This two part lesson is one of the truly coolest things you will see to
help you with your research (unless you are one of my genealogy students that I've been able to dazzle with great information already, that is).
Please follow along with me and go through all the exercises and examples so you can get to part two
of this lesson, because that is where the magic is...
You need to have a genealogy blog...and it is so, so easy to do
Here is how Blogger defines what a blog is:
"A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.
Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules.
In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what's new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not.
Since Blogger was launched, almost five years ago, blogs have reshaped the web, impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others.
And we're pretty sure the whole deal is just getting started."
This is all so true. But take a look at this part of the
"A blog gives you your own voice on the web. It's a place to collect and share things that you find interesting— whether it's your political commentary,
a personal diary, or links to web sites you want to remember.
Many people use a blog just to organize their own thoughts, while others command influential, worldwide audiences of thousands. Professional and amateur journalists use blogs to publish breaking news, while personal journalers reveal inner thoughts."
You may be thinking, "So, WHY do I need a genealogy blog?"
The short answer is:
- So that other genealogy researchers can find your blog (set up around a SURNAME you are interested in).
- The visitor to your blog finds something interesting on it that helps them.
They contact you (see how that works below), the helpful blog owner and SHARE information with you that can help further YOUR genealogy research.
Student who use my Pajama Genealogy Research System know, in great detail, the importance of helping others that are interested in genealogy lines that you are working with, because if you help them, they will help you.
In fact, in the Pajama Genealogy System, I talk about the
11 KEYS to MOTIVATION.
These 11 Keys will help you get the responses
that you want and motivate people to act to help you.
By people helping, I mean that they will be
motivated to take time out of their lives to send
you copies of: Family Bibles, photographs,
old letters, vital records, family stories,
important clues, and referrals to other
researchers interested in your surnames
This is a BIG deal. Let's talk about 3 of the
11 Keys to Motivation:
We all want more information about our ancestors and the different surnames we are researching. Let's call that the "Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie" factor.
It's natural to feel this way. My children want stuff, I want stuff, you want stuff...it
is human nature. But consider this when you think about your genealogy blog...
*KEY 1: Change the "3-G's" (Gimmie, Gimmie,
to GIVE, GIVE, GIVE!!!
This sounds cheesy, but it is true. You must be
generous and willing to give. In this case this means
being generous with some of your genealogy information,
not spending a lot of money.
You must include some valuable information in the first
message or query and offer even more appealing
information after that.
*KEY 2: Change the "I," "Me," and "My"
"You," "Your," and "Our"
From this day forward, every time that you see a Web
site, newsletter, or magazine that has genealogy
queries--look how often the words "I"--"Me" and "My"
appear. "I want" this, and "My grandmother" that.
The way you word your queries and correspondence
makes all the difference in the world. Making an effort
to use the "you," "your," and "our" words are what will
make your queries dramatically more effective than the
others. You will want to remove every "I," "Me," and
"My" that you can.
Why? Because people are interested
in THEIR ancestors, not yours? Of course, you want
your needs and interests to be known; but you must talk
about THEIR possible connection to your great-grandfather.
NOTE: You are, in a sense, selling people that you come
in contact with on taking the time and energy to respond
to you; to take time out of their busy day to help you,
or refer you to someone they know who may be able
to help you.
Of course, your genealogy queries and blog posts will not be like a late-night television infomercial. But if you are posting or answering a query, there will be a little no-pressure selling involved. Once you understand how, it is fun and easy.
Please do not misunderstand. You will be generous with
your contacts. They will benefit and everybody wins.
Just don't forget that you are always in a sense,
advertising your desire for more information.
*KEY 10: Share information, but "hold some back."
This is a very important key as far as your genealogy blog is
Have you ever been to someone's personal genealogy
Web site where you could download an entire surname
genealogy database? I've seen it many times. This
means that a visitor can just come and "hit and run."
This is a completely anonymous encounter. Which
means no leads or additional information for the person
that put the site up in the first place. Not smart.
Give, give, give (but don't give it all away). Don't
misunderstand: You will be giving is an important
part of the 11 Keys to Motivation. Being helpful and
offering service is one of the things that will compel
people to help you. But you cannot just give it all away.
Example: I am just as well meaning, but guilty, as
the next guy. For example, I came across a fantastic
Web page that had a lot of valuable information that
I needed. This site was set up where you could actually
download databases, and I excitedly did. But at the
time, I was in a rush. I did mark the Web page and
will contact the owner of the Web page "when I have
Again, you can't just give it all away like some people
do. I have seen this especially on Web sites. What
happens? A visitor comes, gets all (because nothing
was held back) of your information, and are off on
their merry way. An anonymous visitor gets the
benefit, and you get nothing.
Remember, when you hold some information back,
you create a sort of bargaining chip. You can do a
little "horse trading" and both parties will benefit.
This "win-win" approach works well.
The ONE THING that NEEDS To Be in ALL of Your
Messages, or You'd Be Better Off Just Watching TV
The "I will be glad to exchange information with you"
statement needs to be in ALL of your communications.
Your intentions must be clear; you have information and
are glad to share, but you want to compare notes and
trade and exchange information. Here are some examples
of the statements that will help commit your readers:
- "I would be glad to share and exchange information
- "I have information on other SURNAME ancestors in (place),
and in surrounding states, and I would like to exchange
information with other SURNAME researchers."
- "Would you like to compare notes on our SURNAME line?"
- "I would be happy to pay for any copies or postage for
the ______ records and send you some of the ______
records that I have."
It is all about the RELATIONSHIP and all about the
horse trading kind of attitude. Doesn't this make a
whole lot of sense?
By the way, all the other keys in the 11 Keys to
Motivation are awesome as well. When you combine
these elements together and craft them in on-line
and off-line communications (you can do the off-line
mailings just like I did--that's where the kitchen table
comes into the picture) you've got tools that give you
some serious leverage.
Here's How to Create Your Genealogy Blog
in LESS than 5 Minutes...
IMPORTANT NOTE: Blogger has recently changed their whole setup, but these steps work basically the same.
You can create your genealogy blog in about three minutes (or, five minutes if you take the quick tour. It's quick, easy, and FREE.
BLOGGER is the place to do it. Note that Blogger is owned by Google. This will be a big deal in part two of this lesson.
Yep, it is as easy as the three steps:
- Create an account
- Name your blog
- Choose a template
Go to the
Blogger Web site
Take the tour if you want to. But CLICK ON the "Create Your Blog Now" button.
Make sure that your USER NAME has no spaces between words. In this
example, my user name is RobertRagan.
Make sure that you write down your user name and password and keep it in a
The DISPLAY NAME is the name that you as the person who posts the blog
entries will have. It can be your name or a nick name.
Click in the "I accept the Terms of Service" checkbox. and then click on the
Here is where you name your blog.
This part is important. What will the blog address be? It will always be something like:
Note that the .blogspot.com will always be part of any blog you create.
You also have to fill in the section of the "Word Verification" area.
all you have to do is choose a template that you like.
Click the little "radio button" under the template you pick.
Hooray! Your blog has been created. Click on the "Start Posting" button.
Here the area where you post messages to your blog.
You can type stuff in just like you do on your word processor. You can make
words bold, change fonts and font sizes, etc.
Note the other tabs: Posting, Settings,
Template, View Blog.
You can easily make changes to your blog settings through these four tabs.
An easy way to get to your blog is to go to blogger.com and sign in.
If you click on the "Remember Me" box, you can get to your blog area without
having to type this in every time.
When you sign in through blogger.com, you will see your "Dashboard."
If you click on the green plus symbol, you can make another post to
Note that you can also "Create A Blog" from here. You can set up as many
genealogy blogs as you like.
This shows my SECOND post. I got here by clicking on the green plus symbol
from the my Dashboard at blogger.com.
So, now you see how easy it is to create a blog. Of course, you want
to create a genealogy blog (or several genealogy blogs) based around the
surnames that you are researching.
See these two example genealogy blogs:
I think that all your questions and concerns will be answered in part two of
this lesson. In fact, I can't wait for you to see what is coming up next because
it is really something special. Just wait until you see what you can do with
your genealogy blog and how it can benefit you.