Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Dear Randy: How Do You Keep Track of What You Write or Post?

Reader Darlene asked this question in email, and I responded via email, but it's an interesting question that applies to everything everyone writes or posts on their blogs or websites.

My response was:

I don't keep track of what I've written by making notes or keeping a list.  If I am not sure if I have written about a specific subject, I can search on my blog (using key words in the search box in the upper left-hand corner of the Genea-Musings page) or using the subject tags on the right side of the blog post.   

Sometimes I will do a Google search for subjects using the ""  operator.  For example, I wondered if I had ever spelled my name backwards, so I searched for "ydnar" using the site operator.  Go ahead, put [ydnar] in the Google search and you will see:

I have no recollection at all of that post!  It figures, I'm 76 years old and all of my memory is filled with ancestral names back to Charlemagne.  I even dream about names, families, DNA matches, and blog topics forgotten.

What about my infamous Welsh cousin Lladnar?  (That's Randall, backwards, of course.) Nope!  [Now there will be, right?]

One thing I do now is mark the link for my family photographs  in my file folders by adding an "x" to the end of the file name when I use the photo to indicate that I have used it in a blog post.  I now do the same thing with the record documents in my family file folders on the computer that I use for Treasure Chest Thursday or other posts.  For instance, my family photo file name this morning was Paul-Edna-Tami-Christmas1976-SF.jpg before I posted it, and now it is Paul-Edna-Tami-Christmas1976-SFx.jpg in my family photos file.  That's easier than randomly searching for an image file name I haven't used before.

For the transcription of probate and deed records, I routinely check my Amanuensis Monday page on my Genea-Musings site. It's all on one page, so I can use Ctrl-F and search for a name.

To find my most-memorable posts, I check the Genea-Musings Best Posts page on my Genea-Musings site.  Yikes, I haven't copied the 2019 Best Of post yet!

I intentionally re-use posts occasionally, especially for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and for anniversary posts, because I'm too lazy or too blocked to think up a new topic, or are stretched for time due to other events.  Sometimes my readers and SNGFers remind me that we have done this before.  On the other hand, sometimes we need to see our progress on ongoing and endless tasks (like family trees, or blog posts).

As you might suspect, all of this, and my memory, is imperfect. As noted this morning, I have over 13,600 blog posts.   I know I have transcribed the same document or extracted the same record on more than one occasion, and I have duplicated posts without realizing it on occasion.  I usually find them eventually and marvel at my insanity.  No one seems to catch those, thank goodness;  or they're too polite to tell me.

I make lots of spelling and typo errors too, but that is because my fingers go faster than my brain sometimes and I don't carefully proofread every post.  Frankly, I rely on the Blogger spell-checker to help me, and even then I miss words.  Unfortunately, they don't have a Grammarly extension.

While writing this post, I looked at the Blogger editing menu ribbon and saw a smiling face.  What is that?  I've been doing this 14 years!  I clicked on it and found it is for special characters like £ or ⤋ or πŸ’™ or 🌏 or δΊŸ or πŸŽΆ.  How cool is that.  Fourteen years of blogging and I found a new toy today!!  Everybody else probably used it decades ago.  How behind the times am I?

Life is good, and genealogy is fun, and blogging is educational.  I learn something new every day.  

Thank you, Darlene, for the question.  


Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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Linda Stufflebean said...

I use Excel databases for each year of posts and have an extra Excel file with links to posts I've written about individual ancestors. I also use my categories ink down the side of my home page as a shortcut to finding old posts or topics.

Darlene Steffens said...

Thank you, Randy, for sharing your methods and ideas about the way you try to prevent duplicating records and photos used on previous blogs. I like your simple idea if adding an "x" to a filename and then relying on Blogger search. -Darlene

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

I started to keep an Excel file of the posts I am doing this year. It's hard to remember to list them but then I only write 2-3 posts a week and it is easy to catch up. I do use the search feature in my blog to see what I have written previously about a subject. I use that all the time for SNGF to see if we'd done it before.

searchshack said...

I research and write about my Shackford and Greene ancestors. Use RootsMagic and have added a field called "Family History Blogs". When I write about a Shackford or an ancestor, I add source showing that blog. Note it's easier than it looks as I copy and paste from the last blog & just update the fields. An example of my sources:

Parkes Joanne Shackford, "Eva Etta (Shackford) (Towle) Hurd of Laconia, NH and Malden, MA had 18 Children, Died at Age 44 of Empyema after 3 weeks of the Flu (Blog 499)," Parkes, Joanne Shackford, SHACKFORD Family History Blog 499, 1 February 2020 ( : accessed 3 February 2020)