Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do a Wordle Cloud

Hey genea-addicts - it's SATURDAY NIGHT, time to kick back and have some GENEALOGY FUN!

Yes, I want you to X out of your Ancestry Member Tree, shut down your genealogy management program, tell your Facebook friends you're going to take a 30 minute break, step away from Evidence! Explained, and go on your weekly SNGF mission.  It should take less than 30 minutes of your time.

Here is your mission, if you decide to accept it (shouldn't this be mandatory for all Genea-Musings readers every Saturday night?):

1)  Find something that you have written (letter, report, book, website, blog post, etc.) and copy all or part of it  (you know, do an Edit > Copy or a Ctrl-C on it).  If it's a website with an RSS feed, then just copy the URL in the browser address bar.

2)  go to and put the copied text into the text box at or URL at the site.  Be creative - select a Font, a Layout, and a color scheme.

3)  Capture the image by doing a screen capture, or by doing an image snip.

4)  Show us your Wordle creation on your own blog, on a Facebook status, or on a Google Plus stream post.  

5)  What use to do see for a Wordle cloud that you created?

6)  Be sure to leave a Comment to this blog post telling us where to find it.

Here are some of mine:

*  My surnames:

*  The current Genea-Musings blog page (

 *  The current Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog page (

*  My 15 generation ancestor list:

*  The 1940 Census blog (

For these Wordle clouds online, I much prefer to have all of the words horizontal.

As you can see, the Wordle cloud sizes the words by the number of times it appears in the text sample.  That's why my Ancestor List Wordle didn't work well - my list has a LOT of words like United, States, England, born, died, married, Massachusetts words in it.

To make my Surname cloud, I took the surnames in my five-generation pedigree chart and added just the surnames to the Wordle text box, so that Seaver had the most entries, Carringer the second most, etc.  I weighted the entries by the number of occurrences in my pedigree chart in those five generations.  I also added the word "Genealogy."

I've used my Wordle Cloud as a background on Twitter and, since I have it in my Genea-Musings sidebar, it shows up on Google Plus stream posts when I don't have an image in my linked blog post.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Becky Higgins said...

My wordle can be found here:

I used a short bio straight from the page, no changes. If I had more time, I think I could make is more meaningful.

Elizabeth Handler said...

Does it count that I did one of these last May when I discovered Wordle? See Wordle Fun! with eight generations of my surnames.

Donna Hansen Peterson said...

My wordle is at;postID=2860590597956950271

Thanks for the fun Randy.

Fi said...

Thanks for that bit of fun! Mine is called Sunday Morning Wordle

Dorene from Ohio said...

Here's mine, Randy. What fun!

Deb said...

Mine is located here - was preparing handout for upcoming genealogy meeting:

Sara Greenleaf said...

Mine is here: - I used the text of the blog series on Titanic I've been writing this past week. Thanks for tonight's fun, Randy!

Celia Lewis said...

I did one of my class outline for Genealogy for Beginners, posted on Google+ under my name, Celia Lewis. I have no idea how to post a link to that... Fun idea.

Claire said...

Here's mine

Thanks Randy, this was fun!

Elizabeth Handler said...

I've decided to add a Wordle cloud to my other blog. See A Jewish Genealogy Journey on the left-hand column.

Susan Kitchens said...

Eeek. I spent a while working on mine. Started Saturday, got sidetracked two times: First, by creating my custom palette (to match my blog's colors).

Once I got the colors right --Ooh! lookie!-- I discovered the Magic Tilde (thank you Wordle Blog). That made it possible to make 1940 Census appear as a phrase in text. (loclly, with the text I was using, do a find/replace: search for 1940 Census, change it to put tilde in the space, i.e., 1940~Census.

ZOWIE WOWIE! That ~ trick right there, is magic. Totally magic. Thank you for this SNGF, Randy. I've wanted to do a wordle for something else, and you helped spark something wonderful. Wordleful wonderful.

Okay, here's the link to the wordle in their public gallery.

WORDLE: 1940 Census and an Interview with Mama [blog post wordled]

ORIGINAL POST about the 1940 census, on which the Wordle image is based.

Saturday night's long over, but still the fun continues. Thanks again, Randy, for this.