Today is the First Blogiversary of Molly’s Canopy — the family history blog that I launched on 24 April 2014 to begin sharing the stories of my ancestors and the roads I traveled to find them.
In weekly posts for the past year, I have primarily chronicled the Civil War experience of my paternal great, great, grandfather Union Pvt. Arthur Bull of the 6th N.Y. Heavy Artillery.
So it seems fitting to celebrate the First Blogiversary of Molly’s Canopy with a one-gun salute by Union artillery reenactors.
This blog came to life amid the boom of cannon at my first Civil War reenactment — the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Saunders Field where my ancestor fought.
And out of that illuminating cloud of gun smoke marched ancestors who have waited patiently for years in my research files — advancing, at last, to tell their stories.
First came my great, great grandfather Arthur Bull who — despite war-related illness — was on duty for key battles of the U.S. Civil War during the 1864 Overland and Shenandoah Valley campaigns.
Soon, others joined him. Arthur’s wife, my great, great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull, their children and extended family. His 6th N.Y.H.A. commanding officer Bvt. Brig. Gen. J. Howard Kitching and fellow artillerists Capt. John Gedney, Sgt. William Thistleton and Pvt. Orson L. Reynolds — whose writings helped animate Arthur’s wartime experience.
Then my late dad Norm Charboneau, a WWII Navy veteran, who traveled with me on many genealogy research trips and helped me discover Arthur’s story — along with numerous valuable clues about our other mutual ancestors.
Next was my Uncle Fred, dad’s youngest brother, whose letters home from his WW II Army assignment give insights into their family life — and Aunt Gig who gave his letters to Dad.
And most recently, my paternal Irish great, great grandparents Katherine and William Patrick Dempsey and family during their years in Civil War Baltimore, Md.
For the past year this blog has taken me on an incredible, almost magical, journey back through time — as I connected my ancestors to the places and circumstances in which they lived, the great historic events that shaped their lives, and their unique position in the evolution of my family.
Writing my ancestors’ stories also reconnected me in ways I would not have imagined with my decades of genealogy research. The process helped me identify and evaluate unexamined details in my family history files — and pointed me toward new avenues of research and discovery.
Today, as I celebrate the First Blogiversary of Molly’s Canopy and the beloved ancestors who made it possible, I am so grateful that I went looking for them all those years ago. They have taught me a lot during the past year — and the journey is far from over.
Tomorrow begins year two, during which new ancestors will make themselves known. My heartfelt thanks to readers of Molly’s Canopy who have hung in with me this past year. And a warm welcome to new readers — I hope you will subscribe and join me on the journey.
© 2015 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.