Saturday, April 7, 2012

Why You Should Be a Geneablogger Too

I have always been interested in my family's history. I started researching my genealogy when I had a hip replacement and had limited mobility during the summer of 2004 (or 2005 - I'm not exactly sure). I was not very good at it when I started, went down more than a few false trails and gathered a lot of undocumented and extraneous information. I've been pecking away at documentation and attempting to clean up my family tree and break through brick walls ever since. 

Last summer I found a Facebook page dedicated to the descendants of Asa Freeman and Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood - my 3rd great-grandparents on my father's side. I connected with a third cousin, Bill West, a retired bookseller from Abington, Massachusetts who writes a blog called West in New England. After reading his posts and seeing how others were sharing their genealogy through blogs, I became inspired to create my own. So in late February, I took the plunge and created my first post. It's not always easy to find the time to write but I have found a few things that have helped. Most importantly when I don't have time to write an entire post, I put down my ideas and save it as a draft and come back to it later. I have at least as many drafts as I have posts so I always have something to write about. My goal is at least 2 posts a week and in March I was able to post 16 times! I can't guarantee that pace will sustain itself so I'm keeping my goal at 2 posts a week for the rest of 2012. 

So why should you give blogging a try?
  • In six weeks, I have made more connections with people who can help me than I've made in six years. 
  • I've found stories about my ancestors and the places they lived. These make family history more meaningful than mere names on a page.  
  • As someone who loves history, I've expanded and enriched my knowledge - giving me more to share with my students and hopefully making my teaching more relevant and interesting. 
  • I am learning more about where and how to research. 
  • And...I've gotten a little ego boost from those who have commented on the blog or to me in person and told me how much they enjoy the stories I've shared. 
There is a great community out there of geneabloggers. Head on over to for some inspiration and tips on how to get started. It is a great resource with links to a wide variety of blogs that can be searched by category. Several sites linked there provide daily or weekly writing prompts for those times you have writer's block. So what are you waiting for? Start telling the story of your family and reap the rewards! 

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