Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do Jill Ball's Bloggers GeneaMeme

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It's Saturday Night again - 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) Read Jill Ball's post The Bloggers GeneaMeme on her Geniaus blog.

2)  Copy the questions into your own blog post, or into a word processing document, and answer the questions.

3)  Write your own blog post with the questions and answers.  Be sure to share a link to your blog post with Jill and as a comment on this post.

Here's mine:

1)  What are the titles and URLs of your genealogy blog/s?

*  Genea-Musings (
*  The Geneaholic (
*  South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit (
*  Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe (

2)  Do you have a wonderful "Cousin Bait" blog story? A link to a previous blog post might answer this question. 

See my blog series The Whittle Research Compendium

3)  Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging?

Because I wanted to, had the time to do it, and it didn't require much computer programming knowledge using Blogger.  I think Chris Dunham ( and Ken Aitken (Genealogy Education blog) inspired me.

4)  How did you decide on your blog/s title/s?

*  Genea-Musings started off as "Randy's Musings" in April 2006.  I had a shower inspiration in May and turned it into Genea-Musings as a genealogy blog.
*  The Geneaholic is obvious, isn't it?  Actually, a lady in South Carolina had the URL and gave it to me when she didn't want to pay for it any more.
*  SSDC Graveyard Rabbit - I started this at Terry Thornton's suggestion, and concentrated on graveyards in the southern part of San Diego County.
*  Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe is the blog of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society; I was President of CVGS at the time and it seemed like a good blog name.

5)  Do you ever blog from mobile devices? What are they?

I never blog from mobile devices other than my laptop.  I do have an iPhone 4 and a Samsung Galaxy tablet but I can't type well on them.

6)  How do you let others know when you have published a new post?

The RSS feed on the blogs sends the blog post content to RSS readers.  I have set up Facebook to automatically put a status for the blog after it's posted.  I usually put something on Twitter after each post, and have set up Facebook to take the tweet and post it on Facebook.  I copy the tweet and put it on Google+ in my stream.  I don't have a page on Facebook or Google+.

7)  How long have you been blogging?

Since April 2006 for Genea-Musings, since 2007 for the others.

8)  What widgets or elements do you consider essential on a genealogy blog? 

Comments, Subscribe to, Follow by Email, About Me, Labels, and Blog Archives are essential, I think.

9)  What is the purpose of your blog/s? Who is your intended audience?

The purpose of each blog is in the description of the blog.  Genea-Musings intended audience is genealogy researchers, Geneaholic audience is folks interested in what I do every day in genealogy, Genealogy Cafe audience is CVGS members and San Diego area researchers.

10)  Which of your posts are you particularly proud of?

With over 7,000 posts, it's difficult to keep track.  Read my Genea-Musings Best Posts page!

11)  How do you keep up with your blog reading?

I was using Google Reader before its demise in June.  Now I use the free version of Feedly - it works well so far; I have almost 1500 blogs on the list.

12)  What platform do you use for publishing your blog/s?

I use Google's Blogger for all of them.  

13)  What new features would you like to see in your blogging software?

I don't have any suggestions - I'm usually happy with what Blogger comes up with.  

14)  Which of your posts has been the most popular with readers?

My current Top 5, according to Blogger Stats, are:

*  16966 hits:  1940 Census Enumeration District Maps Online at NARA Website
*  14852 hits:  Merry Christmas to All! 
*  9927 hits:  World records for number of children
*  5507 hits:  Genealogy Presentations on
*  3787 hits: "The Chart Chick's Quick Insider's Guide to Salt Lake City" book is out!
*  22346 hits:  MyHeritage Record Matches Keep Delivering News!

15)  Are you a sole blogger or do you contribute to a shared blog?

I'm a sole blogger on all but the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe, but Gary hasn't contributed much.

16)  How do you compose your blog posts?

I usually compose my blogs right in the Blogger website using their editor and tools.  I often copy and paste from a previously written document, or from the notes in my genealogy software.  I like to use different colors and bolding for specific functions - I use purple for quoted material, red to highlight important things.  I try to use a graphic in each blog post to draw interest on social media.  I try to run spell-check before I post.  I usually do a Preview to see how it looks before I post (in the Blogger editor, copied material often has a different font type or line spacing and needs to be corrected).  I schedule some posts to publish at a specific day and time, which permits me to publish content even when I'm not near a computer.

17)  Do you have any blogs that are not genealogy related? If you wish please share their titles and URLs.

*  Randy's Busy Life (  It started out as an opinion, sports, science, and humor blog, and has morphed into a humor blog because I'm too busy with genealogy.

18)  Have you listed your blog/s at Geneabloggers?


19)  Which resources have helped you with your blogging?

*  Websites with online record collections and family trees.  E.g., Ancestry, FamilySearch, Rootsweb, GenealogyBank, etc.
*  Other genealogy bloggers who create material that I include in curated posts.
*  My readers who make suggestions, send in questions via comments or emails.
*  My genealogy society colleagues.

20)  What advice would you give to a new Genea-blogger?

*  Blogging is about writing.  It will help improve your writing skills.  Practice a lot.  
*  Find topics that interest you.  It may be your own research.  It may be opinion pieces.  It may be curation (collecting information in one post).  Use the GeneaBlogger daily themes to add content.
*  Set goals for your blogging.  Use a blogging calendar to schedule posts.
*  You start out with an audience of one - you!  To get more readers, join GeneaBloggers, and use social media to promote your posts and your blog.  Read and comment on other genealogy blogs.  If your material is unique and worthwhile, you will gain readers quickly.
*  You own what you write.   You can edit your blog posts - do so when you have typographical or content errors.  You can delete your posts, or make them private, but the original version of your blog post may exist on the Internet.
*  Be aware of copyright issues of others (don't copy protected information from other people) and yourself (watch out for those who might copy your material).  Understand "fair-use" and always attribute information found on or copied from another source.
*  Don't slander or libel anybody or any company - think twice before you write when you are angry.  Look up those definitions!
*  Be aware of the Spam problems on blog comments.  Experiment with open commenting, spam filters, comment verification, and comment moderation.  Pick the one that you're most comfortable with.  (I use comment verification).
*  Have fun.  Get to know your genea-blogging colleagues.  The very best part of genea-blogging is the community - corresponding with them in email or on social media, and meeting them at seminars, conferences, cruises, etc.  It's like we're all cousins because we have a common interest.  The welcoming and support within this community is amazing - there is lots of room for more genea-bloggers!

21)  Final thoughts:

To further my own genealogy research, and to help others in their research, is why I blog.  I spend 8 to 12 hours almost every day doing something related to genealogy, and blogging is one of them.  

Whew - that took me an hour to write...I hope that many genea-bloggers will write about their genea-blogging experiences and practices.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Alex Daw said...

Hi Randy - You are the second blogger to confess in this meme that your great ideas come to you in the shower. Hoorah! Both of you make me feel more normal now :)

Sara Greenleaf said...

Thanks, Randy - I enjoyed this one - Sara -

Erin said...

Thanks for the heads up on this, Randy. It was a fun exercise. I also really appreciated your advice for new Geneabloggers. I'm definitely taking everyone's words of wisdom to heart!

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting Randy! Here is my response:

GeniAus said...

Randy, Thanks so much for your support of this activity and your considered response.

The advice you have given for new bloggers is pure gold.


Sharon said...

Great advice to new (and not so new) bloggers.

Thanks Randy :)

Eileen said...

My response is at

Bill West said...

My response is at