Saturday, May 16, 2015


So you are thinking of starting a genealogy blog but aren't sure it's for you? I've been
geneablogging now for eight years and if I can do it, ANYONE can do it.  Here's a few things
I've learned over the years that might help you decide to take the plunge:

1. Start off simple. Begin with what you already know about your family history, the names
and dates. Include family photos if you have any. A geneablog doesn't have to be War & Peace.

2.Write for yourself. Worry about what your readers think later. This is your blog, not theirs.
   Blogging is informal writing, and you should feel relaxed while doing it. Which leads us to...

3. Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't let comments from the Grammar Police and "Proper Way
 to Cite Your Sources" Police discourage you. See #2 for the reason why. The important thing
 is to WRITE. (Unless you are blogging for professional reasons, in which case you should
 sweat the grammar and correct citation forms.) 
4.That being said, DO try to let us know where you've found that record or quote with the
  name of the book or website where you found it. A link to it is also nice. Don't worry about
  proper form, just post it. You can always go back and fix it properly later.

5.If you are worried about spelling and grammar, write the post first in whatever word
  processing program you have on your computer. Use the spellcheck and grammar check
  functions on it to edit, and afterwards cut & paste the text into Blogger or Wordpress or
  whatever blogging platform you use.  

 6. Remember to use labels on your blogposts if you can. For example, if I write a post about
 Asa Ellingwood, I label the post with "Ellingwood Family" and "Ellingwood Asa". This helps
 other people looking for Ellingwood ancestors find your blog. It makes your blog "cousin
 bait" and you may be contacted by distant relatives researching your shared ancestors. Don't
 expect it to happen immediately though. Cast your cousin bait upon the waters, and be

7. Use the various genealogy writing prompts and memes out there if you are not sure what to write about. There's the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge from Amy Johnson Crow, the Daily Blogging Prompts on Thomas MacEntee's Geneabloggers website, and others.

8. Read other geneablogs. See how other bloggers approach writing. Not only will it help
your own writing, you'll find out all sorts of things you didn't know about genealogy

9. Don't be afraid to occasionally write something SILLY. Silly is fun, and it is not a sin. I
indulge in silliness at the drop of a gedcom.  See Rule #2 again.

10.There are no rules on how often you should blog. Some of us do it every day, or a few
times a week. Others post once a month, some only a few times a year. Blog as often as
you feel comfortable doing it. See #2 again.

My genealogy blog has been so helpful to me. It is a place to write up what I've found
in my research. It has been very successful cousin bait. It's put me in touch with and
made me a part of the genealogy community. It's given me another thing to do in my 
retirement.  And it's been FUN.

Try it. You may find yourself having fun, too!


Anonymous said...

All excellent advice! I love sharing stories, research failures and successes, and family names. Sometimes I make connections from people finding my blog, and that feels great.

gophergenealogy said...

Those are great tips for bloggers. My has been very rewarding for me. I also post some of my client work with permission and they have made great connections. Heading into retirement I hope to have more time to write.

Celia Lewis said...

Nice and simple, Bill. I enjoy my blogs and get excited when a cousin of any sort finds me! It's so much fun sharing information and the excitement of the puzzle of genealogy. As for how often, it depends on one's priorities and time available - I'm retired, which gives me more time!

M. Diane Rogers said...

Good advice. I really do like #9!

Jana Iverson Last said...

Great tips Bill!