Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Benefits of Genealogy Blogging


I was asked to write a couple of paragraphs about how genealogy blogging has helped me find distant cousins, find more information about my ancestors, etc. for our local Family History Center's wiki page on FamilySearch.org. Of course I said yes to this request. I also thought this would be a great topic for a blog post.

Just what are the benefits of writing a genealogy blog? Before I talk about those benefits, here's a little background on how I began my genealogy blog.

In February of 2012 I watched
Lisa Louise Cooke's live streamed RootsTech presentation called Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs 101. I had never heard of genealogy blogs before and the thought of blogging about my ancestors had never even occurred to me before that time. I decided to be brave and jump into the genealogy blog pool and here I am today, almost three years later. I'm grateful to Lisa for her presentation and to RootsTech for live streaming it.

Am I glad I began my genealogy blog? Absolutely! Here are some of the benefits I've discovered from writing my genealogy blog:



  • My blog acts as cousin bait, which means that if a relative of mine searches for one of our common ancestors on the internet, they may find my blog and contact me. I've had this happen several times. I wrote about a recent and very exciting cousin connection in a previous blog post. This newly discovered cousin lives in Brazil. Blogs have a global reach. They can be read by people all over the world, which is amazing.
  • Writing about my ancestors helps me to better analyze the research I have about them.
  • Writing about my ancestors helps me to get to know them better. It's fascinating to learn about them. It also helps me to appreciate them and what they experienced during their lives.
  • My immediate and extended family members near and far can learn about their ancestors by reading my blog. And hopefully my future descendants will read my blog and enjoy learning about their ancestors too.
  • Even if distant cousins don't contact me when and if they find my blog, the information, stories, and photos I share may be helpful and interesting to them. They may see a photo of an ancestor that they'd never seen before. I know how exciting that can be.
  • Each person in my family tree deserves to be remembered. And writing about them in a genealogy blog is a great way to remember them.
  • I've made lots of genealogy blogging friends online. These friends are from all over the world. There's an active online genealogy blogging community and its members are very kind and helpful. One of the major online communities is GeneaBloggers. If you already have a genealogy blog and haven't joined the fun at GeneaBloggers, I encourage you to do so.
  • Blogging about ancestors is fun!

Can you think of other benefits of genealogy blogging? Feel free to add those in the comments below.

Update: I presented a class in which I shared the benefits of genealogy blogging and social media at our local Family Discovery Day on May 16, 2015. If you'd like to see my blog post about my presentation, click the link below. I've also been asked to teach this class at the Merced Family Discovery Day on October 24, 2015.

My "Family History Blogs and Social Media" Class

Thanks for reading!

© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

26 comments:

  1. I completely agree Jana. Writing about my ancestors has allowed me to meet wonderful people in the blogging world and it's increased my knowledge of the ancestors I feature. It has also made me a better researcher because I want to be certain the information I present is correct and as complete as possible. Plus, I love writing. Aren't we fortunate?

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    1. Great points Diane! And yes, we really are fortunate. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Great article! It also keeps me dipping into my creativity pool, keeps those juices flowing. I really enjoy that part of it.

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    1. Thank you Elise! Another great reason to write a genealogy blog. :)

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  3. Jana, this is a topic dear to many of your fellow bloggers! I heartily agree with all you've said...can't think of anything to add to your list. However, there's one point I think people don't realize as often (among the items in your list), and that is when you mentioned that your blog "helps me to better analyze the research I have" about your ancestors. For me, blogging has been a discipline in that it helps me to think out loud about research problem or those squishy details that don't seem to add up just right.

    A corollary to that is the "crowdsourcing" effect of thinking out loud, publicly: your readers can jump in and add their helpful tips. Because blogs are searchable online, that means someone stumbling across your blog two or three--or even maybe ten--years from now may have just that bit of information that completes the picture on your research quandary. A tag-team approach to group problem solving!

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    1. Yes Jacqi! Crowdsourcing is fantastic! Thanks for adding that to the list.

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  4. Jana, All your points are great and are reasons why I blog. It also keep me organized. I use the search box on my blog all the time to go over what I've already written on my ancestors. Helps me keep things sorted out.

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    1. Great points Andrea! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I've only been blogging a few months but I love it. I forgot how much I enjoy writing, so it had been a creative outlet as well. Also, I will probably (realistically) never have time to write a book, but I could put together all my little vignettes at some point.

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    1. Welcome to the fun world of genealogy blogging Vonda!

      I'm actually planning on having my blog printed into book form via blurb or blog 2 print or a similar company.

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  6. Great article. In my just over one year of family history blogging I've found all of those points to be true. Unexpectedly, I've learned so much from doing it, too.

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  7. I agree 100%, Jana! Love the benifits of Genealogy Blogging!

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  8. You're preaching to the choir here...I agree with every point you made.

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  9. I also agree with all your observations. When I started my blog in October 2013, it was only to share documents and discoveries with a few cousins. Then it exploded into a passion for me---a way to tell the stories and really analyze what I was doing. And in the last week alone, two new cousins found me by stumbling upon the blog! Great post, Jana!

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    1. Thank you Amy! And congratulations on your new cousin connections! That's fabulous!

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  10. Hi, Jana,

    I just wanted to let you know that your post is highlighted on my "Friday Finds and Follows" post at my genealogy blog, AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.

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    1. Thank you so much for the honor Miriam!

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  11. Hi Jana, this is a great article! I agree with every one of your points. And I've included it in my NoteWorty Reads post for this week: http://jahcmft.blogspot.com/2015/02/noteworthy-reads-3.html?m=1.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comments and for the honor of being included in your NoteWorthy Reads post this week!

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  12. I agree with Randy Seaver. You nailed it Jana! ;-)

    John

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  13. What I hadn't anticipated from blogging is the sense of camaraderie, the many learning opportunities, and the sharing that we experience.Thanks for your insights into blogging benefits.

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    1. You made great points Pauleen! Thank you!

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