Power-Up SIG Notes: Blogging Your Genealogy

Genealogy Blogging

by Eileen Cunningham

Why Blog?

  • Interest family members
  • Organize your information chronologically
  • Connect with others researching the same family
  • Tell the world your story

What Should I Blog About?

  • Any person on your tree
  • Places family members lived and worked
  • Soldiers and battles
  • Something interesting that you have discovered
  • Your own memories
  • Anything, really!

How Long Should a Post Be?

  • The simplest post is simply a photo with a caption.
  • Some bloggers write just one paragraph (e.g., how kids celebrated May Day in the 1950s).
  • Some write a biographical profile.
  • Some write a biography with historical context.

Where Can I Get Ideas?

  • GeneaBloggers Tribe Web Site: <http://geneabloggerstribe.com/>
    • Ribbon at top of screen
    • Home Genealogy Prompts***
      About Us Our Members
    • Blog Search Blog
    • Resources Contact Us
  • GeneaBloggers on Pinterest (Find other bloggers’ posts) <https://www.pinterest.com/geneabloggers/>
  • “GeneaBloggers Tribe (takes you to a list of blogs)
  • “Blogging Resources”
  • Many others – Take some time to see the possibilities.

How Do I Create a Blog? (Blogging Platforms)

  • WordPress
  • Blogspot
    • Owned by Google, so you need a Google g-mail account (free)
    • Independent walk-through at  <https://blogging.org/blog/how-to-start-a-free-blogspot-blog/>

Writing process (Using Blogspot as an example)

  • Go to the Home Page for Blogspot
  • Scroll down to “Create Your Blog” button
  • In the “Title” bar, type the name of your blog (e.g., Caithness Memories).
  • In the “Address” bar, type the name in all lower-case letters with no spaces (caithnessmemories).
  • In the “Theme” box, chooses a design you like.
  • Click on “Create Blog” (orange box at bottom).
  • On the Dashboard, click on “New Post” box at top.
  • Enter the title of your entry in the bar at the top that says “Post” (e.g., Walter Green, Boat Builder)
  • Become familiar with the tool ribbon.
  • Best Practice:
    • Create your post on your word processor so that you can insert endnotes. When ready, cut and paste into the composition box in your Dashboard.
    • Add end notes to cite your sources, if applicable.
    • Paste your Word document into your post on the Dashboard.

Adding pictures

  • If you want to include an image from the Internet, first save it into your personal picture file.
  • Of course, you will probably want to choose your personal photos, and the Image page will link to your picture file.
  • Follow this process:
    • Click on the “Image” icon in the Dashboard’s tool bar.
    • A box with the heading “Add Images” will appear. Click on “Choose files.”
    • When you select the picture you want from your own file, it will pop into the open field.
    • Click on the image, and the blue box will appear. Then click “Add selected” below.
    • The image automatically pops into your document. Next, click on the image to indicate the size and position you would like to use.
    • In the bar below the image, choose Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, or Original Size. Then choose Left, Center, or Right. If you want to add a caption, click on “Add caption.”
    • Notice that the image is now beside the text. After the selection of “Small,” “Right,” and “Caption,” it was dragged upward to the desired position.

Previewing your post

  • On the top right are four buttons: Publish, Save, Preview, and Close. First click “Save.” Then click “Preview.”
  • Blogspot shows you what your post will look like. The banner “Preview” is at the top left, as the document has not actually been posted yet. Go back to the original to edit and save.
  • After all editing is done, click on “Publish.”
  • Blogspot now displays your Dashboard, where you can see the name of your post, the author (you), the number of views you have had, the number of comments people have left, and the date of creation.
  • Click the box to place a checkmark and place your cursor over the title. Below will appear four choices: Edit, View, Share, and Delete. Click “View.”
  • Notice that now the “Preview” banner has disappeared. This is what your readers will see.

How Do I Find Pictures?

  • Wikipedia
    • You can do a cut-and-paste operation of the image.
    • OR you can click on the image to go into Wikimedia, where you can see the licensing of the image.
  • Pixabay (All Public Domain)
    • Find the image you want. Save it to your picture file, and enter it into your blog by using the “Add Image” feature.
  • Google Images
    • In the Search Bar, type in what you are looking for (e.g., “Wick harbor 19th century”). From the images displayed, click on the one you want.
    • Do a cut-and-paste operation.
  • Bing Images
    • In the Search Bar, type what you are looking for (e.g., “herring industry Scotland”).
    • Notice the “Filter” icon in the upper right (it looks like a funnel). Clicking on that icon will allow you to see another tool bar. Choose “License.”
    • Next appears a drop-down list. Try “Public domain” first. If nothing desirable appears, try “Free to share and use.”
    • Click on the selected image and determine its license. Then do your cut-and-paste operation.
    • Next screen: In the lower left corner, click on the “View Page” box.
    • Next screen: Find licensing box and follow the directions provided.
  • Totally Free Images
    • Photos are NOT organized, but you can use the Search Bar to look for:
    • Places (e.g., Wichita)
    • Surnames (e.g., Mackay)
    • Occupations (e.g., cook)
    • Disasters (e.g. tornado)
    • Historical Interests (e.g., pilgrim, cowboy, etc.)
    • Search tips for this site
    • Enter plural words (volcanoes), not singular (volcano).
    • Don’t get discouraged. A search for “D-Day” does not yield anything, but under “Airplanes,” we find a picture of Eisenhower on D-Day.
    • Use the “Find on Page” feature
    • Example: Entering Civil War in the search bar yields any images related to “civil” and anything related to “war.” But, if you go the next step and enter Civil War in the “Find on Page” box, you will probably find what you are looking for.

Writing Tips

  • Web Site: The Purdue OWL helps with all aspects of writing.
    • Spelling
    • Punctuation
    • Grammar
    • Paragraph organization
    • Footnotes and endnotes
    • And much more
  • Book: William Strunk and E. B. White, The Elements of Style
    • A classic with dry wit
    • Sections
    • Elementary Rules of Usage
    • Elementary Principles of Composition
    • A Few Matters of Form
    • Words and Expressions Commonly Misused
    • Words Often Misspelled

Final Thoughts

  • Join Geneabloggers Tribe to have a support community.
  • Begin with the posts you think your family will be most interested in.
  • Explore other genealogy blogs and “Follow” them. Others will also begin to “Follow” you.
  • Give credit where credit is due: Document with endnotes and, if applicable, indicate licensing of images.
  • But most of all. . . . . . Enjoy!