The worldwide coronavirus pandemic and lockdown – mixed with an embattled presidential election season, inflamed racial tensions and social media overload – shaped the quality of connection and respite in 2020 that Minerd.com and our Facebook page and blog are intended to be.
These online properties document a social history of old Pennsylvania German families to the current time. Today the clan is made up of a very wide range of cousins who racially and culturally are White and Black and richly mixed with everything else. Politically, they are Blue, Red, indifferent and expatriate. What binds us all together despite the breadth of diversity, culture and opinions is the family bond. It’s an absolute thing.
The year 2020 was to have been a much more pronounced celebration of Minerd.com’s 20th anniversary. The Covid-19 lockdown also slowed traditional research and reunion travel activity. But on the flip side, more time was freed up for online exploration and writing which greatly expanded Minerd.com’s already vast library of biographies, features and historic images. More content was brought forth to be shared for publication by cousins at large than ever before, and more cousins joined the dialogue on our private Facebook page.
The numbers bear out the public response to the work. Total Minerd.com page impressions increased 2.9 percent, and total visitors were up 11.3 percent, as compared with 2019. Our member-only Facebook page added 197 new members, up 44 percent.
Discovering new interpersonal connections are at the heart of this initiative. As one example the past year, with help from cousins Joe McKnight, Jill (Channing) Aird and Peggy (Grimm) Mansberry, a new study identified 40 cousins and spouses in the 1972 graduating class of Connellsville Area High School in the county where our pioneer ancestors settled in 1791. Six more are being studied for possible inclusion. The total class size was 598, meaning our cousins comprised 6.7 percent. Most if not all of these cousins alive today did not realize that they were related to so many whom they had known for such a long time.
At least one cousin from Pennsylvania likes to print out Minerd.com pages for reference. She wrote that “I have a whole binder of family stuff taken from that website lol.” Another cousin from Kentucky, formerly of Southern California, wrote of our social media page that “This is one of the most interesting sites on Facebook.”