Tag Archives: blogging

AFamilyHistoryBlog Review of 2016 and Plans for 2017

First, I would like to say a big

HAPPY  CHRISTMAS

to all the readers of AFamilyHistoryBlogchristmas-star-clipart-ds687z-clipart

Review of 2016;

Having worked on developing it privately for the previous 2 years, I went “Public” with AFamilyHistoryBlog at the beginning of 2016, and did quite a lot to make it known; getting it listed on other websites, like GeneaBloggers and relevant local family history websites. For a recap of what I wrote in January 2016, see HERE.

IMG_7613-crop2I also started working to post details of some old papers of my WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian. I posted 13 pieces about the WALKERs in Jan, Feb, and March 2016; that’s about one a week.

But after March, I posted very little through the summer months! In the autumn I started looking again at various bits of family history (none of which I’ve yet written about here!). I returned to posting some more WALKER documents/photos in December, facebook-logo-1and was inspired to start a Facebook page where I can share things that I find of a more general family history interest. Then I found some very interesting details about the JOHNSTON family which I have recently posted about.

At the time of writing this post, during 2016, AFamilyHistoryBlog has received 1,195 visits and 2,633 page views, including; from the UK – 1,093 views, from USA – 670, Australia – 303, Canada – 193, Denmark – 135, and New Zealand – 105, along with smaller numbers from 27 other states.

Plans for 2017;

In January 2016 I wrote about wanting to try and post to AFamilyHistoryBlog on a more frequent basis! But clearly the year has followed the same kind of pattern as previous years – working  on the blog over Christmas and into the new year,  then a long period of relatively little activity through the summer and autumn.  (See what I wrote in January 2016 – HERE). I fully expect the same pattern to continue through 2017 and beyond.

IMG_9478-croppedI want to post details of many more documents that I have about the WALKER and JOHNSTON families. Among these, there are invites from the Earl of Hopetoun, to Dinners at Hopetoun House, West Lothian, and related documents. I also want to post a piece about a Great-Uncle, James Hope WALKER R.F.C., who died in a flying accident almost 100 years ago, during WW1. I have photos of James, and of the crashed biplane to post. And there are still many other branches of my family that I want to cover on AFamilyHistoryBlog.

In the summer 2017 we have another bigIMG_1863_Hutchison-family_May-2015 HUTCHISON family gathering booked. We’re heading to a location which is new to most of the family, in South Ayrshire, Scotland. My idea is to stay another week in Scotland, around the gathering, and do some research while I’m up there. I think that I will visit Edinburgh and West Lothian. I may also visit Glasgow. And following what I’ve recently found about the JOHNSTON family, Falkirk is now on my list of places to visit. So I hope to be blogging about this trip when it comes.

Once again, have a very

Happy Christmas

and thanks for reading

Matt

All known surnames in Matt's ancestry up to his 6x Gt-Grandparents
All known surnames in Matt’s ancestry up to his 6x Gt-Grandparents
Advertisements

AFamilyHistoryBlog – new Facebook page

Today I was reflecting on a number of interesting pieces that I’ve either seen, heard, or read, about family history/genealogy in the last couple of weeks. I’ve thought about posting links to some of these onto “AFamilyHistoryBlog” – the website which I’ve been developing for nearly 3 years now. But I haven’t particularly wanted to do so because I want to keep the blog focused primarily on my research into my own family history.

facebook-logo-2Then the idea came to me that I could create a Facebook page where I can easily share links to interesting general articles like these, as well as to “AFamilyHistoryBlog” articles about my own research.

So after a bit of evening tinkering, here is that Facebook page.

This is intended, in part, to be a kind of scrapbook/diary for myself – to collect together such articles that I find of interest.

facebook-logo-1But I would also like to encourage family, and anyone else who’s interested in my family history research, to “Follow” BOTH the WordPress blog (click the “FOLLOW” button in Right-hand column of the website), and the Facebook page (click “LIKE” at the top of the page).

IMG_9478-croppedI will continue posting articles about my own family history research onto AFamilyHistoryBlog and will then share those articles on this Facebook page. But I will also use the Facebook page to quickly share anything else I see of general interest to family history research.

Thanks for FOLLOWING.

Matt.

All known surnames in Matt's ancestry upto his 6x Gt Grandparents
All known surnames in Matt’s ancestry upto his 6x Gt Grandparents

Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog on WordPress

This morning I came across this great article about how to create a Genealogy Blog (like AFamilyHistoryBlog) using WordPress. It includes a lot of facts, that I didn’t know, about just how popular the WordPress service is for creating sites like this. I would encourage people to read it, so I’m sharing the link here;

Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog on WordPress

“You probably can find dozens of reasons for creating a blog. In addition, you can probably find dozens of companies that will host a blog for you. Given the choices and the reasons available, tryin…

Source: Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog on WordPress, at Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

wordpress-logoThis is a good follow-up to the article that I wrote a few months ago for my local Family History Society (which I copied onto AFamilyHistoryBlog) about my Creating a Family History Blog.

I would really like to encourage other people to have a go at doing likewise.

Creating A Family History Blog; copy of an article for my local Family History Society newsletter

As I previously mentioned in a “Names of Interest update“, I have written an article about creating AFamilyHistoryBlog for my local Family History Society’s newsletter. The Spring 2016 newsletter featuring my article has just been published, and I’m copying the article to the blog for others to read. The article is (in part) edited from the text on my Intro/Welcome page.

Here it is;

CREATING A FAMILY HISTORY BLOG
by Matt Walker

pic-of-Matt-for-blog-5I’m in my 30’s and have always been interested in my family history. Over perhaps 15 years or so I have been gathering together a lot of research, trees, etc, done by many other people, and have from time to time done research of my own, to verify that done by others, and to add to it where I can.

In January 2014, I was looking back through some of my own family history notes, and through some very old family documents, and I thought that it would be a great idea to create a website about my family history. I have created several blog based websites in recent years, both for myself and for community groups/projects that I’m involved with. So I knew that it would be technically easy for me to setup the basic website.

A “blog” is a “web-log”; a kind of on-line journal. There are several services that will allow anyone with an e-mail to create a free blog, with space to “post” your journal entries, and the ability to create static web pages; e.g. a personal profile, or a welcome page. Among blogger-logo-ithe popular services is wordpress-logoBlogger”, owned by Google – if you already have a Google account for e-mail or YouTube, then you can easy start a “Blogger” blog. Another great service is “WordPress.com”.

My primary motivation for creating a website is to share more widely the details of these old family documents (dating back as far as the early 1700’s). My concern is that if these documents are held in just one small part of the family, then how will other people in the wider family (with a shared ancestry and a shared interest in documents about their ancestors) get to know or hear about such documents, or about the family details that they can contain – details like evidence for family relationships which may be difficult to demonstrate purely from other available records. These documents and the details they contain could remain unknown to many people who would be interested in researching these family histories.

IMG_7620-edBy creating a website I can share scanned images and transcriptions of these family documents for others to find on-line, helping them with their family research, and demonstrating the sources of my information – which sometimes lead me to conclusions that differ from those of others on-line who often appear to have relied only on records like parish registers!

I began my blog as a private, password protected site, because I wanted to build up some content and play with the layout and format before showing it to other people. With blogging services you can often choose and change between a large range of site design “templates”, which you can then customise to varying extents. I also wanted to consult my close family about it before going more public. So it’s only after about 2 years that I’m ready to make my website more public. Blog-screen-shot-2

I deliberately chose a generic name for my site; “A Family History Blog”, because my intention is to include material about all the different branches of my family tree. Other people might be focused on a particular branch or surname, so might wish to use that name in their blog’s title. I was fortunate to get the name I had thought of. You could try to register a variety of different website names and find them all to be taken already! So you’ll probably need something very original!

I hope that my website can become a very collaborative one, with some of my relatives adding details of the information that they have, and the research that they’ve done into our shared ancestors. It is possible with most blogging services to add multiple authors/accounts to a blog, allowing each one to add articles/“posts” to the site, while one account remains overall administrator.

I would advise anyone else thinking of starting their own family history website to think about what your aims are for doing so. This will help to inform what services you use, and the style, layout and content of your site. Also have a look at the numerous other personal family history websites that are out there. As I began my site, I discovered GeneaBloggers-logowww.GeneaBloggers.com which has a list of over 3,000 genealogy and family history-related blogs. It’s well worth looking through some of these to get a sense of the kind of site that you could create. In due course I plan to submit my site for addition to the GeneaBloggers list.

Please have a look at my blog. I would welcome the thoughts/comments of more experienced family history researchers about my site and approach. I would also be happy to speak in my local area, to individuals or small groups, to advise about the practical/technical side of how you can create your own family history website.

You can see my blog at; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com

e-mail; [please use the Contact Page of this website]

Matt Walker.

Useful resources;

Blogging services (just a few of many);

Genealogy and Family History blogging;

Blogging again in 2016!

I hadn’t done anything with AFamilyHistoryBlog for several months! But with Christmas 2015 fast approaching, I took another look at it – which got me going to finish off the first big project for the site; posting scans of a collection of OLIPHANT papers – about the Oliphant and Barker families of Kirkcaldy in the 1700’s and 1800’s. This is now finished, except for a few small tweeks and added notes (which I’m still working on!).

I have now created a static index page for the OLIPHANT and BARKER family papers.

In the next few months I hope to make contact on-line with people/groups who may be interested in the Oliphant papers, to let them know about what I’ve put up on this site. This includes people I’ve been in contact with before about the Oliphant family, and groups like the Kirkcaldy Civic Society and Fife Family History Society. I hope that this material will be of interest to them, and that in return they may have new information/documents for me and which I can perhaps share on AFamilyHostoryBlog for the benefit of others.

IMG_7620-edMy intention for 2016 is to move on to a second set of documents that I want to put onto AFamilyHistoryBlog; those of my WALKER family. I have a chest-full of documents, dating back to the early 1700’s, which I want to work through – scanning, transcribing, and posting up onto AFamilyHostoryBlog, with additional notes.

In looking back at AFamilyHostoryBlog over the 2 years (very nearly) since I started it, its clear that a pattern might be emerging – of working  on the blog over Christmas and into the new year,  then a long period of relatively little activity through the summer and autumn. But my current intention for 2016 is to try and work on AFamilyHostoryBlog a little more frequently – perhaps trying to establish a pattern of posting something once every couple of weeks, or once a month! I’ve got plenty of material that I want to post up (which could keep things going for a long time), and I should be able to make the time for it (if I want to!).

I also want to start promoting/advertising AFamilyHostoryBlog a lot more. Until now, while I’ve been developing the site and adding initial content, I’ve kept it very low profile – telling relatively few people, and using settings that keep it off search engine listings! But now I think the site is about ready for people to see, and my intention is that people should be able to find the documents that I’m posting onto the site through search engine searches. That, I hope, will help them with their family history research.