Blog Sites Not to Miss

By: Carolyn L. Barkley

When I began to research this article, my intent was to discuss five genealogical blogs not to miss (with, of course, this blog rising to the top of the list!). As the research progressed, however, I decided to change my focus. Here, instead, are a few resources to help you find genealogical blogs that you won’t want to miss, as well as information about how to create or improve your own genealogy blog.

1.     Genealogical Blog Finder. This site currently (at least as I type) is tracking 1700 blogs and was recently featured in the February/March issue of INTERNET Genealogy. It is hard to imagine that you could fail to find a blog in your area of interest. Blogs are categorized by such topics as genealogy news, personal research, locality specific, tips, resources and reviews, technology, single surname, documentary, GenWeb projects, photography, cemeteries, conference, Jewish, Polish, French-Canadian/Acadian, famous folks, genetics, podcasts, libraries, associations and societies, African-American, Australia and New Zealand, preservation, queries, professional genealogists, obituaries, community, vlogs (blogs with video clips), and corporate. Whew – such a list! I checked the single surname category just to see if there were any blogs for Barclay or Barkley (and there weren’t), but discovered that as the blogs are listed alphabetically, it was important for bloggers to name their blogs clearly. Example: If you were interested in a surname blog on Meglone family in Kentucky, you would likely miss it because “Desperately Seeking Meglones” falls under “D” section, not “M” (and I even checked for a cross reference). I was also curious about vlogs and found four very different blogs listed: “Climbing Family Trees” about how to honor and celebrate your family; one presenting a weekly podcast series of “Irish Roots Café Videos: History & Genealogy” covering history, heraldry, genealogy, song and family research; “Relatively Speaking,” offering practical methods for modern family research; and “Roots Video,” which sifts through the many amateurish roots-related videos before recommending those “that are actually worth watching” (although there appear to be no posts after 2008). I recommend browsing this site as interesting things can be found serendipitously, but if you want to remain focused, a search function is available at the top of the page. The search will allow you to search the blog directory or, perhaps more efficiently, search blog postings. You may also submit a favorite blog that isn’t currently included in the listing. Be prepared to categorize your submission by selecting one or two headings that best describe its contents.

2.     GeneaBloggers. This site is similar to Genealogy Blog Finder discussed above in that it arranges new genealogy blogs into categories. The categories in GeneaBloggers, however, are much more specific, with the approximately 115 categories providing links to blogs for specific states and countries (Latvia, Sweden, Jamaica, Hungary) as well as specific topics such as Genealogy Industry, Genealogy Vendors, World War II, Writing Your Family History, Technology, Recipes and Tools, Podcasts, Humor, DNA Genealogy, Forensic Genealogy and Diaries, among other topics. One entry that caught my eye was “Graveyard Rabbits.” Following the link, I discovered that there is an Association of Graveyard Rabbits which is dedicated to “the academic promotion of the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from the study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones; and the social promotion of the study of cemeteries, the preservation of cemeteries, and the transcription of genealogical/historical information written in cemeteries.” This blog posts a weekly essay with links to articles written by the membership, as well as a weekly introduction about one of the members. In case you are wondering about the derivation of the term “graveyard rabbits,” it is named for a poem by Frank Lebby Stanton.

This site also provides access to a series of blog resources. These links could be very helpful to    those of you who are currently blogging or those thinking of beginning a blog. Topics include resources for blog copyright, blog design, blog templates, data backup, editing photos, family history publishing, holiday blog decorating, icons, improving your blog, and linking among others. The blog template category provides links to Blogger, WordPress, Posteros and Tumbir templates; the blog design category provides links to sites discussing browser testing, color wheels, design planning, gadgets and widgets, links, loading speed, and templates.

Finally, this site also explains how to join the GeneaBloggers blog roll and add the GeneaBloggers badge to your blog site, as well as lists a calendar of events. This site is one to subscribe to via RSS Feed or email or add to your browser “favorites” list.

3.    GeneaWebinars. Have you ever wondered how to stay aware of the webinars that are available to genealogists? GeneaWebinars provides “a single place to find out about upcoming events.” By looking at one calendar you can find information and link to information about each event. This site is not only important to genealogists, but also to societies and companies who are hosting events and presenters advertising an upcoming program. Created by DearMYRTLE, GeneaWebinars arranges events in a monthly list (click on “agenda”) and  a weekly or monthly calendar format. The current list includes events through early June, on such topics as genetic genealogy, RootsMagic, blogging, an Ohio crash course, social networking, and tracing female ancestors. Each entry provides the title of the webinar, often the presenter’s name, and the URL where the webinar is being presented. You also have an option to copy the event to your Google calendar (which you will need to set up if you don’t have one already). Webinars are a wonderful way to learn about a new genealogical topic or brush up on your skills in a specific research area. Researchers will find GeneaWebinars very useful in their continuing education process (without having to leave home!). Webinar planners can avoid scheduling their event at the same time as another event and societies can plan programming around a webinar event. This site is definitely not one to miss.

4.    GeneaPress. This site provides a “repository where bloggers can link to the latest news about the genealogy industry.” By doing so, the site seeks to “manage the large number of press releases received from genealogy vendors and organizations.” Those wishing to submit a genealogy-related press release concerning a product, service, conference or event may email it to geneapress@gmail.com. There are several rules governing what can or cannot be posted on the site and should be read carefully. In addition, a GeneaPress Author Application and New Widget are available as well. March press releases to date feature an NGS interview with Laura DeGrazia, part of the NGS online interview series; the announcement by the Archivist of the United States about agency restructuring and new appointments; FamilySearch’s announcement of new records added on Brazil, England, India, Italy, Nicaragua, Spain, and Wales; and the announcement of the recent winner of the Suzanne Windsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant.

Blogs provide genealogists with opportunities to share information, connect to others with a similar interest, and learn about/participate in continuing education opportunities. In addition, blogs can provide information about what is happening in the profession, and practical applications for those of us who blog. I hope you will enjoy browsing the sources discussed here and that you will find uncover more curious, but interesting sites like the Association of Graveyard Rabbits to enhance your research.

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