The thousandth post

Today marks the one-thousandth Vita Brevis post since the blog launched in January 2014. The blog’s pages have been accessed more than one-and-a-half million times, and by my (not very scientific) count the following eighteen posts have led the field, read by more than one hundred thousand readers.

By far and away the most-read post at Vita Brevis is Chris Child’s August 2014 account of Robin Williams’s maternal ancestry. The circumstances of Williams’s death, and the affection he had inspired in millions of Americans, made the post a place to stop and reflect about what he had meant to members of the genealogical community.

Penny Stratton’s March 2015 post on possessives and punctuation comes next; further down the list we find her April 2015 piece on writing dates (“the 1920s, the ‘20s, the twenties”) in genealogy.

In September 2014, Zachary Garceau wrote about the genealogical information to be found in death records of various kinds.

Katrina Fahy on the value of surname maps and Lindsay Fulton’s riposte to Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Do not read’ list (with reference to a List of Persons Whose Names Have Been Changed in Massachusetts, 1780-1892) round out the top five posts.

Another one of Lindsay’s posts covers naming practices for children born out of wedlock. In November 2016, Jean Maguire announced the availability of the genealogical columns of the Boston Transcript online; Ryan Woods’s description of the then-new Middlesex County probate records database was another popular post in 2014.

Henry Hornblower wrote about the discovery of a family Mayflower line, especially interesting as the line was associated with his grandfather, the founder of Plimoth Plantation. The very first post on the blog, setting out the goals of the new venture, has been another popular piece.

Bill Griffeth’s initial post on his new book, The Stranger in my Genes, elicited much interest and led to further posts on the book’s complex subject matter.

Two of Chris Child’s posts on the DNA of King Richard III (here and here) speak to the enduring fascination of England’s last “Plantagenet” king. And Sam Sturgis wrote revealingly on the initial difficulties genealogical researchers can sometimes have in connecting to hitherto unknown relations who regard their overtures with suspicion.

A final trio of posts speak to the ever-expanding range of the blog: Tom Dreyer on the “lost” Popham colony in Maine; Jean Maguire on an exciting new Irish records database ; and Anna Todd on the Orphan Train movement (1854–1929).

By my count that leaves 981 other posts, from January 2014 to November 2017, for genealogical researchers to browse here at Vita Brevis!

About Scott C. Steward

Scott C. Steward was the founding editor at Vita Brevis; he served as NEHGS Editor-in-Chief 2013-2022. He is the author, co-author, or editor of genealogies of the Ayer, Le Roy, Lowell, Saltonstall, Thorndike, and Winthrop families. His articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, NEXUS, New England Ancestors, American Ancestors, and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and he has written book reviews for the Register, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

7 thoughts on “The thousandth post

  1. Congratulations, Scott! You do an amazing job with the blog. Few people realize how hard it is to find and/or create and edit quality content five days a week. That’s a deadline EVERY day of the work week! The day before Thanksgiving is an appropriate time to thank you for your hard work to keep Vita Brevis going for 200 weeks . . . so far!

  2. I must echo Sharon’s comments! What Scott as done and continues to do with Vita Brevis is a remarkable accomplishment and a more than generous gift to us all. Vita Brevis is not static, but a “living” set of posts and tribute to so many lives. I am grateful to Scott this Thanksgiving for all that he has taught me personally, and his unwavering patience and commitment to the blog.

    Happy Thanksgiving Scott!!! ~ May your holiday be a blessed and relaxing one. Here’s to the next chapter of Vita Brevis!

  3. Congratulations, Scott, on making such an outstanding contribution with the blog. You have started wonderful conversations about the things that really matter. I lurk more often than I comment as I expect most of us do.

    I never commented on Penny Stratton’s clear explanations of style points. My Katharine Gibbs School heart is warmed by the content and the tone. Happy Thanksgiving to all. .

  4. VB is a joy, one I look forward to each day as I open my email. The variety of subject matter, the pleasure each writer takes in the past, the many avenues they present, and the fascinating people with their journeys – both the searchers and their searchees – make this one of the best – if not the best – genealogy blog. Thank you! It can’t be easy and to think, there have already been 1,000!! Here’s to the next 1,000!

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