Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrating 200! Dec 10, 2010

Genealogy without
is mythology
~author unknown

Hello Family and Friends,

Celebrating 200! Today "The Shepard's Crook" is celebrating a milestone: 200 blog entries since I began this enterprise over 5 years ago. It has been a rewarding challenge to write this blog, discussing family, sending out pictures, and sharing family news and history.

In these 200 blog posts I have not only written about a wide variety of family events, stories and individuals, but I have included over 350 family pictures. After all, a family blog without pictures is like a family meal without food. These pictures have included a wide variety of family members, everybody from Ashlyn Ortiz to Zaley Davis, from the newborn Preslea Shepard to the centenarian Nola Shannon Gower.

The first picture I am including today is one I shared a couple of years ago. It is the oldest family picture that I have, and shows Edmond Owens (1795-1854), of Madison County, Illinois, William Shepard's Ggrandfather.

This blog has evolved over the years of its existence. 3 years ago this month it became a family genealogy blog, sharing research into our history and telling family stories, while celebrating our present family life as well. 

People with the surname "Shepard" have been mentioned most often, but the surnames Davis and Gower have also been mentioned regularly, as well as Boyd and Ortiz, Russell and Wilk, and many others as well. A new feature on the front page of this blog lists the 48 different surnames that have been mentioned more than once in these 200 posts. Selecting a name brings up the posts where they are mentioned.

In writing The Shepard's Crook I have learned a lot, as you might imagine. I have become familiar with many online family resources, especially But I have also been able to network with family members I had never met, and some I never knew I had! All of them have broadened my understanding of our wider family.

The second picture (left) is one I have not shared before, and was taken at the home of Elmer and Beryl (Swinney) Shepard just east of San Diego at Thanksgiving 1963. It shows William and Bura (Davis) Shepard and their entire family at this time (except Elmer, who was probably taking the picture).

Writing this blog has also opened my eyes to the difficult but gratifying nature of family research, and has shown me the importance of verifying family information. I have learned that the saying is true: "Genealogy without documentation is mythology."

But most of all this enterprise has shown me how important it is to value family, whether a child, a second cousin, or a GGgrandparent. As we all know, family relationships can be challenging and difficult at times. But family also gives life its deepest meaning, and can move us to create a better world. 

After all, if you do enough research you might just find that you are related to everyone else in the world. This point was brought home to me in two recent news items. One showing that President Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are related (imagine that!). And the other claiming that everyone is your 16th cousin.

In this celebration of 200 I must say a special thanks to all of you who read this blog. Especially those of you who have done more than just read, and have responded by sharing with me news and updates and family stories and pictures (and corrections!). I look forward to continuing this blog, in order to celebrate, research and document this mysterious, wonderful and unique family of ours. I welcome your input.
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