Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Five Reasons to Write a Family History Blog

Lately, I've been reflecting on the evolution of this blog and everything I've learned in the past two years.  Writing about my family's history in this format has been a wonderful way of continuing and sharing the genealogy research my grandmother started.  It's been such a positive experience for me that I'm always telling fellow genealogists that they should start a blog, too.  In an effort to persuade anyone who might be reading this blog but not writing their own, here's a list of why you, too, should be writing a family history blog.

Five Reasons to Write a Family History Blog

1. Blogging helps you re-evaluate and correct your previous research

Every time I write a post about an ancestor, I must re-examine all their documentation and make sure that what I have is correct.  There have been instances where I've found that my past research is a little flimsy and I have had to go looking for further proof of that ancestor's relationships. In one circumstance, preparing to write about my third great-grandmother led me to believe that half the information I thought I knew about her was wrong. Also, with every single post I've written, I've had to dive deeper into that ancestor's life and look more closely at the place and time they lived. In the process, I have learned new things and been able to share them in the post.  I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I did about my ancestors until I began writing about them.

2. Blogging allows you to tell the story of your ancestors

Too many of our ancestors are just names and dates on a page.  When you start trying to tell a story about them, they become so much more interesting.  Even if you think you don't know enough about them, in almost every circumstance you can, with a little research, pull together enough information to create a narrative.  These stories make ancestors much more compelling.

3. Blogging helps to engage younger family members

As I wrote in my post about involving children and young adults in your research, writing a blog is a great way to engage the younger generation.  These short format histories can easily be shared via email and social media, which is exactly the way young people like to receive their information.

4. Blogging is a great way to meet new cousins and others who can be helpful to your research

In the two years I've been writing this blog, I've had a number of people stumble across it because they were researching shared ancestors.  One of these new cousins was able to help me break through a brick wall relating to my Burns ancestors.  Others have provided photos and details about family members that I wouldn't have had access to, otherwise.  In the case of Gil Cook, I was contacted by a historian who has gathered people interested in the 7th Bombardment Group on Facebook.  As a part of this group, I have gained new acquaintances who have provided further details about Gil's service. Putting information about your family online in a publicly searchable fashion can lead to many beneficial connections.

5. Blogging is an easy and effective way to share your work for posterity

You work hard researching your family.  It makes sense to share that work with other people.  Writing a book about your ancestors is a good and lofty goal, but one that most researchers don't achieve.  It's very time consuming and sometimes overwhelming work.  Writing a blog enables you to share the same information in a piecemeal way, and get that information out to your family members now, not 20 years from now.

Bonus #6: Blogging has reinvigorated my genealogy work and helped me to fall in love with researching again.  In fulfilling a promise to my grandmother to organize and share our family's history, I've remembered why we bonded over this in the first place.  It reminds me why I'm doing this work and how much it matters, not just to my immediate family, but to people all over the world who may have a connection to my ancestors.

I hope I've convinced you!

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