Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What I have learned from genealogy blogs

I guess the first thing I have learned is that there are a lot more blogs than I have time to read. I keep finding new ones all the time and get more and more amazed at the tremendous variety of genealogical experiences. I have learned that blogging is takes the place of the old home town newspaper on an international scale. The posts give you insight into people's lives all over the world. Today's report on Google Analytics shows my posts being read in 39 countries. There are people spending significant time on my blog from places like Norway and Poland. Who would ever have guessed that?

It is still amazing to me how fast blog information can spread across the world. When I teach a class just one or two days after a major genealogical event, it seems as if most of the people already have heard the news. It is very hard to find out things before everyone else does. I read an interesting report in a blog yesterday and the counter on the site showed that hundreds of people had already read the post before I got to it. Now, one day later, 99,553 people had viewed the report. Information moves like a virus across the world.

One surprising thing I have learned, is just how relatively small the real genealogy population really is worldwide and because we are a small population, we can get to know people, even if it is only in a virtual sense. I was surprised at how many people I recognized from their blogs at the Mesa Regional Family History Expo.

One of the major things I have learned is a deep sense of humility at the tremendous knowledge and talent in the genealogy blogging community. There is always something to learn and always someone who knows more about a subject than I do. I also appreciate more how complex the world of records really has become. Maybe it was always complex, but it seems that the online digital world adds an extra dimension of challenge to the idea of research.

It is also hard, I have learned, to balance blogging with the rest of your genealogical life. Sometimes I feel like my head just can't adsorb any more information and then I find something new and even more challenging and off I go on another adventure in learning. I guess I am not ready to quit yet.


  1. heh heh, I often have the same thoughts! Good post.

    I get that bit in my mouth and don't want to stop running with it... and love it when I write something first. I'm trying to cut back my blogging hours so that I can do some real research.

    The world of genalogy records has always been vast ... we just don't discover them until we need to, it seems.

    The output of material from our hardy little band of 100 to 200 regular genea-bloggers is amazing, isn't it? I consider it the incubator of future genealogy writing - many of our future authors and columnists and speakers will come from the young folks that are blogging well - the Elyses, Katrinas, Lynns, Terris, Kathryns, etc. I left a bunch out, but there are many 20s - 40s that are excellent writers and researchers. Good for them, and for genealogy.

  2. This is so true - I think of our community as "GeneaBlogger University." And it's so much fun to learn this way!

  3. This is an excellent post that mirrors my thinking so closely. Your last paragraph -- well, I tell myself that I can blog or I can research, but I can't do both. I think I'm still trying to find the balance so that I CAN do both. I have so much information that I want to make available just on the off chance someone else is also searching for my family.

    And, of course, I learn so very much by reading blogs. I'm grateful for this community of geneabloggers.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Yeah me too, suddenly since Geana - bloggers recognized me, I am so extra busy. Of course spring always does add extra to my lap too.

    But I came here to recognize our Genalogy Star.
    You have been awarded the Ancestor Approved award for your great work on your genealogy blog...please stop by my blog and pick up the award (by right clicking on it and saving it to a .jpg) and then post the below information with the picture, using the format I used when receiving it.

    The Ancestor Approved Award asks that the recipient list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlightened you and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud. Here are the 10 things I have learned from my ancestors.