Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Evolution of a Blog, December 21, 2016

How shall a person escape from their ancestors,
or draw off from his veins the black drop
which he drew from his father’s or mother’s life?
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings and best wishes to all of you on this week leading up to the Holiday. Merry Christmas to each of you and your family!

William & Bura Davis Shepard, 1915
William Shepard (1888-1976). This coming Christmas Day is the 128th anniversary of the birth of my Grandfather William Shepard. Our Shepard ancestry is firmly rooted in 19th century Indiana and Illinois, the latter being where Granddad was born in 1888. The Shepards then migrated to Oklahoma and Colorado in the early 20th century. But thanks to Granddad William, our Shepard family has now been settled on the West Coast, in particular in San Diego, for more than 75 years. He and his wife Bura Davis Shepard moved their small family to San Diego in 1940 and some of their descendants have lived here ever since. Granddad William died 40 years ago here in San Diego at the ripe old age of 88, yet he remains an important part of our family history. I am grateful for his life and legacy.

Pauline Shepard Russell, 1942
Pauline Shepard Russell (1916-2000). I have recently shared a couple of posts about life in our family 100 years ago. I'd like to take that theme again today. Exactly a century ago, on Christmas Day 1916, William Shepard turned 28 years old. Just three days later, on December 28, his wife Bura gave birth to their first child, Pauline Shepard. At the time they were a struggling young farming family, trying to make it on their own in Beaver County, Oklahoma. At home on a cold winter's day, they rejoiced in Pauline's arrival, the first of four children. It was a joyous celebration of new life, and a time to anticipate even more children, and then grandchildren -- and even some great grandchildren -- who would bless their lives. They would live to celebrate their family's growth to several dozen members, but it all began with Pauline's birth on the cold plains of Oklahoma 100 years ago, in the winter of 1916.

Evolution of a Blog. The Shepard's Crook has evolved over the 9 years that it has been in existence as a family-genealogical blog. It was the last Friday in December, 2007 that I began this blog to research the history of our ancestors and to celebrate their lives and descendants. In that period of time this blog has undergone significant evolution. Over these years I have learned a great deal about how to do family research and have gained more insight into family history than I ever thought possible. 

In these past 9 years I have shared over a thousand pictures of contemporary family as well as family from long ago. And I have reported here on research into dozens of ancestors. It has all been very enjoyable and richly rewarding for me. From the beginning, The Shepard's Crook has been a labor of love, and will continue to be so.

Maida and Barbara Shepard, 2016
In recent months I have had to cut back on the amount of historical research I have done. Family commitments and other personal concerns have brought me to the point where I simply cannot spend as much time with online research, resulting in fewer postings. That trend will probably continue. I remain committed to posting on a regular basis, but it will be less often than it has been over the years. 

Two relationships have been central to this change in Cindy's and my life. One has been our 3 grandchildren, to whom we have given significant time and energy as we have supported our son in his parenting responsibilities. And the other family concern is my mother Maida Shepard, who at 92, is requiring more attention from all her children than ever before. Even Cindy and I, though separated by many miles from the family in Washington State, need to do our part in attending to the needs that mom has in these last years of her beautiful life.
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Steve Shepard

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