Saturday, December 13, 2008

First Postcard Page is Up and Running

Finally, after much back and forth between me and my Web hosting service, my ability to send and retrieve files to the family Web site has been restored.

The upshot is: The first page of 10 postcards -- Grandma Henderson's -- is on the site. To see them, click here. I've done things a little differently this time around.

First of all, to see the reverse sides of the postcards, simply click on the images. A lot of them were written in pencil, so they may be difficult to read. I haven't attempted to decipher any of them yet, but I hope some of you will. When you do, and you find something interesting -- to you or that you think might interest others who read this blog -- click on the "comments" link below and let us know what you've found.

Or, if you'd rather, let me know I've done something wrong, or if you have an idea for doing things better on the Web site go ahead and post that, too. It won't hurt my feelings, really.

I've heard back that some of you may be reluctant to participate -- or simply do not understand the whole process or philosophy of blogging. I'm not professing to have any special insights, either, but I think this tool (the blog) will help us connect a little more efficiently as a family outside of our annual reunions. Plus, I think if we all contribute with stories and insights into the events and memories contained on the Web site, it'll will help us all to understand a little more deeply the history of our family and the ongoing value of our relationships to each other.

Please don't limit your comments to the postcards. There are lots of things on the site that should pique your interest. The "Mary's letters" pages contain a wealth of information about her early life, and that of Grandpa Henderson. For example, did you know he drove a stagecoach between Burlington and Meeteetse, Wyoming? You would, if you looked at his eulogy. There's even a short autobiography he wrote for Carole Henderson (Carlos and Marguerite's daughter).

So, please take a few minutes to have a look at the Web site and start connecting with cousins and other family members through this tool.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Interactivity, anyone?

OK, I was getting a little ho-hum over the ancient look of the years-old Henderson Reunion Web site. I keep adding new stuff, but I'm not sure at all if it's useful to anyone in the family. One thing I am pretty sure of: It's not user-friendly, is disorganized and pretty uninviting.

A friend at work suggested adding a blog component. As he pointed out, if family members are interested in keeping tabs on the Web site, and want to be alerted when new items are added, a blog would make sense. Also, he said, it would give everyone an opportunity to chat about what they're seeing: Add historical notes and personal observations about the photos, journals and information available on the site.

Well, he sold me on the notion. The Web site itself will remain as-is for the time being, until I can slowly redesign some elements over time. But, as I add new items, or revise others, I'll make note of it on this blog. If you subscribe to it, you'll be notified of each change -- or, as what I consider a bonus, you'll be alerted when members of our far-flung family chime in about matters, whether related to the Web site of just concerning Henderson news.

For example, I've just finished scanning all of Grandma Mary's postcard collection, and I'll begin posting Web pages devoted to the postcards within the next couple of weeks. I haven't read many of the messages on the backs of the cards, but some are bound to involve Hendersons, McIntoshes and all sorts of people from Big Horn County, Wyoming, as well as Tooele County, Utah. Maybe by reading them, and the already posted 1912 travel journal, etc., we can start discussing some family history -- noticing items from the past that we may not have known about, or that has been forgotten until now.

What do you all think? Good idea? Or not?

Would you find this blog, which will link to all the relevant Web pages, useful and/or interesting?

Please let me know by posting your comments. And if you've got ideas to improve this -- or that would be better in place of this, please don't be shy -- let me know.
(A leather postcard from Grandma's collection; it's true, for a few years, the Postal Service actually permitted leather postcards to be mailed.)