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Blogging

Article Date: 
22 October, 2010 - 06:00

I will return to the topic of land records soon, but this week I have been involved with a few of the individuals who author some of the most read blogs in the genealogical community. I thought I would take a moment to introduce them.
Blogging has become one of the best ways to share information and interact with a community of individuals online. I am constantly amazed at the amount of information that is available for free online in blogs.
For those who are not regular web users, blog is short for web log (this definition, I am sure, makes everything clear). Blogs can be thought of as a series of short articles, published on a website in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest). Blogs also, typically allow users to post their comments and feedback on the articles. They also can normally be viewed by subject as well as chronology so readers can find particular articles that may interest them.
In the Genealogy world there are a number of incredibly helpful blogs. The most widely read is on about.com. The blog is at genealogy.about.com and is written by Kimberly Powell. Powell writes on a wide range of topics from celebrating family history month to Hispanic heritage to using Google. Her advice is practical and informative. It is also written in a style and language that makes it accessible for even beginners. The about.com blog is free.
Dick Eastman’s blog is one of my personal favorites. Dick is very active at genealogical conferences. Normally Dick will provide free Internet access for attendees. His blog is a mix of many things. He carries the news of genealogy and press releases from various genealogy organizations. He shares his opinions and insights, often in humorous ways with his readers.
Dick also provides some of the best technology reviews I have read. He is a nerd on two accounts. He is a genealogy nerd and a technical nerd. Being a card carrying nerd myself, he is just my kind of people. He has, however, a gift for taking complex technology concepts and breaking them down into language that can be understood by all. He reviews genealogy technology, but also other technology he has come across that he thinks his readers will find interesting. Dick has both free and fee based blog articles. About eighty percent of the articles are free. The cost of the plus edition is only $20.00 per year. Dicks blog can be found at eogn.com (Eastman’s Online Genealogical Newsletter).
FamilySearch now has blog entries at the new beta site. These articles often focus on what’s new at FamilySearch, but they also contain articles written by the Research Consultants who work in the Family History Library as well as a blog by the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch, David Rencher. To visit the FamilySearch blogs go to blog.beta.FamilySearch.org . The FamilySearch blog is free to use.
For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are two blogs that may be worth looking at. Both of these sites have content related to genealogical research, and both carry press releases from the major genealogical organizations. They both also have a focus on family history news for the LDS community. They cover information about product releases from FamilySearch aimed at members of the Church. They also carry information targeted at family history consultants and centers.
These two blogs are Dear Myrtle, written by Pat Richley located at blog.dearmyrtle.com and Renee’s Genealogy blog, written by Renee Zamora, located at rzamor1.blogspot.com . Renee in particular has many articles written with an LDS reader in mind.
There are many others, including Genea Musings by Randy Seaver (geneamusings.com), Creative Gene (creativegene.blogspot.com), AnceStories by Miriam Robbins Midkiff (ancestories1.blogspot.com), and Genealogue by Chris Dunham (genealogue.com).
One of the great things about blogs is that they can notify you when there is new content. The notification can come via email or RSS feed. RSS feeds are similar to email and most email programs will have a section where RSS feeds can be viewed.
Typically, the blog will send out a small selection of the blog article in email or RSS to give you enough information to know if you want to go to the site and read the full article. To read all of the article you just click on the link, and off you go.
Many of the blogs also provide a digest. The way a digest works is that on a predefined schedule set by the user (daily, weekly, monthly, etc) an email will be sent that has a listing of all of the blog articles that have been posted during that period. There will normally be a small summary and a link to the article. These digest emails can be a great way to keep up on the news of Family History.
Blogging has been steadily growing in the genealogy space. If you haven’t read any of the blogs take a minute to get acquainted with them. You will find them informative, educational, and often entertaining. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to start a blog of you own.