It is Natural Family History Month in Australia and an Australian blogger has started a meme with several questions for genealogy bloggers. I thought I’d take part, so here are my answers:
- What are the titles and URLs of your genealogy blog/s? — My genealogy blog is The Research Journal (this blog). I also run the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website at http://www.yourislandroutes.com
- Do you have a wonderful “Cousin Bait” blog story? A link to a previous blog post might answer this question. — I have had some really nice experiences linking up with cousin’s through my blog. One recent connection was through the Individual Summaries I posted for Women’s History Month. An unknown to me cousin found his grandmother listed and told me how much he appreciated that people would read about her. I compiled 31 Individual Summaries in honor of the women in my tree.
- Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging? — I was a former volunteer at both AOL’s Golden Gate Genealogy Forum and GenealogyForum.org. I began my website in 2001. But, a couple of years later blogging was beginning to be the way people communicated with readers. I wanted to branch out from Portuguese Hawaiian genealogy, but I didn’t want to create another website. I first started the Research Journal to show folks how to work out a genealogy problem step by step. Then, it evolved into a general genealogy blog about the varied branches of my tree and research methods.
- How did you decide on your blog/s title/s? — It seemed to fit at first. Each post was like a journal entry. I kept the name when I changed the focus.
- Do you ever blog from mobile devices? What are they? — No. I’m a ten finger typist and typing with one finger drives me bonkers.
- How do you let others know when you have published a new post? — I post links to my posts on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- How long have you been blogging? — I have been blogging since 2006.
- What widgets or elements do you consider essential on a genealogy blog? — The widgets I like make the reader experience a little easier. I have the ShareToAny widget that allows readers to share my posts with a variety of social networks. I also have the Networked Blogs widget that allows folks in that network follow my blog more easily.From the bloggers perspective, I have a spam filter plug in that catches all those nasty comments before they get to the web.
- What is the purpose of your blog/s? Who is your intended audience? — The purpose of my blog is show people that you can research your family tree if you work at it. My audience is varied as my tree covers the Azores, France, Australia, Ireland, Wales, England, and nobility. But, I focus mostly on West Coast genealogy, specifically, Hawaii and California where all my ancestors ended up. My genealogy is somewhat different that a lot of bloggers in that I have no old American lines. My people did not start arriving until after 1845 and the latest immigrant came in 1907. I think I have a unique perspective because my research quickly jumps to foreign countries.
- Which of your posts are you particularly proud of? — This isn’t a blog post, but it is the one thing I’ve written I am the most proud of. My great grandfather contracted leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) around 1904-1905. I did a considerable amount of research to understand why he fled deportation to Molokai. This article is the result of that research: Leprosy and the Foundation of the Formation of the Molokai Colony. I’ll get a plug in for this one too 🙂 I wrote this for a Genealogy Carnival. It’s about how my pregnant or recently pregnant female ancestors survived the 1906 earthquake: Those Remarkable Jones Women.
- How do you keep up with your blog reading? — I use FEEDLY to read them (RSS Feeds). Sometimes I pick up a post here and there on social networks.
- What platform do you use for publishing your blog/s? — I host a WordPress blog on my own webspace.
- What new features would you like to see in your blogging software? — I’d like to find a widget/plugin that integrates automatic blog posting to social networks that allows me to personalize them for each specific network with #hashtags, comments, etc. Right now, I use the syndicate feature in Network Blogs and it makes for a bland post.
- Which of your posts has been the most popular with readers? — I am not sure if it is most popular by amount of readers, but it has by far drawn the most personal comments. It’s my post on the Sinking of the Liscome Bay I’ve gotten several comments who had a relative on board the Liscome Bay with my Uncle.
- Are you a sole blogger or do you contribute to a shared blog? — I am a sole blogger.
- How do you compose your blog posts? — I usually get ideas throughout the day then come back to write. Sometimes as I’m doing research, I’ll decide the document, topic would be great to share and I start writing as I work. I tend to go in spurts. You might not see me for 2 weeks, then there will be a flurry of posts.
- Do you have any blogs that are not genealogy related? If you wish please share their titles and URLs. — I have four other blogs that are not genealogy related. I recently revived them after a blog hacking and a long hiatus. They are:
The Lazy Vegan (Tips, recipes, and products for Vegans and those with digestive issues), Stories from the Chronic Life (my experiences with chronic disease), In Search of the Human Spirit (uplifting and positive news stories that I find), and what seems to be the most popular, Little Dog in a Big World (the adventures of my Jack Russell, Misha).
- Have you listed your blog/s at Geneabloggers? — Yes, I do.
- Which resources have helped you with your blogging? — My main resources would be staying in contact with the Genea Bloggers community through the GeneaBloggers website, Facebook, and Google+. In this way, I learn about so many things, how people are using their blogs, and so forth. The Technology for Genealogy group on Facebook has been invaluable.
- What advice would you give to a new Geneablogger? — A blog is a personal thing between you and your readers. Try to make that connection by writing in the first person, telling stories about your ancestors, and sharing your experiences with genealogy. Don’t try to write like everyone else–write like you! And, don’t be afraid to write about a topic that interests you just because it might not interest others. You would be surprise how many people can related to your ancestor’s funny story, the little box you found that belonged to your grandfather, or the difficulties you experience trying to get the worker at the county recorder’s office to realize that, yes, they do allow the public to look at their microfilms. If you write what you know and what you’ve experienced in genealogy, your readers will feel a connection to it. And, you don’t have to be serious all of the time. One of my favorite posts is the story I shared about when my Grandma got hit on the head by a live turkey.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com