Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Rabbit Holes With Randy - Genea-Blogging!!!

 By far the biggest and deepest rabbit hole of my genealogy life is blogging ... about genealogy.  Actual writing 15 to 25 blog posts a week takes one to three hours a day, 10 to 20 hours a week.  And it has for 16 years.  And will continue to do so until ... well, until I can't.  

I summarized what I've done last week in my post This is Genea-Musings 16th Blogiversary! Celebrate with Me!!!  

But why?  I have many reasons, including these:

1)  Documenting my family history - all of my ancestry, plus my wife's ancestry, plus my grandchildrens' ancestry, plus Seaver, Carringer, Auble and Vaux family history.  I try to "advance the ball" every day with a blog post.  End documents for me are my family tree contributions (on Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast, FamilySearch, GeneaNet, WikiTree, Geni, etc.), the genealogy biographies for ancestors, e-books on Scribd, etc.  Writing things out in my blog helps me organize my thoughts and challenges me to do the best I can - the whole world can read it (but only a few really smart people do!). 

2)  Cousin bait - connecting with other genealogists or relatives.  If they Google their family names, or search on a family tree website, they may find my blog or family tree entries.  They may have photographs or family papers that I don't have, or vice versa.  They may need help with their genealogy work.  They often have more information on living or dead people that I haven't found yet.  

3)  My own education and knowledge base - when I discover a new resource (book, periodical, website, database, repository, family paper, photograph, DNA, etc.), I try to absorb the information in it, and apply it to my research.  I often blog about these finds because my readers may want or need to know about them also.  I might be a bad example ... but try to be a good example - and readers may learn from my experiences.

4)  Helping others do genealogy related tasks or gaining information - for example, demonstrating  genealogy software features, exploring a website or database, making presentations to a group, providing knowledge or expertise, working in a society environment, etc.

All of those factors play into my genealogy blogging, and I work on the "chunk" theory - if I do one or more tasks every day to accomplish my goals, after a while I have accomplished a lot.  Every day, every year, for sixteen years, I have worked to do those tasks.  And I'm still not done.  There are many more "chunks" to find and write about - there is no real end to my road to genealogy happiness!  

Writing multiple blog posts every day satisfy my need to work on my goals and add more leaves and branches to my family tree.  I use a daily calendar - and many of my readers recognize the posts every day:

*  Monday is "Amanuensis Monday" - a chance to transcribe a document from my genealogy research.  Historically, these posts have been for probate and land records which can be complex.  Transcribing word-for-word provides context and a deeper understanding than abstracting or summarizing.  Usually, these documents have never been transcribed before.  

*  Monday also sees "Genealogy Pot-pourri" - a chance to summarize what I have done genealogy-wise during the past week, including up-to-date numbers on my family tree, DNA matches, etc.

*  Tuesday had weekly "Tuesday's Tip" and "Tombstone Tuesday" posts until I ran out of research tips and family tombstones to write about.

*  Tuesday now has "???? In the News" posts about my mother's family lines in the newspapers (mainly obituaries - Carringer, Auble and Vauxes), and also "Genealogy News and Education Bytes" posts with news articles, new/updated record collections and education opportunities posted on the past four days.  The latter is a curation post intended to help readers keep up-to-date with genealogy information. 

*  Wednesday has always been "Wordless Wednesdays" with family photographs of ancestors, family members, vacations, etc.  However, it's impossible for me to be "wordless."

*  I have been writing "Rabbit Holes With Randy" on Wednesdays for about nine months now - it's an opportunity to dig deeper into one of my research problems or my genealogy work flow or product.

*  Thursdays have always been "Treasure Chest Thursday" with a digitized (scanned or captured) record that supports one of my ancestral families (e.g., vital record certificate, census record, military record, town record, published book or periodical entry, etc.), along with a source citation and a description of the person(s) to whom it applies.

*  Thursday now have "Seavers in the News" - more newspaper articles - mostly obituaries - of Seaver persons to help me flesh out families in my family tree.

*  On Friday, a "52 Ancestors" post leads the blog parade - a biography that describes an ancestor's life based on the information available from my research.  These have been in ahnentafel order until recently - I found more ancestors in some generations and have been adding those.  I am working in the 7th great-grandparent generation now.

*  Also on Friday, the "Genealogy News and Education Bytes" posts with news articles, new/updated record collections and education opportunities posted on the past three days.  This is a curation post intended to help readers keep up-to-date with genealogy information. 

*  "Findmypast Fridays" posts come from a press release from Findmypast.  

*  On Saturday morning, " New and Updated Collections" are posted based on information on the website.

*  Also on Saturday morning, "FamilySearch New and Updated Collections" are posted based on information on the website.  

*  "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun" is a reader-participation blog theme - I post a topic, share my take on the topic, and ask readers to write their own blog post on the topic.  I've told a lot of family stories in this series.

*  On Sunday, I post "Best of the Genea-Blogs" - a curation of genealogy-related blog posts from other writers that I found during the week.  My opinion, plus the "Best of..." from other genea-bloggers.

But, there's more!  I receive press releases from companies, and often post them during the week.  Sometimes there are new collections, new websites, or new features that I write about.  Each week brings something new.

How do I actually put words onto paper?  I don't - I type them into a Blogger template that permits me to highlight, italicize, underline or crossout text in a range of fonts and font sizes, add an image or video, indent or bulletize text, etc.  No tree has been harmed as a result of blogging over 15,500 times since 2006.  Press a button, and my posts go out to the Internet and to readers who have signed up for a daily email.

That's enough - I hope you can see how this could possibly take 1 to 3 hours a day, 10-20 hours a week, and 50-70 hours a month.  I do it for me - it's often therapy, it's often challenging to write on deadline, and it's also fun - I love finding new things and making them work for me and to transmit them to my readers.  

This genealogy bunny needs some carrots for energy, and I think there's some jelly beans left over from Easter too.


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Marian B. Wood said...

Celebrating sweet 16 of geneablogging--wow!

GeniAus said...

You are an inspiration Randy. While my output is not as prolific as yours I share your motivation.

Congratulations on your 16 years of geneablogging. You are a star in the geneasphere.

Madelyn said...

16 years, quite an accomplishment! I enjoy reading your blogs as part of my daily routine. You keep writing and I'll keep reading😀

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

I'm amazed about the energy you have to write all of the wonderful blog posts. I am sure they are all read, people don't always comment. You are a great service to the genealogy community with your helpful tips and written biographies of your ancestors. Keep it up, Randy!

Jacqi Stevens said...

Randy...only 1-3 hours a day, and you get all that accomplished? That is almost more amazing than your prolific--and continuous--output! Thanks so much for all you have invested in helping the genealogy community.

Janet Keating McNaughton said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Reading this entry about your 16 (!) years of blogging has made me tired - and inspired. My family research has benefited greatly from your generous sharing of your time and your talents. Congratulations on this anniversary!!! Best wishes for many more.

Diane Henriks said...

Woah, that certainly is a lot of blogging! I don't know how you do it! I take about two to three hours or so to create one blog a week, and I am already burning out, but love it! I do it for many of the same reasons, but also feel like it's a "rabbit hole"...I too need some carrots. ;)

Molly's Canopy said...

You are a genealogy community treasure, Randy! I've been blogging for 8 years this week, and you have my total admiration with 16 years of blogging, and so many blogs per week! Please do keep it up as long as you are able -- and pace yourself for the long haul.