Well, here we are. 2012 is quickly drawing to a close. This time last year this blog didn’t even exist. I was working feverishly to get everything set up on the back end, not to mention finalizing the actual Jordan’s Journey book. I opened the blog to the public on January 1st, 2012. And it’s been going strong ever since. Here’s a little overview of the past year…
After I opened the blog, the trailer was the main attraction. A few posts later, I showed you all the book cover for the first time. By February the book was officially available and out in the world. This included my submission of Jordan’s Journey to the National Genealogical Society’s award for excellence for a Genealogy & Family History book. Unfortunately, Jordan’s Journey didn’t win that award. For any of you that have actually seen the book, you know it’s a radical departure from what a genealogy book normally is. I imagine NGS just didn’t know what to think of it. When I met some people from NGS in October at The Genealogy Event here in New York, I showed them the book and mentioned how I entered the contest but did not win. “Well, in terms of design, if there was such a category, you certainly would have won.” This shows that while Jordan’s Journey is viewed primarily as a genealogy/local history book, it is–just as I intended–much more than that too. The visual aspect of the work is what draws people in.
The most rewarding part of this year with Jordan’s Journey was when I had the opportunity to bring it back to Georgia and appear in the Rome News-Tribune, the Summerville News, the Walker County Messenger (front page!), and the Dalton Daily Citizen (if you haven’t read those pieces, be sure to check them out). My lectures at The Summerville Public Library and the LaFayette-Walker Public Library followed in June (including an exhibition of my photos at the Summerville Library). Sharing Jordan’s Journey with everyone “back home” is an experience I will always cherish.
I am also pleased that Jordan’s Journey has found a home in at least six library collections across the country:
Of course, there is this blog–which has been ongoing ever since it was first opened to the public. It’s been a challenge to get readers engaged, but when one of you leaves a comment on the blog, please know that it means a lot to me. Be sure to check out the archives to catch up on anything you missed.
Beyond the writing, I have posted several Jordan’s Journey videos this year as well. These videos have been a labor of love. It takes a lot of time to put them together. But I feel they communicate something about our local history that has never been done before. I imagine what I would like to see if my ancestors could have made such videos and that’s what I try to do. Local history needs to be entertaining–otherwise you lose everyone’s interest–and, I hope, my videos help accomplish that.
Jordan’s Journey has been more than just the blog, too. I was able to branch out with my writing and published my first piece in Georgia Backroads. Working with Georgia Backroads has been a blessing. You can look forward to more from me in this way in 2013!
But what else does the future hold for Jordan’s Journey? To be honest, I’m not sure. I want to take it further–and, believe me, I have many ideas. But this type of work cannot be accomplished in a vacuum It takes contributions from both family and the broader community. There are so many people that have helped me out, and I give a sincere thanks to all of you (there are much too many of you to list everyone here). I would like to write more about the allied families of the region–those that I do not necessarily descend from, but that play a role in the history of Armuchee Valley, Dirttown Valley, and beyond. After all, we’re all connected and we’re all part of the story.
I will continue writing posts and sharing photos here in 2013, but things will be a little different. In order to focus some energy on more extensive research and writing–such as my articles for Georgia Backroads–I am not going to commit to posting here on the blog on a weekly basis. I have some new/special things planned for you–at least a couple of guest posts should go up in the first month or two after the new year. If any of you out there are interested in writing a guest post, please do let me know. Jordan’s Journey is about much more than just my own family. It’s about building our collective history.
Thanks to all of you who have followed the blog throughout 2012. I hope it has been a worthwhile trip into the past, and that you will visit often in 2013. I wish you a very happy new year.