Recording memories for future generations
AsMarySeesIt is a Wordpress blog that shares  family stories and research documenting the artwork of Italian sculptor Fidardo Landi.

My crappy successful blog

I started a personal blog several years ago to share family stories with my large extended family before I left corporate communications to build a personal historian business. My daughters Alexandra and Helen suggested I begin writing family stories so they’re preserved. It’s my crappy successful blog.

Let me explain how that works and how it may help in your quest to search for information on your family history.

It’s crappy because:

  • I started it in November 2009 with no real vision
  • I didn’t set schedules or deadlines. It was supposed to be for fun whenever I spared the time.
  • Until this week, it hasn’t been updated since June of last year.
  • I don’t dedicate enough time to write for myself. I’ve got a huge backlog.
  • I should build this out as a website
  • There’s no video or audio. It needs to be more visual
  • I’m not skilled at design or maintenance
  • I wait to post blogs, because I want to shoot my own photos.
  • There’s too much scrolling
  • The blogroll is outdated.
  • So is the About section. By the way, I’m not a natural redhead.
  • Public relations professionals get migraines looking at it.

Blogging is like dieting: after a little success I feel privileged to slack off, sometimes for weeks at a time. Shame on me, because I know better. Do the hard work up front, maintain regularly and keep it fresh. I should be posting consistently and supporting my blog with a strategic social media plan.

How could an outdated blog be successful?

I never anticipated that anyone other than maybe 10 family members would read it

For more than 25 years my mother and I have searched for information on the artwork created, designed and sculpted by my great grandfather Fidardo Landi (1866-1918). His  business records, sketches, tools and private papers went missing decades ago.

My nanna Louisa Biggi Landi, however, lived to be 98. My mother had the benefit of growing up with her and knowing her great grandfather, Alessandro Biggi, who was also a sculptor based in Carrara, Italy. Thankfully, she is still a gifted storyteller.

If someone looks for information online about a piece of artwork by Fidardo Landi they own or manage, they aren’t likely to find all they are looking for unless they find me. I have yet to find a thorough compilation of information elsewhere.

So I blog about it.

The joy is in the journey. Blogging success came when I started to visit locations where I knew statues existed. I talked to people. I researched. I let others know what I was doing and what I was looking to find.  We stayed connected.

I take hundreds of photos at each location, in different light at different times of the day. Stare at a marble sculpture anywhere for any length of time and it looks as if it’s about to move.  Cold stone molded into a vision is warmed by the life a sculptor gives it. That life continues to breathe, even centuries later. I could meditate in white Carrara marble.

I write about the little successes and the big ones.  My backlog includes posts on court decisions, tax information, his travels to Italy to chose his marble, his work in Florence and, even, how two of his great great grandchildren have the gift. A daughter and a nephew can exhale life through their hands, their budding artwork a source of great pride for me.

My shared information is out there for others to find, even when I’m slacking off as a blogger.

Blogging success comes in each connection I make. I am fascinated by the life stories others share with me that involve a piece of artwork touched by my ancestor. I look forward to the next unexpected email from someone who tells me they decided to do online research about a piece they own and found me. They wouldn’t take the risk of connecting if they weren’t interested.

I never anticipated that my crappy successful blog would go beyond my immediate family to enrich my family history with stories from others. I never realized how it could connect art collectors to ancestors of an artist who may share more information. They are finding me as a source of information to help manage their historic and cultural resources. Were it not for this crappy successful blog I wouldn’t have a private art community or realized my dream of documenting my family history through the artwork of my great grandfather. It would have faded into folklore with the next generation.

I’ve learned so much about who my great grandfather Fidardo Landi was as an artist through the hearts and minds of others.

In the last month alone, without much effort, people helped me track down business records, restoration information, and a bronze statue. As well, we discovered three marble statues in Argentina done by my great great grandfather Biggi that our family never knew existed. It has galvanized my hopes of finding another lost statue of Biggi’s and Landi’s old sculpting tools.

If you have a long-term goal of researching your family history, consider blogging the process. You just never know how opportunities will present themselves.

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