Thursday, August 9, 2007

Why Do I Blog?

Tim Agazio at Genealogy Reviews Online pondered the question, and then Miriam Midkiff at Ancestories:The Stories of My Ancestors wrote a post answering the question. Miriam invited other bloggers to comment on her post, but I decided that I would write a post of my own.

My reasons for blogging on Genea-Musings have changed a bit since I started in April 2006. Initially, my intent was to share my ancestral stories, create how-to articles for my society colleagues to use, find genealogy humor in records, etc. I still do all of these, but now I have added examples from my own research and I have tried to "test" new web sites and genealogy programs (except for FTM 2008 for some dumb reason - I shoulda done it!).

I find genealogy blogging to be an intellectual challenge. I love puzzles and challenges. I am also competitive - I like being first with news or web sites or test trials. I don't get many news releases so I'm often a little late on news items. I also like to help people find their ancestors and to learn new things.

I love to write and share, but I'm not a very creative writer. I was trained as an aerospace engineer and have been doing genealogy for almost 20 years now. I am great on process - how to do something, and testing things. But I do not easily write something new, humorous or uplifting. The exception may be eulogies - which I've used in good stead over the last few years. I prefer to be positive and find it hard to be negative (unless I'm attacked, or am really upset by something).

When I started, my hope was that I could become more of a creative writer and be able to tell stories about my ancestors based on historical events and the research results for the ancestors. This has not happened yet!

Because of my involvement in the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (I'm the current President), I have posted quite a bit about CVGS events and will continue to do so. CVGS has started the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog and I'm the primary contributor to that blog. My hope was that others would step up and contribute (thereby growing more genealogy bloggers and potential newsletter writers). So far, they haven't, but that blog is only 4 months old.

I look at blogging as kind of a rough draft of my memoirs and possible genealogy books. I keep hoping that my daughters, brothers and cousins will read my blogs frequently and thereby benefit by my efforts, but it really hasn't happened yet - life is busy when you have young kids and are working hard.

As Miriam pointed out, when you blog regularly (typically 2-4 posts a day for me, which takes 1-3 hours a day) you have less time to do actual research. One of the benefits of test trials on web sites is that I can use my own research challenges to see if web sites or databases are helpful to my research - I learn something plus I may find useful data.

That's why I blog -- it's pretty unfocused, isn't it? I prefer to call it a pot-pourri of genealogy news, research, humor and occasional opinion.


Miriam Robbins said...

Hi, Randy. I enjoyed hearing your reasons for genea-blogging: the intellectual challenge, the competition, sharing, and learning. I find that I, too, am not a linear thinking (or blogger, for that matter). That's why working on a series is helpful for keeps me focused while still exploring other topics. Thanks for your thoughts on the matter!

James said...

Unfocused - I'm not so sure. But very entertaining to read Randy. My reasons are like one of yours - I know I don't have time to write any sort of 'official' family history (that would only get amended later anyway). So, my blog is a first draft of what I have found out so far, as well as helping to show me what I need to go out and research in the future. It's also the best way of reaching out to potential cousins out there who may benefit from the research. Enjoy your vacation, James!