Crowdsourcing and NFHM2021

Fantastic topic for #ANZAncestryTime chat especially with National Family History Month in August.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

What do you think is crowd sourcing in relation to Family History?

Genealogists or family history type groups helping each other and working together for a common cause

Excellent definition Sue – succinct and yet comprehensive 🙂

For me it’s about asking for support for a collaborative project

I put a callout on the blog for guest bloggers to write about our shared family members. Maybe that’s crowdsourching? Btw I didn’t get anyone take up the offer

Some societies use guest bloggers to write posts weekly eg @gsq Yet another type of crowd sourcing.

Curious fox website

I’m a member of a number of FB groups, occasionally I will ask for help when I’m stuck but I usually ask for help on How I can find the info I’m looking for so I can find it rather than ask someone else to find the info for me

There’s nothing like making the discovery yourself, that to me is what #genealogy is about plus you learn on how or where to find what your looking for

help from Ireland Reaching Out is a type of crowdsourcing where locals who know the place help researchers from afar.

Morning! Not sure that I can contribute a lot to the topic today but you’ve just quoted the one example I could think of. #ANZAncestryTime Although @duchas_ie also uses crowdsourcing and this can also be a great assistance to 20thC #FamilyHistory research – just ask

Also digitisation has overtaken some earlier indexing. Of course correcting Trove texts and adding to lists fits this category as well.

In NZ there’s the 1893 suffrage petition database… you are able to contribute a short bio

this event (Twitterchat) is an example of crowd-sourcing n’est-ce-pas?

I would argue that the 2 ancestryhours we participate in are a type of crowdsourcing as well.

There is CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing available to genealogy societies and special interest groups for indexing their records. It is a free, web-based program I saw at #RootsTech a number of years ago.

The new versions of Rootschat email groups that I m a member of are definitely crowdsourcing with lots helping find info for someone with a question – mainly Tasmanian groups

not used crowd sourcing that much. I have a few FB groups for each of my family groups, in asking questions but hit and miss. Used wikitree but find mistakes.

Perhaps something like… where you can not only claim a convict but also contribute information about them

A great result of crowdsourcing is FreeUK Genealogy @FreeUKGen with lots of volunteers

asking and receiving help on social media, platforms that provide input e.g text correction on Trove, transcription sites so many examples. i’ve had folks improve photos just by asking

I suppose that putting cousin bait out there on my blog could be crowdsourcing

I guess @BillionGraves would be another example of crowdsourcing yes?

using social media & message boards to assist both on and offline. Years ago a helpful person on Rootschat looked at some Welsh records for me, long before they were online.

Left a message on Rootschat 4 years after original post. Got a response and person was able to give me information about my Turnbulls Borders area of #Scotland going back to 1700s 😲 ❤️message boards / #Facebook groups / #Twitter threads opportunity to ask questions & #giveback

Another great example of crowdsourcing is @WikiTreers. From the growing well sourced trees to special challenges, the make use of the crowd to advance trees and familyhistory knowledge.

I had to google the definition “enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the internet”…. So basically getting a group of genealogists together and seeing what unfolds! Hehehe.

Crowdsourcing is when a community helps to research such as on @WikiTreers

Indexing for @FamilySearch is one of the big uses for crowdsourcing in #familyhistory. At the other end of the spectrum is individuals asking for help on social media such as Facebook Groups.

I think it can be a number of things like when I go “Hive mind – what’s a good TV show to watch?” – it can be asking your peeps for help or advice or it can be transcribing a graveyard together.

Devanath / Pixabay

Discuss your crowd sourcing experiences from helping an individual’s research through to large indexing projects. (Or do you avoid crowdsourcing?)

Asking the crowd for help with getting material from paid for genealogical sites or free I think is wrong. There are copyright restrictions and these should be followed.

Yeah that irks me. Like, I’m paying this large sum money because I’m using their website for the research I am doing. And copyright copyright copyright. So many of them have free trials or a month payment if you don’t want to fork out more $$$

Or join a society, go to a library or @FamilySearch centre, etc. There are so many places you can source stuff than elect to break copyright.

I’m a contributor to both @IrelandXO and @duchas_ie The former involves helping individuals with their research and the latter involves transcribing the Irish schools’ folklore project from 1930s. I’ve also assisted individuals on other sites

I was very excited to be able to help with this using my knowledge of the excellent resources of

I’m about to start a crowdsourcing project during the Christchurch Heritage Festival in October, which I can’t tell you the details of yet… But stay tuned…

so far, only recently starting using social media for crowd sourcing, which have pointed me in the direction of new resources, especially with overseas research. Only started blogging which might help others in the future

there are lots of ANZAC sites that crowd source data on specific soldiers and war memorials.

The Online Cenotaph – Auckland War Memorial Museum is an example of that

Years ago I went to the research room. Probably my first exploration into checking out archives. A bit more specialist than the local library. With so much online I am wondering if the research room still exists. Could not see about it with a quick online check.

Kia ora, Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre replaced the old Armoury on Level 2 in 2016. The public are welcome to use the published resources and contribute to #OnlineCenotaph… We are happy to answer any questions

Another crowdsourcing opportunity is Scottish Indexes which is getting support from indexers .

I have just this week begun to transcribe records for @scottishindexes This is my first time transcribing

I was transcribing Naval records for the TNA there for a second too last year.

Just started my first page @scottishindexes They’ve given me so much in past 18 months – 11 free 8 hour conferences. I felt the need to payback a little

Another site I’ve been able to contribute to collection of digitised glass plate negatives. Identified photos of gg-gparents

a bazillion years ago when I started I helped @GSQPresident with indexing deaths during JAn-June 1916. You can imagine given WWI. I suspect no one has ever looked at them

never underestimate how much you’ve helped dear Pauleen. I think that’s the tragedy is that much of the work is unseen/unrecognized and yet used all the time.

Like some software recognises the developers it would be nice to recognise the workers by adding to digital documents people that helped.

I suspect many people using #ancestry or #findmypast don’t realise the indexes have been created by societies as they don’t read the source info

I have made connections and found people who emigrated using @WikiTreers

I get family info requests on my Irish and Dorfprozelten blogs which helps others

I use FreeUKGen sites @FreeUKGen and have donated to them did start transcribing years ago but did not carry on

and I imagine to a degree that’s what @LostCousins might be all about too, yes?

I suppose a recent/continuing experience is being part of a Facebook group for my Gill ancestors and helping write up a document of all the descendants on my line from my 4x G Gparents down & assisting others with writing their line.

good result from crowdsourcing here 3 different versions of one photo enhanced by Rootschat folks after I asked for advice on FBook – see post below

Not a big crowdsourcing person. Really a lack of time as I work full time. I think it is a great idea although some of the questions I see on social media asking for help could be solve with a google search. Not sure they are lazy or what.

yes someone complained about that on my facebook knitting group today but I think it is just people want to hear from a human not a machine where they can find stuff or what they should be using.

I love transcribing Tassie convict records but usually get the person to type out what they can first, then I help with the unknown bits.

I reckon some of the best crowd sourcing that has happened has been during the UTAS course – by sharing assignments for everyone to read, I got some excellent advice/feedback from other students. (Only shared after assignment had been marked – Ed)

I am very busy on @WikiTreers but have previously transcribed for Family Search

Just today I have a comment on my latest post suggesting I have the age and time period out by a decade – love that input!

I agree I get all sorts of unexpected info and requests from my blog

I love it when people make contact through the blog when if they recognise their ancestor in my post

geralt / Pixabay

Have you any plans or suggestions for celebrating National Family History Month in Australia & NZ?

I attended the opening talk by Zoom with @HicksShauna and plan to attend the closing one with @fiona_memories. Our group is running a talk with Shauna via zoom also.

Where do you find out about all these talks, etc?

good point Brooke. I think we should have some kind of national calendar like the NFHM calendar AFFHO did but for all the time. There is… but I suspect a US focus.

Great idea – another thing we need a volunteer to upkeep? NZSG has an events calendar. Perhaps AFFHO could have n annual calendar.…

Sharn’s talk was so amazing. I really do wonder at the value of having bricks and mortar if we are safer using zoom. It was always so hard to get people to use the library anyway – I think our efforts now need to go into digitizing as much as we can.

Hoping to get to a family history day next Saturday. Wellington Region #FamilyHistory event (combined Wgtn branches of NZSG)

Might see you there, Jane. I’m selling raffle tickets in afternoon.

ah raffle tickets. The funding lynchpin of many a society 😉

Auckland and Christchurch Family History Expos. Launching a new Plan to Publish online course plus some new guides to help with publishing and sharing your research.

When I can get back on the computer, re start my blog!!! Dormant since 2018.

I have joined in with @luvviealex #NFHM2021 Blogging Challenge to blog every week or more often in August

Am doing two talks at Rosny Library – will probably be half hour talk then hour and a half to do practical stuff from the talk

I’m going to a talk at my local Family History Society. This will be my first visit

The opening talk to Family History month in AUS & NZ discussed the future of #familyhistory societies. What role do you see societies playing in the future?

you can now have a speaker in London give a talk to a society in Cheshire watched by someone in America that’s the one good thing to come out of the last two years, but like archives, if we don’t use family history societies they will disappear

I really like locality chats eg run by #DevonFHS for a gp of Parishes, sharing real local knowledge, alongside FB for questions between chats. #RyedaleFHG have informal Zoom chat (how to peel a banana to detailed FH questions/sharing finds informally – is great too.

I have used #familyhistory societies in the past, and can be useful as they have inside knowledge of counties and towns, particular maps. They do need be more involved with social media.

#future very much depends on members/committees keeping up to date w/ #technology, making their resources available #Online / in #Digital format, changing mindset from pull to push ie as much if not more online teaching content & resources as #f2f engagement

Check out Part 1 of podcast from last week between Andy of @AFHpodcast & Margaret from @FHSofCheshire – who discuss the benefits of #FamilyHistory societies. Well worth a listen Link –…

Personally I think local Societies need to be more interactive with all members do combined meetings about local topics

Even still, a lot of online sessions are held during work hours. I usually sign up If it has a watch later option, but I always forget to watch it later.

And more flexible timing. I know I could only go at weekends or evenings when I worked and had a family at home.

very true. And if we got younger presenters that might suit them better anyway.

I (Alex) think more user-generated content is essential and I think that has been part of SAG’s success with Friday afternoon chats. I have been so impressed with members’ contributions.

The issue though is how many societies we can afford to be members of. How do you weigh up which to keep, which to join, which to leave?

I expect value for money especially when your already a subscriber to several other websites, plus other costs involved in buying Certs etc, #genealogy is not a cheap hobby and some people should not expect it to be freely given either

I’ve never been able to get myself into the society thing. Maybe because I’m younger? I’m not sure. Joining a society just hasn’t spoken to me. I love the online fam history groups – Maybe they could have a fb group if they don’t already.

My English ancestors come from 20 English counties but I’ve never really considered joining a Society mostly due to cost of joining so many, I would follow them on Twitter/Facebook so I could keep up to date with news from the Society’s

excellent point which I hadn’t considered before. You just can’t afford to join every society can you ? But Facebook is free 🙂

And don’t forget That is free too

At least with following Society’s on FB/Twitter if I see a post made by the relevant society I can comment or send a message and make enquiries

I would join societies for areas my ancestors are from if I knew joining would be useful. If it’s not going to be helpful, why bother?

Which means that #FamilyHistory societies need to MARKET themselves. What is the value proposition for joining a society? (My idea of becoming a marketing guru for FH societies keeps growing 🙂

Agree, I think the majority of members are retired or have a lot of time. Often only open few hours during the day while others working. They can be useful but again hit and miss

The successful societies will weigh up the costs of going online with the number of members they may attract subs will reflect this

Local Societies know the peculiarities of their area and history useful for researchers from afar they need to promote this

completely agree Hilary. The most successful posts for QFHS Facebook page are about the local projects we have indexed or digitized.

Societies need to adapt to changing social & economic conditions. Change takes time to implement and requires planning. Might be too hard for many organisations when they might not have the skills to succeed at adapting.

In order to survive Societies need to encourage younger people and involve themselves more with social media

Societies need to upgrade websites and start getting younger people into their ranks

Blog posts

Carmel – Using photo enhancement as crowd sourcing,

Alex –  Genealife in lockdown challenge intro, Sum up after the challenge,


Blogging your family history

Blogs from those family historians participating in tonight’s chat

Jennifer – family history blog, one place study blog, fitness blog

Maggie – a kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes

Maggie – first post about her genealogical resolutions in 2011

Jill – her jottings

Pauleen – family in Australia and links to other blogs with migration stories

Sharn – anecdotes and tips, convict research, jottings

Jane – Memories – thoughts- musings – findings

Jane – Warts and all -post about herself

Alex – an Australian family historian recording her research for prosperity

Brooke – writer and family historian

Hilary – family ancestors and cousins

Paul – his school years part 1

Liz – blog about local history run by a library

Debbie – new blogger

Geneabloggers tribe – prompts for writing posts

Genealogy blog party – add post link relating to topic of party

Sue Adams including photo analysis and digitization

Also check out the blogs linked here on the sidebar of this blog

What is a blog?

General information about blogging platforms – pros and cons

Using WordPress – two versions .com is free or .org is self hosted

I use WordPress because it was easy to set up and use. I didn’t try any other platforms. Their app is really great and easy to use. My only complaint is that I don’t like their new block editor.

Yes, I’m still using the classic editor, really need to get to grips with the block editor!

I don’t like it either although slowly adjusting (as with Trove upgrade) Biggest problem has been in trying to edit some pre-existing pages (rather than posts) Layout got garbled and I have been unable to ungarble it

What is a block editor and how does it work pls.

Anyone know how to copy the whole post as you are writing it? I can only copy a block at a time.

I use with @elemntor page builder and a growing collection of plugins!

I use self-hosted WordPress. I think it’s important to have your own domain, so you’re not depending on other companies’ business decisions and build your brand on your own turf. Plus, WP is full-featured and affordable.

Free version is exactly that but the downside is your viewers are plagued by adverts within your posts, the upgrade should only be an option that you choose to upgrade, it’s not forced #ANZAncestryTime there are higher levels than what I pay but these would be for business users

I use WordPress, self-hosted as it gives me more freedom to tinker away. I love the WordPress community and support out there. You can always start with a free WordPress-hosted blog, and move to self-hosting later if you wanted.

I use WordPress but the paid version. Started off with the free version until I was established, the pain with this is the adverts, I pay £36 a year and this removes the adverts and allows access to some better themes etc

I host on my own site using WordPress dot org. It does cost more however has hundreds of plug ins that give more functionality. Top 3 @yoast SEO, @akismet Anti-spam and a broken link checker.

Using Blogger – if you have a gmail account then you already have a blog allocated to you

I use Blogger. It’s not as pretty or professional looking as WordPress but I’m all for user-friendly platforms and Blogger fits the bill in this regard.

I use Blogger Alex as it was more user friendly when I began 12 years ago and I wasn’t a technology minded as I have now become. I like the ability to be creative with its look too

while I like the clean look of some WordPress templates which I use for three blogs over 7 years I find the Blogger platform I have used since 2006 for multiple blogs more friendly, flexible and totally free

I agree with @geniaus about using Blogger because of the simple-to-modify templates and the #Free cost. I want to spend my time blogging, not learning new technology 😉

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Getting help and courses or manuals

A course on personal blogging using Edublogs and WordPress…

Manual for wordpress https://…

Support if using google’s blogger setup…

Another tip for #genealogy bloggers – Learn the lingo. A blog is the publication (like a book or magazine) and a post is like an article a magazine or a chapter in a book

ddimitrova / Pixabay

Why blog and essential elements for writing posts

Essential elements depends on who you are writing for but using categories and tags help navigate the blog posts. I began blogging in 2007 while teaching using edublogs which is a version of wordpress

Try to use more than just writing and photos, add interviews using soundcloud etc or make slideshows on a topic

Excellent points Sue! Mix it up. Oral history interviews is a brilliant suggestion and yes, slideshows can be very effective as the SAG Friday afternoons have proved.

Tools that can be embedded in blog posts or sidebars… not only for Edublogs

Initially I started blogging after I retired in 2008. I still wanted to blog and realised that blogging about #genealogy would let give me plenty of content for posts.

I’ve just had my 10th blogiversary. When I first started I had no idea what I was doing or why but I thought it might be a good idea. I loved reading genealogy blogs

Don’t forget to write about yourself on your blog. One day your descendants may be researching YOU

I have actually done that, split my life into parts and have written about my childhood years up until I left school so far

Janet Few – suggested writing about your life in Census time which was a pretty neat meme I thought

That’s a pretty good way to do it, not many people actually feel comfortable writing about themselves, me included, it’s not the easiest thing to do but so important!

writing about a childhood theme can offer perspectives on “then and now” even when no descendants are involved.

I started blogging because I wanted to reach new clients but also because I wanted to make connections with others (cousins and wider #genealogy community)

I started a website/blog to have somewhere to put my writing about family history. I started it about 2 years ago (link in bio 😉 Essential elements: 1. Entertaining stories 2. Easy to navigate/search

started blogging this year as I was inspired by others blogging about their research. I had Facebook group setup for family members but not everyone was on it but the blog provided info in nicer relatable format. And share with wider community and friends

I think family history blogs can be whatever interests the author, be it story telling, research tips or letting others know what is new or happening in the family history community. A blog has to be for whatever purpose the author chooses for it

One of the recommendations often given to beginners is about “writing for yourself”. To enjoy it you must like your blog genre

this is such an important point. It’s a bonus if other people read the blog. You really have to enjoy the writing/composing/process itself.

First thing I check out on a blog is the page about the author – credentials, reason for blogging etc Also important to have good navigation on your blog. Maybe have list of other bloggers you follow on your sidebar

A #Genealogy blog is like a first draft of #FamilyHistory. When I actually write an ancestor bio, I check my blog to see what I said about that person and which visuals I used, plus which links I included. Gives me a head start in writing for the family!

I started my blog because I wanted to tell the stories of my ancestors and share those stories with distant cousins, I was never going to write a book, so this was the next best option

Blogging is a great way to record stories and unlike a book you can go back and edit or easily write a sequel

That’s a great point Sharn, never thought of it like that, a book will@always be finished, whereas our research and family trees never will

I have posted updates on some of mine and it is easy to link the 2 posts

eBook about ideas for post writing and improving your audience etc

Blogging to share family stories and like @geniaus I wanted to continue blogging after retirement so started a new one for sharing #familyhistory and having decided I’d never get around to a book, blog is best

I started blogging to help me focus my research and encourage me to write up what I’d found. Essential elements: readable and accessible content. That’s it. There’s a lot more you can add, but I think that’s what it’s all about really.

It wasn’t long after I started blogging that I realised I would never have time to write that book about my ancestors. So my blog became the place to tell the stories so that they weren’t lost forever

Essential elements for #genealogy blogs : intelligent, impeccable, inspiring, illustrated, individual.

Blogging essential elements: 1. Don’t worry about getting it perfect. You get better with practice. 2. Write in your own voice / be genuine. 3. Understand your audience. 4. Pick a platform that works for mobiles. 5. Finding time for #blogging. And so on

Essential elements are engaging writing, good pictures/design to attract attention or be visually appealing, solid research quoting verifiable sources, good advice, and connected.

Do you stick to a strict word count when you blog?

If the post is very long, either needs cutting down for clarity or splitting over 2 or more posts. Series of related posts can be linked with tags and encourage readers to come back for more

I have 16 in draft form 🤪🤪 they all won’t make the cut though

I decided I’d write what the story needed rather than try to cut it short. It becomes my reference record for the future. If some are too long, so be it.

athree23 / Pixabay

Important when setting up theme etc that it is responsive to all browsers and phones etc.

My blog using Edublogs Navigation across top but also other ways to search on sidebar

I had blogged with a Tasmanian Devil toy while I travelled during my long service holidays but seriously began the family history blogging in 2014 when doing the UTAS Diploma of family history

I think it’s important to share a little about who’s writing the blog so the reader knows who’s talking to them and gets credibility. Content is then king and every blogger will have their own voice. Citing sources also validates content.

I have an “About Me” on my blogs Jennifer. Though it possibly needs updating now.

Just thought of another essential for bloggers. Don’t be anonymous. Let your readers know who you in an About me page or widget.

This is a fun tool to use to incorporate into an appropriate blog post

I write mainly for myself and family so my focus for narratives is predominantly informational. The blog is public on the off chance something may useful to someone. If it is, you are very welcome! If not then I feel better for having written it down

When you need some ideas and stimulation the Challenges are good to look at such as

I started to write for my family. They were happy to read stories about their grandparents/great-grandparents. They are less interested in more distant ancestors. Now, I hope to attract distant cousins too, to share knowledge and research ideas. I now also write for myself, to record my research. Blogging has become part of my research methodology.

I love the geneablogging themes, used them a lot when I first started out, a great way to get inspired. Wordless Wednesdays are a favourite!

I decided to write a genealogy blog to publish my ancestors’ stories & hopefully find cousins. My blogging is split across 2 websites (own family history & #OnePlaceStudy). Time is a big issue for me. Not enough of it!

Another app is the WordPress app for mobile devices. Great for answered comments. You can blog while away and no need to take a computer although I find a full sized keyboard easier for typing.

I have a contact page on my site. I’ve had a few messages through that. (My blog post comments play up a bit on Squarespace, so luckily I’ve got the contact page.)

I am not a traditional family history blogger and blog less than I used to but a blog is a great source to host your write ups and obviously share with others

I find blogging has its peaks and troughs (in terms of ability/desire to post) but it is there and you can always go back to it.

Writing can help you sort out your research – what is missing, strategies for moving forward and more – but indeed also time and motivation

Liz this is such an important point. The process of writing down your research forces you to stand back and evaluate it and your process. Thanks for reminding us of that.

I was studying computer science and was trying to learn how to build a website. I chose genealogy as my topic because that was my hobby (now profession). That was in 1993. Initially it was a links collection, turned into a blog in 2005.

trevoykellyphotography / Pixabay

Benefits of blogging

Blogging has delivered a cornucopia of benefits : friends, fun, family connections, fans; education, energy, enrichment, opportunities, overseas travel

I have found blogs so useful for keeping me in touch with the international community and about conference presentations that I may have missed.

Benefits: Feel good moment when a reader said: ‘I must say for the first time this article brought life to names in my family tree and for that I thank you.’

Let’s not concentrate on the past when blogging. We #genealogy bloggers should also be sharing our stories and thoughts for future generations. My feeble attempt is here I hope it’s of interest to my descendants.

Writing often helps us see the gaps in our research, encourages us to explore other aspects of history (social, local, medical etc) & to see connections between people, places, events.

I also use social media to share about my blog posts. @travelgenee on twitter, facebook, pinterest and instagram. Plus @canva to create images for the blog and social media.

excellent point Fran! They all feed each other, no?

Yes, birds of a feather. I also share across social media platforms and enjoy reading what you have to say when you post. GeneaBloggers FB page is another way to discover new #Genealogy blogs and meet genies.

I’ve only blogged about one line of my family who are part of a major research/biography project. It’s brought a few unknown cousins out of the woodwork. Great to connect with them. Gold in that some had photos

I’m constantly amazed at the previously unknown cousins who contact me. I’ve done quite a few collaborations over the years with cousins from afar who I met through my blog

My #Genealogy blog has been excellent #CousinBait, attracting more than a dozen cousins to get in touch over the years. Don’t forget to have a mechanism on the blog for readers to contact you!

What will your next blog post be about? My next few posts will be about: A convict ancestor & his London family Marriage laws in colonial NSW Favourite podcasts for a family historian

So good to plan ahead – and schedule posts too

I’d love to be in that situation. Usually, I like to write a weekly post, though often only make it only by the skin of my teeth, and sometimes not at all

great ideas. I must create a list so I get motivated rather than faffing thinking what to write, run out of time and  don’t then blog!

Ideas come to me as I research my family history. When I find something interesting I want to write about it

No calendar for me either. When I have an idea I start a draft or if I have time write it then and there.Sometimes I schedule ahead or post immediately. A calendar would put too much pressure on me.

Just had a contact today from a person who found a surname in my Important to add email contact for those who do not want to comment. Make commenting easy! #ANZAncestryTime I use email icon generator to avoid email spam bots

Friendships made with other bloggers, readers and previously unknown cousins was so unexpected to me when I first started blogging

Remember that #genealogy blogging isn’t just about family stories. Genealogists use blogs to share news, post reviews, discuss issues, seek help, share announcements and more. Let’s not be narrow when we talk about blogging for #genealogy

I have found blogs so useful for keeping me in touch with the international community and about conference presentations that I may have missed

This is what my blog became so I removed the family posts to another blog

I love reading blogs that share genie news and announcements. Along with family stories of course

Does anyone else download their blog posts to a Blog to Print format? I’ve been doing it with mine and think it’s worthwhile. Belt and braces 😉

I find the most interesting ancestors often have no descendants, perhaps more time to do other things! Plenty of Genies out here to read blog instalments if you do get going with your life history!

Also the best bit about research takes one to different parts of the world. Blogging about a cousin from abroad or moved around the globe shows how small the world really is..

it is very important to own your own content. This is why I cannot recommend sites like Wix or Weebly. A social media policy to consider what you publish on sites like FB, who can join in, expected behaviours, etc can get you thinking before an issue happens

Create an account on a blog reader to subscribe to all the blogs you like to follow such as

I would advise any new blogger to read as many different blogs as you can then read even more! List what you like, what you dislike, from a visual perspective and a written one! Research counts as we know, write what you want, how you want

Excellent advice Paul and what I myself did when I started and there are far more blogs around now than all those years ago. Follow other blogs too

Remember your audience is small in the beginning. Mainly supportive friends and family so mistakes are forgiven.

Whatever you do try not to “waffle” if a post is longer than it needs to be people stop reading before they get to the end and may miss things

My top tip is to go read other family or local history blogs. What do you like about each one? What do you not like? Then think about what content you’d like to share, and who you’re writing for.

Weekly prompts from Julie Goucher – Book of Me

Share your posts via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to find your family and community

WordPress offers videos and webinars about blogging. Societies offer classes from time to time. Lots of great bloggers out there eg The Legal Genealogist. Geneabloggers Tribe for tips and topics. Sepia Saturday themes

there’s lots – Geneabloggers for a start which provides lots of prompts. Sepia Saturday is a great prompter as well as is the AtoZ challenge. Free photo sites eg Pixabay and Facebook groups e.g. Australian Local & Family History Bloggers.

a blog allows larger stories that are always accessible. I would still have the FB group as some people really like it so you can give notifications of things on the blog, have discussions when working together, etc. They can compliment each other.

Connection to a wider genealogy community, sharing of stories, information, collaboration, help, friendship, plus it’s my family history preserved and ready to share with family anywhere in the world

Book recommendation from Jennifer for memoir writing

Although this is an important point. Keep it focused. Don’t moan about your poor customer service experience with a utility company on your genealogy blog! I have a Medium blog for anything else I need to express online

main benefit so far being able to share info with everyone and family members they felt more connected as it was more personal to them.

Revitalising your blog is a good idea. Every so often I give mine a new look.

One of the main benefits of blogging is connecting with distant cousins and other researchers. And also, it helps clarify my thoughts and research processes – I often sit down to write a blog post and then go off down a rabbit hole following a lead!

Decide who your audience is – who are you writing for? and what your intention is – what do you want to achieve with your blog? – It can be for whoever you want it to be for. It can be whatever you want it to be.

Feel more connected to the genealogy community as a whole, met so many new friends from blogging, not just genie friends, find it therapeutic, not found as many cousins as I had hoped, if I am honest and it’s FUN

while people mentioned in a blog post may be indirectly connected to my family, some of my stories have helped others with their family history

pixelcreatures / Pixabay


Adding photos where you might not know the people or place or event, can allow your readers to take part on the blog by leaving comments.

And I think responding to comments is so important to acknowledge our readership.

You can build up a network, make great connections and, importantly, you’re not just talking to yourself. Yes, they can be time consuming to respond to, but worth it for interaction.

I haven’t enabled them on mine but am going to be expanding my content & offerings soon, so will consider then

If you want to build a community then comments are important. However you do need good anti-spam plugins or you will have so many comments that require managing, dumping and waste time.

Comments are essential as Fran says, I have met some genuinely wonderful people by just engaging with their comments, some really good friends now

Connecting with other bloggers has been a huge benefit. Being a Rootstech Ambassador through blogging has been wonderful too

I used to try and comment on every post I read. I felt if someone bothered to write it I could comment. Now if often fail as sometimes WordPress does not like me logging in and I loose the comment or cannot leave it. Frustrating

If leaving a comment, highlight and copy before you hit the submit button. Easy then if comment doesn’t go through first time

I’ve found spam only appears on older posts and most valid comments are on new posts. So my set-up allows comments on posts written in last 10 days to post automatically. & Spam is more easily managed.

I usually end my post with a question so my readers can comment as well

I find it very frustrating to read an interesting blog and not be able to comment. I don’t think it encourages people to read your work

Something to remember 

I blog when I can. Sometimes I’m prolific and other times I don’t have time to write at all. I don’t think it matters as long as you enjoy it.

Tips from Carmel

  • Use simple language
  • Add sub headings
  • Break up text with paragraphs, bullet points, lists, images
  • Compress images so blog post loads quickly
  • spell check
  • About page
  • Make it easy to comment
  • Subscription options
  • No pop ups
  • Search friendly
  • Respond to comments

Reminder from Fran: I’m happy to do the GDPR for everyone. I had a privacy policy on my work & personal blogs years ago before they became common practice. I like it simple, open and transparent. So many policies are technical and legal claptrap now days

Readers: Do you have a family history blog? If yes leave a comment and include the URL so we can visit and read your posts.


Cousin collaboration

Part of the discussion was whether this should be called Cousin Bait as originally mentioned and on the question slides or perhaps a better title was Cousin Collaboration. You can see what I decided by the title of the post. But some answers still use the word bait.

fernandoalmeida / Pixabay

How do you share your family history online? ie blogging, trees, social media?

Also share with immediate family via email as many are older and this is their only online “place”. I have created separate email folders and labels, gmail is good for that – I used to forward emails to Evernote but have dropped back to basic now Evernote’s price has skyrocketed

Yes … agree re gmail … I also make use of folders and labels to organise family history emails from cousins and research contacts etc.

I mainly use blogging for sharing my family history online. I do have an online tree on Ancestry and some other subscription sites. I need to get better at using Facebook I think.

I also print off hard copies of any biographical narratives … they are available to immediate family via a folder on my bookshelf

Does anyone find they get much contact via online trees, either through paid sites or their own? (Other than when DNA is involved)

I get quite a few messages via Ancestry. Most are in response to DNA connections but some are tree related … I do quite a lot of descendant research so have lots of collateral lines in my trees … that helps to prompt tree related messages

I get quite a lot of messages on Ancestry. Not all who contact me are actually related but some have ended up being amazing collaborations! Betsy first found me on Ancestry. Look where that took me!

Just remembered I made some cousin contacts through a local history group on Facebook

I am trying to put my research in as many online places as possible. I am writing biographies on WikiTree and copying them to FamilySearch. I have trees on all the big sites.

I have done the same. Pretty much anywhere my tree can go you’ll find it. I don’t get much interaction anywhere but Ancestry but I live in hope

I’ve had some wonderful people contact me with offers of photos of my grandparents siblings – oooooo!!

I’ve (slowly) come to the realisation that trawling the trees for the cousins themselves (not their data) is a great way to find them and connect. Need to get moving with more of that!

Share my research mainly through blogging then emails once a connection has been made via tree on Ancestry etc

ISDiva / Pixabay

Do you have an intended audience when you share your family history online? Are you looking to collaborate with others?

Sharing my family history online is about telling our stories for future generations, and to encourage older generations to tell their stories.

Encouraging older generations to tell their stories so less history is lost is a great outcome. Takes effort,

We need to write down our own personal memories too so that they become written remembered stories for our descendants

Years ago there was a blogging challenge called The Book of Me. Doing that I recorded much of my childhood experiences. We all need to leave our own for the future

I tend to write mainly for myself (to organise my evidence, thoughts etc. and find the gaps in my research) and for my immediate family so I tend to fly under the radar with my blog

ooh an intended audience…that is such a good question. Well in an ideal world I do try to cite my sources thinking that other family historians would be pretty cranky if I didn’t. But I am hoping to catch cousins too.

I’m a bit naughty when it comes to sources in my blog. I do list these sometimes however it makes the blog post less visually appealing and added work so will go for a “contact me for more info” plus if they are really interested they might contact me

I make use of lots of endnotes

Google alerts are quite useful

I’ve been thinking about audience for the blog lately – some good points here…

@geneastories has lots of good advice about family history story telling (in addition to the linked post above)

My intended audience is mixed. I want to preserve the stories for my family and retain via Pandora. It’s also a way to record my discoveries as a kind of research library

Am finding LivingDNA is getting better with replies to messages and then having to work out how related

I have had an uptake in messages from LivingDNA recently and have been able to connect some by cross referencing to other databases but some are only on LivingDNA and not very forthcoming with detail. Hopefully, it will get easier once trees are added!-?

In the early days of researching I drove for almost two hours to meet up with a cousin who found me through the blog. I gave her all my information and never heard from her again. Learned my lesson then and there

Sometimes it can be very frustrating. I’m talking to a 3C at the mo. (DNA) I’ve connected her to her Irish family, who she did not know, and shared everything with her back to her GGGs. And, she has one birth cert that I’d like, but no…

Ack, that’s disappointing. 🙁 (Which reminds me, I must share some birth certs I ordered recently with a 4th cousin LOL)

I have found my blog is great for non family history contacts. This is because they can Google a name or place and find you if you are fortunate. Even if they are not interested in family history some send a note with a few helpful details.

I mostly share family history information online with the intent to find people related to me. My blog posts are both to record stories and research but I do see them as cousin bait. Tags ensure they are easily found by subject, places, surnames etc

I also wonder about menus and categories. Having a navigation that attracts readers to go deeper takes thought and planning.

I use surnames for categories but I also have a menu for my posts when researching my hard to find Irish great great grandmother

I want to share what I know already and also learn from others. I had huge gaps of knowledge a decade ago and have learnt SO much from wider family members about my ancestors. Always looking to collaborate, as there are still a few mysteries to solve.

My intended audience is just whoever comes after me. I don’t have children and don’t know anybody in the family who would be interested in it, so want to make my research available for the future generations.

Collaboration is best when you can share and exchange with like-minded people. Collaboration doesn’t just flow in one direction.

Not sure if all understand how collaboration works and want information however do not share back

I guess we who have benefited have to model the behaviour we want in others (can you tell I’m staying with my 3yr old grandson just now)

As long as I can catch the cousins then the sharing usually follows!

In the past I have been contacted by people who are only interested in what they can get from me. At first I sent the info and heard nothing more from them. I much prefer collaboration

Intended audience includes (un)known descendants and their collateral lines (latest was the son in law of someone). I’m always willing to collaborate but for the moment, it’s mostly one way as I help with Irish records

I dont write for a specific audience but I do have some followers from UTAS family history who often add comments. Also have some cousins who follow and add info

The audience I target is twofold. Anyone interested in family history that can learn from my experiences and descendants of ancestors. The best contacts are ones with photos. You have to love a photo of a person you have not seen before.

LoboStudioHamburg / Pixabay

What do you consider is your best source of Cousin Collaboration? ie blogs, trees, social media?

hmmm well over the years it has been online trees followed by my blog but I suspect if I used Facebook more I might get more bites.

I find twitter achieves more blog hits. Probably because more people follow me on Twitter. Also more regular posting on Twitter. Smaller FB audience and a lack of posting does not help

Don’t forget … It is another avenue for engaging with others in family history research and doesn’t track you like fb does

The best responses I’ve had have been via my blog, especially when I was posting regularly. I think DNA + online trees have also been a good source of contacts from relatives.

The best thing I’ve found with DNA is the cousins who I “know” who help me separate one line from another. Getting specific people to test helps. I’m amazed how the random DNA inheritance will link one person and not others.

Agree, especially when a tree includes collateral lines in it and enables you to better support inquirers to understand where they connect

family trees with a broad base – that is, engage in descendant research to build down the collateral lines.

Undoubtedly, my best source of cousin bait is my blog. We also stay in touch far longer, as they may follow me. They occasionally email comments, and I’m often in their mind if they come across any new family stories, questions or photos. I love it!

My blog is by far the best source of cousin bait for me too Dara. I can’t quite believe the collaboration and information that has come out of blogging

Yes, on a couple of lines I have a long-term collaborator – and it’s so much extra fun to research those lines

I don’t seem to have much luck with this. Maybe I have too few close cousins. I have been in contact with quite distant cousins. Some are interested, many not.

Wherever you put your information there needs to be enough to “reel them in” too little and they move on

By FAR my best source of cousin bait is blogging. But also Twitter. I have put requests for information on Twitter and its amazing how quickly I get results.

I once asked if anyone knew a particular person and within half a day, the granddaughter of the person had contacted me. She gave me photos and information about the house I was researching in return for a copy of the history

For me it’s blogging for sure. Blog posts are out there forever and I’ve been contacted sometimes years after a post is published

Blogging, emails and family reunions are my best sources

the best source for cousin bait is somewhere that will show up in a search engine and free to access so @WikiTreers is my first choice to get someone found

So far has been the most useful for me. No new cousins have responded on social media, but many have through Ancestry and later through email.

my greatest number of contacts has come through the blog and a few from facebook Aus. bloggers group

Free-Photos / Pixabay


What cousin connections or great finds have you made through sharing information online?

The producers of Coast Australia found my convict blog where I had written about my g g g uncle on Norfolk island. Next thing I was researching for them and flown to NI to appear on the episode with Neil Oliver

Forget the cousins! If I knew blogging could get me a meeting with Neil Oliver I’d have been working my little typing fingers down to the bone. Ooh, that voice…

I went to NZ for a holiday, visited a town where some relatives lived, took photos of some photos they showed me, put on blog with question about who were these people. Have had many comments so I can now name the people in photos

Marvellous photos and ephemera from rediscovered cousins in New Zealand, Australia, England and Ireland which aid research on both my paternal and maternal lines. Some people are incredibly generous

I am constantly amazed at people’s generosity Tara when it comes to sharing family history.

What I found was that the diaspora tended to cherish those mementos far more than those who stayed behind

Very true Tara. My grandmother born in Ireland seemed more attached to her mementos than the relatives back home. I guess her way of staying attached.

My very best cousin connection was my dear 3rd cousin Betsy in Chicago. Our g grandparents were sister and brother. She became one of my closest friends and we solved family mysteries together. Since her death this year I have felt quite alone

Have just managed to take husband’s family back one more generation due to an online contact thru Ancestry. We exchanged many emails and documents etc before making the decision it was the correct family

DNA has led me to make connections with quite a few people – mostly we have not yet found our link. They are now friends even though we have not and probably never will meet in person.

Some fab connections, including distant cousin with well-researched family history for a side of the family I had been wondering about. Most memorably, contact from a descendant of a “lost” sibling of my 2x great grandmother, and the research she shared.

My Irish and Bavarian blogs have drawn in people who are descendants of those I’ve written about.

which demonstrates the importance of place I think

I have connected with a number of cousins from 2nd cousins to further afield due to trees, blog, Facebook

I wrote a blog about my husband’s MacDonalds of Ord. A man commented that his g grandfather had been the gardener at Ord house and on a trip to NZ picked up two seeds for a palm. One went to Kew gardens and one to Ord House. The palm at Kew died

I’ve made good friends as well as cousins through blogging. Found unexpected indirect links to genimates. Gained information I’d never have known about.

I was in touch with a cousin who I collaborated with and visited in England many years ago and lost touch. He was much older than me and I was worried he had passed away. He contacted me through the blog this week. I was so happy to hear from him

my great finds have come through someone sharing thru My Heritage and another thru internet stalking followed by letter writing – found the American connection & photographs of my GG grandmother’s brother – the closest I’ll ever get to what she looks like

Blogs mentioned:

Jane – her own thoughts

Sharn – Sharing her thinking about her conclusion

Hilary – Sharing her stories and research

Readers: How do you make connections for collaborating with other family members?