Organizing History Again: Learning and Evolving as the What American History About Blog Grows.

Organizing History Again: Learning and Evolving as the What American History About Blog Grows.

May 25, 2024

At 11 months old, my hobby blog is crushing it! Sort of.

I'm not going to lie: I'm a little surprised that as of now, May 2024, this blog is outpacing my 3 and 1/2 year-old Free At 50 blog. According to Google Analytics, the last month's statistics are clearly showing this blog getting MORE organic traffic from online searches.

This is motivating me for sure! But I am, as always, only cautiously excited. We aren't talking millions of clicks, but enough growth to know that I'm not the only one out here in the world with an interest in learning American history in this way.

In what way?

  • Understanding what primary sources are and their value.
  • The stories behind the "dates" and "events" like Washington's breakfast with Lord Dunmore the day Dunmore dissolved the House of Burgesses - maybe even some events not commonly discussed in high school textbooks such as December 15th, 1781, celebrated to honor the victory at Yorktown.
  • The "everyday" people who lived in history, like Anne Geddy, Jane Vobe (Google loves this one!) or Dr. Galt.
  • How to find history anywhere and everywhere.
  • And, importantly, learning FROM history.

All of this without committing to an academic degree.

Simply understanding, using some critical thought, and soaking it all in with the ability to dive deeper on anything that grabs our attention. Sometimes that takes us down a rabbit hole. Sometimes it inspires a new question or topic to learn about or even a place to visit.

Disclaimer: As a blogger, I use affiliate links sometimes! I may receive commission from purchases I share; it does not change your price but sometimes you might get a discount.

Photo credit: Tom McAuliffe

Taking the time to revisit my categories.

This morning, over coffee and with jazz in the background, I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and opened my phone. I listed (and counted out) all the categories I've created on this blog. An epic 14! I'm confident most blog coaches would say that's a few too many. However, I'm good with that number.

Why? Because you all love history or you wouldn't be here right now- whatever you're in the mood for, I want you to find it. Also- this blog began, and is still, my passion blog. It's my way of sorting, tracking, and musing about the things I learn. My a-ha moments and my questions answered.

So as of May 2024: 14 categories in no serious order. I've even made this list clickable for you!

  1. Latest (I'll always mark the 8-10 most recent blog posts)
  2. This Day in History (a light, concise, entertaining bit of "trivia" type content)
  3. People in History (from the famous, to those whose names you may not have heard before)
  4. American Independence (posts that go to the heart of, directly or indirectly, our development as the United States of America)
  5. Trades (because preserving the skills that built this country is important to me and we can learn so much from the trades)
  6. Learning History (the how and even some "what" and "why" of learning history)
  7. Daily Life (to understand people, the decisions they made and why things happened the way they did, we can get a deeper connection to all of this through their daily life)
  8. Farming and Agriculture (the foundation of these United States of America, started as a source of raw materials to England, the backbone of our early economy and so much more)
  9. Art and Music (IMO one of the best ways to learn about a culture, a pivotal moment in time, and the people who lived our American history)
  10. Architecture and Buildings (so much history is wrapped up in a PLACE- and if this is my journal, I'm recording every building I visit and can write about)
  11. Food (if you know me at all, and some of you do, I'm a foodie at heart- and I truly believe we learn so much from food- it's all connected!)
  12. Botany and Gardens (I've heard Kurt Smith quote Jefferson as saying -and I'm personally paraphrasing- there is not a blade of grass that doesn't interest him... everything is on the table as I serve up history to y'all my friends, including trees)
  13. Holidays (who celebrates/celebrated what and why is not only fun to learn about, but often surprising- and you never know, you might find a new tradition to add to your holiday plans)
  14. Books (yes, I'm dropping occasional book reviews and recommendations for y'all!)

Drummers Call March, May 2024 in Colonial Williamsburg

Reiterating my why - at this moment in time.

In my first post on this blog (click here to read it), I talked about how my Free At 50 life brought me to Colonial Williamsburg. Which in turn, inspired this blog.

I was having a coffee chat yesterday with my friend Cyndi Zaweski, a master content strategist. She's massively pivoting her business and, maybe, so am I.

Free At 50 life led me to this blog and this blog is leading me to the next phase of the Free At 50 blog. It's inspiring me to really SHOW anyone ready to switch it up midlife, like I did, how they CAN.

And as far as the content of this blog, I'm enjoying every moment I'm writing it and hope you enjoy reading it half as much.

Palace Kitchen featuring dessert, Colonial Williamsburg

Closing it out with a call to action and words from history.

The call to action: bookmark this post for future reference. And if you haven't already, use the form on this blog to subscribe - and always get the latest in your inbox!

As always, I'm closing out with words from history. Today, I found this fitting- a listing of the cash accounts noted by George Washington.

Mundane at worst, but a glimpse into his life and the man himself at best.

Click here for the source and citations- then click around and see other account information and diary entries giving insight into the man, and the farmer, behind the historical figure we have superficially learned about "in school." Primary sources are truly the best way to learn our American history and why I link to them in every single blog post!

Cash Accounts, June 1768

Cash Accounts

[June 1768]

June 1—To Ditto [cash] of Henry Taylor£ 0. 2.6
To Weaving of Jno. Elliot 15 yds cotton birdeye10.18.9
To Cash of Mr Wm Triplet for Weavg1. 6.0
20—To Ditto of Gilbt Simpson on Acct of Rent2. 8.0
23—To Ditto for 7 M Shingles6. 2.6
June 2—By Mr [John] Stedlar for Mastr & Miss Custis10.16.0
6—By James Oram for a Horse for Mastr Custis215. 0.0
7—By a Sturgeon 6/—By Lemons 8/90.14.9
15—By Rachel McKeaver30. 6.0
17—By Charity 12/0.12.0
By Jno. Snowden £ By Charity 21/68. 9.0
20—By Mr [James] Kirk Balle of Acct2. 5.0
24—By Exps. at Arrols 20/9. Jno. P. Custis 41/63. 2.3
By Sundry’s for the use of Mr Custis2.13.9

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There is a huge practical disclaimer to the content on this blog, which is my way of sharing my excitement and basically journaling online.

1) I am not a historian nor an expert. I will let you know I’m relaying the information as I understand and interpret it. The employees of Colonial Williamsburg base their presentations, work, and responses on historical documents and mainly primary sources.

2) I will update for accuracy as history is constant learning. If you have a question about accuracy, please ask me! I will get the answer from the best source I can find.

3) Photo credit to me, Daphne Reznik, for all photos in this post! All photos are personal photos taken in public access locations or with specific permission.