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The Wandering Genealogist takes a break

30 Jun

I have decided to give myself a break from blogging for the next few months.

I am not sure if it will be a complete break or whether I will just excuse myself from my daily blogging schedule, either way I want to take a break from the “demands” of blogging for a while.

There are several other projects (other than family history) that I want to work on, but most of all I want a bit more spare time to do some walking.

Hopefully the weather is improving and I need to get some more miles under my belt if I am going to walk the South Downs Way again this year.

Then of course there is the upcoming London 2012 Olympics, which is going to mean a few long days when I am simply not going to have the time to blog.

All in all I want to take a break and not have to “worry” about blogging.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Still here after three years!

1 Mar

I can’t believe I nearly forgot my blogiversary.

Three years ago today I started writing about my adventures in family history, hopefully along the way I have amused/entertained/informed/educated you.

Last year wasn’t a good year and my blogging output almost dwindled away to nothing, but this year I have got back into my stride again.

I must admit it isn’t always easy finding something to write about or rather it isn’t always easy to put into words what I want to write about.

I still have big plans for this blog (and others) but a lack of free time prevents me from acting on them at the moment.

So thank you for sticking with me, and here’s to another year!

New Year – New Blogging

2 Jan

Last year wasn’t a particularly good year for me or my blog so thank you to those who stuck with me last year, but what better time than New Year to resolve that I am going to make 2012 a better genealogy blogging year?

It is my intention to return to a daily blogging schedule this year. Time is still going to be an issue so I am not sure that I will achieve an 100% success rate on this, but I need to aim high to stand any chance succeeding.

I need to get more organised and achieve some time savings in the whole blogging process to maximise my time but most of all I need to learn to sit down and write, rather than worrying too much about what I should be writing or what else I could be doing instead.

I want to be tackling some new topics and making it more useful to my readers, in particular I want to make this blog much more Sussex focused. Whether it is news, walking or my own family history I intend to focus more on Sussex, hopefully not to the extent that other English counties don’t get a look in, but much more than I have done in the past.

One of my ideas is to introduce a new category of posts focusing on family history in Sussex, hopefully fulfilling my intentions to make this blog useful and informative. I also want to be writing more about aspects of Sussex history and life, providing more background on the county that was home to the majority of my ancestors and fulfilling my blog’s tagline, Exploring the Lives and Landscapes of my Ancestors.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Back to blogging

25 Jul

I have decided that it is about time to get back to some blogging because I am starting to feel rather lazy now for not having blogged regularly for so long.

When my father passed away I had no time or energy to blog and to be honest time had been an issue for quite a while before that but I insisted on continuing with my daily posting schedule even though it was a struggle. Having taken a break I now don’t feel quite so bad about not posting every day, so I probably won’t be. After all it is my blog so I make up the rules.

The other problem had been a lack of things to write about. Again time was an issue here and I hadn’t really been doing much family history, so as a genealogy blogger it was sometimes a struggle to come up with things to write about or to find time to research the things I wanted to write about.

I have started to do a bit of family history again, although I am getting a little frustrated by frequently running into dead-ends where a visit to an archive or record office is needed before I can continue. The problem of course is that I don’t have the time to actually visit an archive or record office at the moment, but I do know that time will come.

I should probably give my blog a bit of a makeover, I think the design is looking a little tired now although I am sure that the majority of you are reading this through a feed reader of some description and will never see my blog on the web for months on end.

As for content, I have lots of ideas about what I want to write about, but in general I want to focus more on Sussex. It is where I live, where the majority of my ancestors and relations lived and where my expertise (such as it is) lies, so it seems natural to me that I should concentrate on Sussex. I know I will sometime stray over the county boundary and occasionally leave these shores, but I would like the focus to be on Sussex.

Whether this actually happens is different matter, but watch this space…

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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My blogging schedule

6 Nov

In an attempt to simply matters for myself I decided to introduce a more rigid blogging schedule a couple of weeks ago. The idea being that I would spend less time deciding what to write about if I had a fixed theme each day.

So far I think it is working, but it is still early days, it does seem to have made things a little more efficient and freed up a bit more time for family history research, rather than just writing about it. The next stage is to try to get a few more posts planned ahead of time.

The seven themes I am using at the moment are:

Ancestral Profile - This a post focusing on one of my ancestors, some of these will be quite long and detailed whilst some will be quite short, depending on how much I know about the person in question. Once I have got a few more of these under my belt I will put up a page listing all the ancestors covered so far.

Picture Postcard Parade – This is a long running theme of mine, showcasing some of my postcard collection on this blog. Some of them are places connected with my family history, some are places that I have visited or mean something special to me and others are just postcards that appeal to me.

A-Z of English Genealogy – Each week I will use this post to write about one aspect of English genealogy, in an attempt to educate or at least provide something of use to my readers, aside from my usual scribblings about my relations.

Something Sussex – This post is an excuse to write about something to do with the county of Sussex, something that is not necessarily related to my family history but probably of historical interest in some way.

Free Friday – This theme allows me to write about anything I want to do about my family history. It will probably be related to the current project that I am working on but not always.

The Wandering Genealogist Unplugged – This will usually focus on something I have been doing away from the computer, hence the “unplugged”. This will usually mean either a visit to an archive, a visit to an ancestral location or graveyard, or just going for a walk. This means it will nearly always be on a Saturday, which is the only chance I have to get out.

Personal Genealogy Update – This is another long running theme, in which I write about what I have been up to during the previous week and what I hope to do in the coming week. Invariably the resulting post is mainly about what I have failed to achieve during the previous week.

I don’t know how long these themes will last. On a couple of occasions I have found myself with things to write about but they don’t fit in with any of the themes, perhaps in time I will do away with some of the rigidness of this regime, but for now it seems to be working.

Overcoming my blogging challenges – Part 2

22 Oct

I must confess to being quite excited about my new plans for this blog, not that there is going to be any major changes, just that I am going to try and be a little bit more organised so that I am blogging more efficiently, thus making more time for actual research.

There will be some new daily blogging themes, although they are not really new, more a case that I haven’t used them on a regular basis before. The intention is that I will know what sort of post I am supposed to be writing on each day, but there is lots of scope within each theme for plenty of variety.

There is also plenty of scope to allow me to make a whole week’s posts based on a particular subject, such as a place or a person. Also I will occasionally do away with the themes altogether for "special occasions", like genealogy conferences or Remembrance Day.

In essence what I am saying is that although I am setting myself some guidelines, they are not hard and fast rules, so expect things to change. That is assuming of course that I can stick to my plans, which is by no means guaranteed, and it goes without saying that I will probably have switched everything round within a couple of weeks anyway.

Now the only thing I have to sort out is the crazy idea that I should turn my current obsession with the parish of West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex into a one-place study. One part of me says "go for it, it would be a great subject for a one-place study", but the more practical part of me says "when are you ever going to find time to fit that in as well?"

I just can’t get the idea out of my head at the moment and I am already mentally making plans, but I know it is just not practical at the moment, but more ideas still keep coming, the more I try and suppress them the more they demand to be brought to life. I need to be strong for now and not give in to them, but I think I will have to eventually.

BBC buzz likes me

22 Sep

I don’t worry a great deal about the number of visitors my blog gets, I don’t go out of my way to market the blog, but I do keep an eye on my stats, just to make sure that people are still reading my blog and I am not wasting my time.

Last year I encountered an increase in visitors when Who Do You Think You Are? was being broadcast on BBC One last year, and this year was much the same. When I wrote about each episode my number of visitors jumped. I haven’t done the maths, but I would say the number of visitors probably doubled, which for my little blog is not a huge number, but still quite pleasing.

I certainly wasn’t expecting what happened yesterday, which turned out to be the best day ever for the number of visitors to my blog. I knew something was up when I checked my stats in the morning and saw that the number of visitors before about 7.30am was more than the usual pre-WDYTYA? daily totals. The numbers continued to rise throughout they day, and as you can see from the graph below the total ended around four or five times the average.

Stats graph

The reason for this was BBC buzz, which had automatically found my blog posts about WDYTYA? and was displaying links to them alongside the programme information on the BBC website. It appears to be a new feature, and it apparently likes my blog posts.

If I was a professional blogger I would have done something to take advantage of all this new traffic, and I might have done if I wasn’t at work, but it has been a real eye-opener, and makes me think about what I could achieve in terms of visitors if I really put my mind to it.

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