Sunday, 4 May 2014

Back in the Stream of Blogging With A Hook

Fishing for Family - You Might Have A Great Catch!
Image courtesy of ID-100165715

I am so impressed with people who seem to be able to publish blog posts about all aspects of their family history - from stories about their ancestors, reviews of the software and apps, travel to their ancestral homelands, cemetery visits, research trips and conferences, to in-depth discussions of their methodology. I even have two genealogy friends who have outlined their A-Z Challenge blog posts (thematically) for 2015!

On the other hand, I am one of those bloggers who has the best of intentions, but not the best follow-through. That is one of the reasons that I jumped on this Worldwide Genealogy blogging bandwagon. Although I am busy with a variety of genealogy/family history related projects, I did want to get back into blogging (as that is where most of my personal family history research is found). When Julie Goucher first mentioned the idea, I thought I can post once a month in 2014 and Julie knows where to find me if I don't. I also hoped that the commitment to Worldwide Genealogy would get me back on track with my own blogs (hey it is always a little bit about self-interest). So I signed on and started with baby steps.

I wrote my first four blog posts here as the spirit moved me. All it took was a bit of thought (walking is a great activity to clear your mind and get ideas for blog topics) and a bit of discipline (calendar the publish date, write up the post at least a few days early, and give myself a day to review before hitting the publish button).

Now it was time to take a look at my own blogs (oh, the horror and all those cobwebs!) and see if they could be saved. I have one blog for my paternal side The Keough Corner and one blog for my maternal side Scandia Musings. The first decision was whether to invest the time and effort in updating the layout, cleaning up (actually pruning) the pages, and committing to posting on a regular basis. I spent some time in April doing just that - reading a variety of blogs, playing with colors, fonts, sidebars and widgets - spring cleaning the layout, tweaking the content, and checking out the results. Now I needed a hook - something that would nudge me to post at least once a week.

Enter Cheri Hudson Passey who publishes her blog at least weekly using the meme of writing about her family history calendar - she uses the calendar creator/list feature in Legacy to note the birthdays and anniversaries of people in her family tree. She borrowed this meme from Linda McCauley (one of my partners in crime over at the Legacy Virtual Users' Group Community on Google+). This looked like a great plan to get me back in the blogging stream with baby steps.

Using Legacy (most of the genealogy database programs have this same feature) - I print to PDF the calendar list for any given month - in my case, one for my Murphy-Keough direct line (tag 1) and one for my Zagradisnik-Lidman direct line (tag 2). Then I go to my Legacy database and check out the family members whose names are in the upcoming week to get a bit more of their back story. The first time I did this I spent a few hours doing a bit of research to fill in some blanks. This is a great way to focus on family members you might miss otherwise - and who should not be remembered on their birthday or anniversary? It is also interesting to see who had a birthday in any given month (if you are into astrology at all  you will find those family members who share a sign - as in "oh, that explains it, he was an Aries").

If you are getting back into the blogging habit or thinking about blogging for the first time, why not try a meme (simply a hook) to get you started. And nothing could be easier or more rewarding than to focus on your own family. An added benefit - if you use the names, dates, places, and a bit of their story, you might just get a nibble on that cousin bait hook you put in the internet stream. I have already heard from two potential connections this past month.

Cousin Bait Anyone?
Image courtesy of ID-100224539

So, why not try fishing for ancestors. Do you have suggestions for topics that make blogging a bit easier and/or more fun for you? Please share them with the rest of us in the comments section. Now it's time to bait those hooks (I fish on Sundays).

Gone Fishing!
Image courtesy of ID-10028030


  1. I also used a calendar of anniversaries as a publication prompt for my '50 Marriage Mondays' series inspired by my parent's 50th anniversary. It really works.

    1. Good to know that it works - this week's calendars were interesting in that I noticed I have a bit of research to do on various family members. Since I include extended family members - it gives me an opportunity to get back to people who only have the basics entered in my database.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. When I started blogging in 2010, I thought I would run out of my own material in about 18 months - how wrong I was. I found further inspiration in following the prompts on Geneabloggers and Sepia Saturday and getting ideas from fellow bloggers e.g. Remembrance Day Challenge, Military Memories, 52 Ancestors etc. . Recording my own personal memories for my children and grandchildren was not something that had occurred to me until I came across various prompts to do this - the latest Julie Goucher's "Book of Me". - it does take you back to your childhood, so very nostalgic. Now the challenge is to keep up with my blogging activity - both writing and reading other posts. So good luck with your blogging and I look forward to reading more.

    1. I agree ScotsSue - Julie Goucher's prompts bring back all kinds of memories and certainly give us an opportunity to write about ourselves (something we tend to forget about when we are hunting down ancestors). And if Randy Seaver's SNGF prompts are not too difficult, I enjoy them as well. This week's SNGF was all about counting cousins and it was fun.

  4. Nothing like a GOOD hook! Downside, I almost always need to verify, do some more research, question, look harder. Ohhh, that is the upside. Downside, is TIME!! And, lack thereof. Upside, no reason to be bored unless I choose to be.

    1. Carol I know you have lots to keep you busy! I am hoping for some catches on my mother's side of the family and last night I got an email from someone who thinks they share my great great grandparents - here's hoping the catch pans out.


Hello, thanks for leaving a comment on the World Wide Genealogy Blog. All comments are moderated because of pesky spammers!

Best wishes
World Wide Genealogy Team