Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jump Start Your Genealogy Blog. 52 ideas. 52 weeks. Part 1

As quick review of genealogy blogs shows that many bloggers have made resolutions to write more about genealogy in 2009. Yes, you should blog more about genealogy! Carve out a little time for yourself (that means make an appointment for YOU and put it on your calendar). If you have a little writer’s block, don't worry. Help is on the way

Below are some genealogy blog prompts to jump start your brain. There are 52 in all, one for each week of the year. These are not intended to be done in order. Skip around and repeat all you want, so long as you have fun!

1. Upload your favorite picture and talk about it on your blog. Answer the who/what/when/where/why of the subject matter and explain why it is your favorite.

2. Participate in carnivals. A blog carnival is a showcase of bloggers’ posts on a given topic. Genealogy bloggers LOVE carnivals because there’s something for everyone. To learn about when these showcase-type events are happening, read others’ genealogy blogs. Someone’s always talking about a carnival.

3. Participate in weekly blog themes: Tombstone Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, etc. Many genealogy bloggers post photos of grave stones on Tombstone Tuesday or a photo worth 1,000 silent words on Wordless Wednesday. Participate in these informal events or invent your own.

4. Take a genealogy day trip and blog about it. Discover the local history and genealogy in your area. Take a trip to a cemetery or other historic location. Describe the day, what you learned, where you went, how it looked, how it sounded. Armchair genealogists will love the mini travelogue.

5. Talk about your genealogy adventures while on vacation. Doesn’t everyone plan a little genealogy visit during vacation? Take your readers along for the ride.

6. Let readers in to your kitchen. Discuss your family’s favorite foods. What was a typical Sunday dinner in your childhood house? What did grandma make that had you coming back for more? Were there any dishes that the dog wouldn’t even eat?

7. Share your holiday traditions. How did you spend the 4th of July? Did the fire truck ever come to your house on Thanksgiving? Share your memories of all holidays, not just the December ones.

8. Talk about highlights and events from your local genealogy society. Most genealogy bloggers are members of several historical societies and love to hear about the events in other organizations. This is also a great way to attract new members.

9. Attend a local genealogy presentation and talk about the experience. How was the speaker? How was the venue? How did the event help your personal research? Talk about the day, but use caution when discussing the subject matter in detail. The information presented belongs to the speaker(s). Posting part or all of the presentation would violate copyright.

10. Attend a national conference and blog about it! Genealogists who can’t make the conference will appreciate the first-person account of the action. Exercise the same copyright caution as mentioned in #9.

11. Have a unique record filing system? Share your secrets! Every genealogist has a stack of paper and an individual way of organizing the pile. Share your way of tackling the record mountain and help others get organized!

12. Use your blog to break down a brick wall. Posting a name may ring a bell with a reader. Maybe you’ll make a connection in 5 minutes. May be it will take 2 years. Either way, asking for help is the first step to knocking down that wall.

13. Have expertise in a specific area of study? Share your knowledge! If you’ve lived in the same town for 60 years, you have something to share. If you’re a librarian in your day job, you have something to share. If you read Civil War history books for fun, you have something to share. If you’re walking on this Earth, you have something to share.

14. Talk about the different types of technology you use in your genealogy research. Whether it’s a new search engine, a special application, or anything else “2.0,” let readers know what you’re working with, and how it’s working for you.

15. List some vital signs. Talk about specific birth, marriage and death certificates. Topics may include misspelled names, fudged dates, other anomalies that stand out in your records.

16. Goals. Not just for resolutions anymore. Write down your genealogy goals. Then you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished.

17. Make a research task list. Posting these items to will help you get your tasks done, and may encourage readers to do the same.

18. Showcase a favorite blog or blogger. This is a great way to share some blog love and introduce readers to new genealogy writers.

19. Describe your favorite records repository. Why is it your favorite? What types of records does it contain? Do you have any advice for first-time visitors?

20. Talk about a least favorite records searching experience. Did you have a run-in with a cranky court clerk? Did you butt heads with an over-protective records manager? Share your pain on your blog and commiserate with others who have put up their genealogical dukes in the name of family history.

21. Lessons learned. Fess up to your research mistakes so others can learn from them.

22. Dish the dirt on your celebrity ancestors. Don’t have a movie star in the tree? Then talk about ancestors famous for other reasons. This is your chance to be an historical gossip columnist!

23. Talk about anything that’s haunted. Readers love spooky genealogy.

24. Document a genealogy event with photos and share in your blog. Show others how much fun your local luncheon can be, or how your genealogy field trip turned into a landslide of books. Don’t forget to get permission before posting photos of others.

25. Visit a cemetery and talk about your ancestors buried there. Bring their stories to life for your readers.

26. Visit a cemetery. Take photos and comment on unusual/unique grave monuments. Most cemeteries have at least a monument or two that make you stop and look, so do just that. Take a picture of the grave marker that made you pause and tell us why it did so.

On to part 2, ideas 27-52...

[Edit: Due to spammers targeting this particular post, I've had disable comments here. I am very sorry for this. If you'd like to comment on this post or have questions, feel free to email me using the address listed on the side of this blog. Thanks!]


  1. Amy,
    What great ideas you have come up with! I fully intend to use many of them this year. Thank you for sharing with all of us!

  2. Wow, what a goldmine! Thank you so much...ONly, now I will have NO excuses for not writing. LOL


  3. Yikes, Amy, have we got our work cut out for us! Now to just find the time to do it all. :)

    I'm starting with writing for the
    upcoming "My key to Ireland" edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. I hope others will join me!


  4. Amy ~
    Thanks so much for this list ~ as a new blogger I appreciate the ideas. As Tina said, no excuses now...we just have to get writing!!

  5. Amy, thank you for the wonderful ideas. So many times I write nothing on my blog because I have brain freeze....now at least it will be "thawed" once a week. Can't wait to get started.

  6. Great suggestions. I have bookmarked this page.


  7. Great ideas, I have no excuse now not to write!

  8. Amy,

    Thank you. This is a great list of ideas I completely intend to use!


  9. Prompt #9


  10. Wonderful tips, thanks. I have tried #19 and #25. Will definitely do more with both those ideas and more.

  11. Marvelous ideas!

    I love it!

    Needless to say I will be bookmarking this, and part 2.

  12. After thinking about, and exploring, your lists, and discovering that some of these ideas were ones I've done after my own fashion in the past, I have decided that your lists will get their own special links in my sidebar.

    I've just blogged about your list, and hope that these actions will help spread the word about your wonderful suggestions.

    Thank You for doing this! ;-D

  13. I am looking forward to participating in the activities and events offered by this exciting program!

  14. I just found my way here and LOVE the ideas. I've had a crafting blog for > 1 year, but hadn't been able to get my mind around a blog for the old genealogy. You've inspired me. But I suspect THAT'S what you wanted to do. Well done!!!

  15. Great ideas! I just started blogging about a week ago, and was already beginning to wonder what I could talk about next.

  16. What great ideas. Now I have to spend another day at the computer to play with all these new thoughts. Thanks SOOOO much!