I’ve been a local historian for many years. It started as an offshoot of my family history research, because to truly understand how your ancestors lived their lives, you need to know what life was like during their lifetimes. Some of us are lucky enough to have some of their personal belongings left to us — family photos, perhaps letters they wrote, a diary… but even if not, maps, photos of buildings they likely knew, newspaper articles (especially those about them), ephemera — it all contributes to the larger picture of each member of your ancestry.
There is a large, and growing, audience for this sort of thing. I’ve shared some of it on Facebook, in several NJ groups and pages¹, as well as more general history groups², but few have the time or patience to scroll back through years of group posts. It’s time to put it all into one place, the better for anyone interested to find it, learn from it, and share it in their turn.
(Just so you know: these posts do get updated when I find new info about the topic or subject. You might want to check on your favorites.)
As a separate project, I plan to (finally) rebuild my long-dormant Havemann.com website. I have a ton of information on my ancestry, 95% of which is unpublished, just squirreled away in hardcopy and in digital format: Havemann, Conklin, Wingendorff, Head, Hartung, Seiffert… just some of the surnames I’ve researched for over 25 years. I will update it, I promise. (At least the family tree is up on Ancestry.com, but that doesn’t include all the ephemera and artifacts.)
² Shorpy … Vintage New York … Very Old Images of NY … and more.