Friday, April 6, 2007

Do Blogs "Work" for Genealogy Societies?

One of the topics that my local society Board of Directors has discussed is "Would a society blog do a better job of informing and helping our members?"

Theoretically, a genealogy society blog might post information about:

1) Society programs and meetings
2) Society classes and special events
3) Local genealogy repositories
4) Member profiles or biographies
5) Member questions and queries
6) Local, regional or national genealogy news
7) Research Articles by members
8) etc.

The questions that need to be answered include:

1) Would our members read it and use it?
2) How is this different from a society web site?
3) Does it replace a society newsletter?
4) Who will do the work?
5) how much personal information should we include?
6) Should the blog be accessible to members only?
7) What should be included on a genealogy society blog?
8) etc.

We recently surveyed our membership about their genealogy experience, use of traditional and online resources, and asking for ideas on how to better serve them. The results are instructive to these questions, and I will post some of them in later posts.

I went looking for blogs already online for other genealogy societies. Chris Dunham's Blogfinder has a list of about 25 genealogical, historical and surname societies at Many of the ones on this list have had few posts for awhile. There are some that are posting regularly. The best one I found was the Birmingham Genealogical Society . They have program announcements, program news, information about local resources, etc. Are there other genealogy society blogs that are active and not on Chris' list? Please tell us about them!

Do you have opinions about this? What is the best way to transmit society information to society members? What is the best way to help all of a society's members with their research? I would appreciate hearing from you on this topic.


Anonymous said...

Speaking as a "younger" genealogist (I am 31) I naturally turn to the internet for information, and sometimes get frustrated by the lack of information some societies have online. I would love to be able to see what a society is involved in when I am making a decision about whether or not to join, as my membership dollars are limited... a society across the country that has an active online presence is more useful to me, therefore I am more likely to want to join. Even if the information they post is publicly available, I am drawn to wanting to support their efforts.

As far as how it differs from the website? Well, it doesn't have to, but the key thing is probably feeds allowing a researcher to track the blog in a reader like Bloglines or Google Reader. It's how I read your blog, and I would be guaranteed to read a society's blog when I am perusing my genealogy selections. More likely, probably, than I am to read that newsletter that is sitting under a stack of magazines in my living room.

Anonymous said...

We've never thought of using a blog, but instead have been sending information to our members via a mass e-mailing. This is a great idea! I'm going to talk to our Board about doing this.