Thursday, November 28, 2019


Welcome to this year's Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge!  The submissions this year are excellent and range from in location from the Carpathian Mountains to the Great Plains, and in time from the 18th to the 21st  centuries.

You have some great reading ahead of you.

Dorene Paul starts us off with Verse in Honor of Sandusky Pioneers, an anonymous poem that was found in an old scrapbook. Dorene's ancestors were among the early settlers of the area of Ohio  she lives in.  The poem is posted at her blog, Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky,Ohio. 

Tragic shipwrecks were a favorite subject of narrative poems for New England poets. Lori Thornton, The Smoky Mountain Family Historian chose The Wreck of Rivermouth by John Greenleaf Whittier for her submission to the Challenge because it mentions one of her ancestors and it takes place in Hampton, N.H. where he lived. The post's title is Hampton, New Hampshire, in Poem

One of the things I like about reading blogs is that they help me learn new things. For example, in distant cousin Janice Brown's post at Cow Hampshire, 2019: The 11th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge, I learned about a part of New Hampshire I'd never heard of before. Her submission is  Moses Gage Shirley's Poem Moonlight on the Uncanoonucs. 

Next, Linda Stufflebean has been researching her European ancestry lately which centers around the Carpathian Mountain area. Her ancestors were Rusyn (which is not Russian) and one of the figures of Russyn culture was a priest, Alexander Duchnovic, who wrote a hymn, I Was Rusyn. You can read it in The 11th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge with Bill West at Empty Branches on the Family Tree.

Poet Allen Rizzi's  poem Ponokáómitaa was first written  in the Native American language Siksika and then translated into English. It was inspired by Allen's grandfather who spent time with the Blackfeet Indians. There is also a link that will let you listen to the is a beautiful piece.

Of course Thanksgiving has a special significance to those of us who have ancestors who were Mayflower passengers. June Stearns Butka  of Dame Gussie's Genealogy reflects on the emotions those  immigrants may have felt in her poem Mayflower Remembered.

Challenge newcomer Lacie P of Sharing Their Stories has ancestors that settle along the Susquehanna River on both the New York and Pennsylvania sides. You'll find the 
poem Susquehanna in the post 11th Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge 

The owner of the Tangled Roots blog has been researching the Kentucky ancestry of her adopted child so her contribution in Kentucky Poetry is two poems by Kentucky writers; Tell Me a Story by Robert Penn Warren, and Paddle Your Own Canoe by Sarah Bolton.
Blogger Kin Connect of Princes, Paupers, Pilgrims & Pioneers is proud of their Scots ancestry, so for their post Genealogy Poetry Challenge: Scotland  they chose My Heart’s in the Highlands by the immortal Robert Burns, There's also a bunch of beautiful photos included!

Year end newsletters are a tradition is some families, a way to let relatives know what has been going on during the year. Barbara Poole's Mom sent them out in poetic form for twenty years, and recently discovered four written back in the mid-1980's. You can see the images and read the poems in her post 11th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge! at the Life From The Roots blog.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo has submitted poems written by her British born grandmother Bertha Louise (Robert) Wilkinson for previous Challenges and I've enjoyed them all. They display a certain down 
to earth outlook on life. This year's entry at Nutfield Genealogy is "The School of Life" For Bill West's Annual Genealogy Poetry Challenge.

 Finally, for my poem, I chose Mending Wall by Robert Frost. There are so many stone walls here in New England they've become emblematic of the region, My Dad's family has lived here for nearly 400 years now, so whenever I see a stone wall in this part of Plymouth County, I wonder if one of my ancestors or relatives had built it!

And that does it for this year's Challenge! Thank you to the participants for such great blogposts and poems.

Please take the time to read this years entries, and when you do, please leave a comment to let each blogger know how much you enjoyed their posts!



Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

You have curated another great selection of poems this year, Bill. I look forward to this every Thanksgiving

mdingrimsby said...

Wow! So great to see so many contributions. I am really looking forward to reading these.

June said...

It’s going to take me a while to read these intriguing entries. I even have photos from Robert Frost homestead in Derry Nh.