The Bagpiper


The Bagpiper began in 2000 as a simple one-page flyer that announced details of an upcoming family reunion in Wichita. Over time it evolved into a multi-page family newsletter that contained family news, historical points of interest pertaining to our extended family, as well as miscellaneous trivia.

Distribution gradually grew to almost three hundred, but the time and effort to hand-assemble the increasing number of mailings grew as well. And—although we asked for a donations, and some folks responded well beyond the norm—the cost of postage and printing materials gradually exceeded what we felt we could ask from the folks on our mailing list.

Along the way an Internet web site was added. Current and past issues of the hardcopy version of the newsletter are displayed there, as well as selected photos, statistical data, and historical points of interest. Soon, as a direct result of the web site, our “hard-copy” mailing list was reduced dramatically. The web site has worked well, and the “hit-meter” indicates that many thousands—and obviously more than just our own folks—have visited the site to learn about the Erwin family and our many extended family groups, including our collective genealogy.

In the interim I've received countless letters, phone calls and e-mail messages, from a variety of people. Some are from individuals seeking genealogical information or data, but most have thanked me in some fashion for the newsletter. The response has been rewarding as well as heart-warming.

So, it is with great reluctance that I announce that the December 2007 issue of the Bagpiper will be its last. The web site, however, will continue to be maintained, and will be updated as new data and family information is available. I have enjoyed the experience of putting out the newsletter, but it is challenging and time consuming. It takes more time, effort and imagination than most folks probably imagine. The challenge,  a lack of inspiration and/or energy, or even the mounting cost, is not, however, the reason for its demise.

The simple fact is... time is passing. But let me explain. About ten years ago I set out to write a simple autobiography for my children and grandchildren. Along the way the genealogy-bug bit me, and my long interest in history was whetted by the discovery of thousands of heretofore unknown family members. As a result my recollections are now only part of the  story I will attempt to tell. It includes much recorded history and data, going back centuries, as well as family traditions and genealogical information. My manuscript, in eight by ten format, and in number ten font, has grown to over seven hundred pages, and is only about ninety percent complete. And that is the problem… it is not complete.

I can see Father Time down the road a bit, and it is obvious that he is getting closer. I’ve said jokingly, from time to time, that I must complete my book before I “kick the bucket or loose my marbles”, but as time passes the thought is no longer amusing. There is much yet to do. I must finish writing, of course, but then there is the editing, spell-checking, and further editing, and finally an index must be created. Computer software will help, but I must “get on with it.”

                                                                                                              Donald D. Erwin –Editor