One of the best and most interesting ways to help research your family tree is to keep a blog. This is a great way both to organise – by keeping all your notes in one place – and communicate your findings, possibly putting you in touch with other people who could help you on your quest.
All you have to do is set up on WordPress or a similar blogging site, choose your title, settings and themes, and you’re off. If you’re new to writing, don’t worry – everybody starts somewhere, and you’ll grow confidence in time.
There’s no point in writing if no one’s going to read it, so once you’ve got a few posts up, advertise yourself via your social media channels.
Starting a blog may be the hard part, but you’ve got to keep it up. The interactive, ongoing nature of a blog is one of the reasons it is such a good medium for genealogists, so keep on updating your posts on a regular basis, trying to making good use of photographs or video, and you’ll keep your readership.
Remember that you want to make it interesting for anyone who visits, not just you and your family members. Repeat visitors and traffic from word-of-mouth and internet searches will make you blog a success. Put links in your articles to other genealogy blogs that are relevant to your search, or that interest you. This helps you interact with the community of genealogy bloggers, who hopefully will link back to you, which helps your site be found on the internet.
Similarly, if you use information from someone else’s blog always credit them and a link back. The world of genealogy blogs is small and you’ll get caught out. Citing your sources is of course professional, and will look good if you end up with a book publishing deal out of the blog Who knows? Stranger things have happened. While the blogging world may be small, this could work to your advantage – you may meet online a blogger whose ancestors have a relation to yours, and may be able to fill in some of the details of your quest.
One way the online community works is by having theme days, such as maybe Black Sheep Sunday or Way Back Wednesday. Taking part in these will get you known and allow you to meet and interact with other bloggers.
In the past, family histories could be ephemeral affairs, passed down through the generations by word of mouth. The internet now allows you the opportunity of building something more solid, that can engage younger family members who, in the future, may be able to add their own contribution to the family history.