dip into the world of family history writing.  For as long as it took to get started, it was a good thing I wrote that piece on the longest day of the year.
To be sure, 171 posts over eight years pale next to the number of posts written by some of my more prolific family history colleagues who impressively post a story (or more) every day.  By comparison, 171 posts works out to more like 21 stories per year, or almost two posts per month.  
At this rate, I won’t break any records.  On the other hand, despite the urgency I feel to write about the lives of the people who have paved the way for us, I also struggle to fit it into the balance of family time, work, and play. 
So I write what I can, the best way I can, as often as I can.  And it comes down to this:  if you, dear reader, not only learn the facts about the people who appear on this site but you also can picture yourself in their shoes, in their predicaments, in their journeys; if you can feel the air about them and hear the rhythm of their hearts through their words and actions, then I have done my job.
Don’t ask me to pick a favorite story.  That’s like asking which of my three children I love the most. The answer is that each post is different, yet I feel attached to all of them.  Whatever I am writing becomes my “favorite” at that moment.
It’s easier to look ahead. My future plans are to explore my husband’s family, the Tullys, Barons, Hoppins, Makepeaces, Fays, and Rineys. It’s only fair that our children know more about my husband’s side of the family, a fascinating group of people with an amazing history.  Eventually, I will come back to my ancestors, as the McGinnises, Huescas, Perrotins, and O’Gradys still beckon for attention.  

Is there a book in here somewhere?  Some have suggested there is and have encouraged me to write one.  It is a tempting thought.

Lastly, my own children have asked me to write autobiographical pieces, so they will know their own mother’s stories.  I want to do this for them but am somewhat reluctant to do it here. We will have to explore the options.

Here are some fun statistics about this site.
According to Blogger, the five most popular posts until now:
1.  Family Recipe Friday:  Arroz con Leche, the story of my Abuelita (Grandmother) Catalina (Perrotin) Huesca’s comfort food, Mexican Rice Pudding, wins the prize for most views at 1,194.  If only there were a prize – I suppose it would have to be a dish of the real thing.
2.  Madness Monday:  Cold War Mania, about my family’s experience during the Cuban Missile Crisis and my parents’ decision to move us to Mexico.  That story has been viewed 505 times.  It was not viewed much when it appeared a year ago, but every day it seems to attract more readers.  I can’t figure out why.
3.  Remembering Mary Jane and Elizabeth Gaffney garnered 410 views. My best guess is that people liked my mother’s first-person childhood memories of her grandmother and great-aunt, who raised her during the Great Depression.
4.  Family Recipe Friday:  Abuelita’s Mexican RicePeople really like stories about food! This was another story about my grandmother’s cooking.  Well, she was known for her culinary talents and her warm way of making people feel loved. Whether it was cooking for my grandfather, their 11 children, her mother and sister, or the family’s guests at their hotels and restaurants in 1920s Mexico, her most important ingredient was the love she put into it – and that made it memorable.  363 views.

5.  Patricia Ann Fay, a biography of my delightful mother-in-law, was viewed 284 times.  I only wish she were still alive to see that, but at least my darling husband can enjoy the thought that his mother has touched many people’s lives.

Those readers, and more, come from all over the world.  Sitemeter, a visitor counter, counts the top ten countries, along with the number of readers in each:
United States     17,948
Russia                   5,099
Mexico                     794
Canada                     732
Germany                  637
France                      527
United Kingdom     511
Poland                      315
Ukraine                    210
China                       208
Readers are split almost evenly among the sexes, with 46% females and 54% males.  Though many are referred here by other blogs and websites (most of them genealogy-related), the majority come from Google searches, Pinterest pages, and the Geneabloggers website.  Some of the most popular phrases in Google searches have been:
cold war
many branches one tree
Conneaut Ohio
Nickel Plate Railroad Conneaut
Hyde Park
origin of Huesca name
It has been a joy to memorialize family members (and occasionally, close family friends) on this site and to hear your own insights.  Sometimes you offer thoughtful speculations and  share new revelations.  Sometimes you discover a common ancestor, or something our ancestors had in common with us.  The best times are when you rediscover family  you either thought you knew or never knew – or we discover each other.  It sends a chill down my spine every time.  You make this site worthwhile.
I am pleased and honored that you have taken the time to share your own memories and insights.    Sometimes, I have even had the thrill of meeting “new” cousins, from near and far.  What blessings you are!
Many thanks to all of you.  Whether we share a common ancestor or simply a common love of family, tradition, and a good story, I am grateful to you for reading, commenting, and even sharing this site.  

Now, let’s get back to those stories.



Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

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