Sunday, June 26, 2011

Open Discussion Weekend: Blogging - What's in it For You?

As I'm making the final tweaks on a presentation on genealogy blogging, I've been wondering about what motivates genealogists to blog.

Why do you blog? Here are some possible reasons:

  • To document your research journey and discoveries?
  • To share information with other family members?
  • Hope that distant cousins will discover the blog and contact you?
  • To provide a forum for family members?
  • To promote your genealogy-related business?
  • To connect with other genealogists?
  • To plan and promote a family reunion?
  • To earn extra income through affiliate links?
  • To write scholarly articles about genealogy or history?
I'm sure the answers are different for every one of us. In the comments section below, please share the primary reason why you blog.

Also feel free to share why you read and follow genealogy blogs.

Be as brief or as long winded as you like - I'm just very curious about all of the different reasons that bring us to the genealogy blogging community.

Thank you for your input - I look forward to reading what everyone has to say!


  1. Reasons for blogging

    Primary: Hope that distant cousins will discover the blog and contact you
    Secondary: To share information with other family members

    Then, in descending order of importance:
    To document your research journey and discoveries
    To provide a forum for family members
    To connect with other genealogists

    Not applicable at all:
    To promote your genealogy-related business
    To plan and promote a family reunion
    To earn extra income through affiliate links
    To write scholarly articles about genealogy or history

    I read other blogs to learn about research tips, experiences I can apply to my own efforts and to get an idea of what type of writing style makes a blog engaging or not. Also for the sense of camaraderie with people who understand the excitement over dusty old pieces of information about dead people.

  2. I agree with Jill (above). I don't have a business or any affiliate links on my blog, so it's not about the money. It's about connecting with "cousins" who may be researching the same stuff. It also helps keep me on track.

    I read (a lot of) other blogs for tips and organization ideas and because I like to read about other people's successes with their research. It keeps me motivated.

  3. I'm a retired university professor who enjoys writing and reading... keeping my mind active. I have stories to tell. I want to encourage others to tell and share their stories, as well. Most of my stories are based on my study of family history. This study, and reflection, results in both non-fiction and fiction writing. My 'Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories' genealogy blog is just one on my writing outlets.
    Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  4. I started my blog mostly as a way of forcing myself to write down the life stories I'd found, rather than just having a list of unrelated facts. I'm linking each person's story back to ahnentafel lists so that it's easy to follow the stories through a particular line. Writing someone's bio is the best way to see what information you're missing, and also sometimes brings into focus stuff you already know but hadn't put together.

    It's also turning out to be an excellent prompt to get pictures scanned and documents transcribed - got to feed the blog.

    As a secondary purpose, I'm putting as many names out there as possible in the hopes that a cousin or two will find it - I've had some contact with additional information so that's already working.

  5. I started to blog because I received a box of "stuff" that had been my aunt's which contained some family photos and a lot of her personal papers. She was the aunt who disowned us but I thought perhaps some family members might like to have their baby and childhood photos back. I posted all the photos to the blog and sent an email to all family members telling them to claim what they wanted. No one claimed anything, so I still have the box. The genealogist/family historian in me won't let me throw it out even though I don't really want it myself (except for the photos).

    But after the contents of the box had been posted, I decided I might as well continue posting about my family history. I hoped that distant relatives who were also working on family history would contact me. Some have but most just tell me they appreciate what I've written about our common ancestors and aren't working on family history themselves.

    As I read Frances' response, above, I was nodding my head in agreement. Her reasons are my reasons, too.

  6. My blog says that it is an "occasional" blog and that I started it as a way of describing my frustrations so that I could clarify the problem. I need to change that line: I'm not frustrated ALL the time. But the main purpose of the blog still is to clarify my processes so that I can develop good genealogical search techniques and so that I can define my processes.
    I read other blogs to learn from them (and because I find them interesting) — as most of the others here have already said.

  7. My blog is my outlet. Although my family is moderately interested in my genealogy research, they don't keep up the with nitty gritty. Instead of boring them with my small discoveries, research strategies, etc, I can write a blog post. The writings allow me to expand on my research, often helping me to think critically about research problems. And I can share my passion with others who are interested in the same things I am. At the same time my family has the opportunity to read my blog if they choose to.

    My blog also allows me to present myself and my family tree to other genealogists and cousins. I can use my blog to connect with others that I might not otherwise find.

  8. I haven't been blogging long, and sometimes have trouble finding topics that would be of interest. So my goal is 2 blog posts a month and I think I'm on track. My reasons for blogging:
    Primary: To connect with other genealogists
    Other reasons: To document your research journey and discoveries,
    To share information with other family members,
    Hope that distant cousins will discover the blog and contact you,
    To provide a forum for family members.
    Not applicable yet, but hoping maybe some day they will be:
    To promote a genealogy-related business
    To plan and promote a family reunion
    To earn extra income through affiliate links
    To write scholarly articles about genealogy or history
    Thanks. Unfortunately your talk is on Saturday so I won't get to see it.
    I read other blogs to get ideas and because I am generally interested in all genealogy, not just my own family.

  9. I wish I could answer this, I know it isn't for the money. For now, I'll read the comments and see what others say.

  10. I'm trying to document what I've found and share it in a way that is easily searchable on the internet. When I started shaking the family tree, the information I had was mostly word of mouth passed through generations, plus some very bad photocopies of photocopies of family group sheets.

    Secondly, I love the contacts from researchers of common surnames - sometimes they validate my own research, and frequently, comparing notes with others shows me how far afield I've gotten. The best fun is when we make new discoveries together.

    I'm hardly a scholar, so the part about writing scholarly articles isn't even on my radar.

  11. Thank you, everyone, for your comments! This is pretty much the consensus that I thought was out there; The "need to share" seems to be a common theme. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to comment - this certainly helps validate some of the reasons why I thought most of us blog. Again, thank you!