Blog? What’s a blog?
To the internet-savvy genealogist, a blog is an everyday part of life… reading the daily, weekly or ad hoc blog articles that arrive via email, RSS feeds, or show up on our social media profiles accompanied by great recommendations and enticing titles.
But for many researchers with less experience online, and who don’t use social media, most of their website visits for their genealogical research are limited to the major sites that they know, such as Ancestry, FindMyPast, FreeBMD, FamilySearch, and perhaps Trove, NAA and the state BDM, historical indexes and libraries.
The word ‘blog’ is an abbreviation for ‘weblog’ or ‘web log’, and is a website containing a writer’s or a group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions – often including images and links to other websites – and which is updated regularly (NB: this is a combination of definitions from various sources).
Every blog is different, all influenced by the particular interests and experiences of the writer.
Some blog posts are short and concise, others long and detailed. Some bloggers diarise the minutiae of their family research, others provide more general information and tips, or reviews, thoughts and opinions.
Some focus on a particular name, region or topic, or spotlight individuals, books or website resources. Most bloggers include their discoveries and research success stories in their blogs, which are always great to read.
Some blogs are simply galleries or collections of interesting images, eg. churches, headstones, castles, families, memorabilia.
Other bloggers share their genie cruising, conferences, travel experiences, and special events, making us feel as though we were there too!
Most blog posts include one or more images.
Regardless of style, blogs keep us up-to-date with what’s happening in the genealogy community in Australia and worldwide. Many are a great mix of everything, and add much interest to genealogical research.
Even the major subscription websites and government departments publish blogs to keep users up-to-date with the latest projects, new resources, search techniques, and success stories.
You will be surprised that some of the little tips you learn from blogs might help you break down a long-standing brickwall in your family history research.
Reading some blogs is comparable to attending a mini-presentation or course on a specific topic, so make the most of them – they are wonderful resources!
The format of many blogs is that the latest post (aka ‘article’) will open at the top of their home page, followed by the next most recent, etc.
Some show the full article, others just the introductory paragraph(s). Click the article title or the Read More link to view the full article and comments.
There is usually an index to other posts in one of the sidebars, either by date, title or tags/keywords, and usually a search box too.
If you like a post or have something that genuinely adds to the topic, compliment the author or join in the discussion by leaving a comment.
Some blogs are not featured on the home page, but are found in a tab or link, usually along the top menu bar.
Familiarise yourself with an author by checking their About page (top menu or sidebar). Also check the author’s other pages, as there may be links to other blogs or useful sites, genealogical records, family trees or surnames – you never know what you might find!
Subscribe to the blogs that you enjoy reading, and/or follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc so that you don’t miss future posts!
I started writing this post back in early September (yes – life, websites, work, family, study, interstate travel, plus more – took priority, and it was put aside), including a modest list of genealogy blog links to share.
A timely blog topic a week or so later was the One Lovely Blog Awards, where some genie bloggers were nominated as having a great blog, and then they proceeded to nominate other great blogs that they read regularly.
It was a very good way to spread awareness of other interesting blogs on genealogy. One list led to another, and to another, and another – each one nominating up to 15 more!
Many I was aware of, but there were some terrific new blogs discovered in those nomination lists.
My original intention for this post was to include a few genealogy blogs for CDFHS members to sample to get familiar with blogs and blogging genealogy-style. I had started a list down below, but it became far too long, so instead I have added a separate page on this site called Genealogy Blogs, where an editible list can be maintained and readily found by members in the future when looking for an interesting blog to read, or trying to relocate a particular blog they’ve enjoyed previously. There were many more great blogs I could have added, but I ran out of time, so members can explore and recommend other genealogy blogs that would be ideal to be added to the list.
A sample of the lovely blogs, plus many others, are included on the Genealogy Blog page, aimed to give blog-newbies exposure to a variety of interesting genie-blogs.
You don’t need to use social media to read blogs, as they are simply web pages. But social media is great to alert you to new blog posts so you don’t have go looking for them yourself, and enables easy sharing of the ones you like with your friends.
I challenge family history enthusiasts who’ve never read a blog before, to start looking through the list and follow or subscribe to a few blogs that take your fancy.
You’ll learn some terrific new things, and you’ll find that many blogs are also very entertaining!
The genies and blogs listed have done a lot of the hard work for you by finding some great genealogy blogs to follow, but you can always find more by browsing or searching through the three thousand genealogy blogs listed at Geneabloggers, and if you still can’t find enough, simply Google ‘one lovely blog’ and each resulting blog will lead you to 15 more!
Become a blogger!
If after reading the blogs of others, you are inspired to start your own blog, there are many free resources to enable you to do so – just ask, as many blogs cover that topic.
In the meantime, why not practise by writing a simple blog post for CDFHS (now that you know what a ‘blog’ is)?
Our own blog is very new and welcomes and needs original contributions from the society’s membership!