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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.

Pillar boxes weren’t just painted red

3 Jun

Along with the red telephone box, one of the most iconic images of England is the red post box, or more correctly the pillar box (but then I am not an expert on these things).

Post box

Whilst red is the traditional colour (like the one above at Sayers Common, West Sussex) they do come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours. Whilst I am not an expert, they do interest me, especially when I think what might have passed through the little rectangular slot over the years.

The British Postal Museum and Archive blog today included a fascinating post by Assistant Curator Julian Stray which describes the restoration process of an unusual blue pillar box, which was designed specifically for posting airmail in the 1930s.

It is really fascinating to watch the restoration process through a series of photos, through to the photo of the finished article on display at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London. The post describes the amount of thought and effort that went into restoring and conserving this pillar box, from matching the paint colour to locating the correct collection plate (displaying the collection times) to go on the front of the box.

It is a truly wonderful example of the hard work and consideration that goes on behind the scenes in museums around the country and around the globe. I really must try and get to the next open day at the British Postal Museum Store.

Thank you MyHeritage

12 May

I am incredibly proud to say that my blog has made it into the Top 100 Genealogy Sites as chosen by

Top genealogy site awards

In accepting this award I would like to thank MyHeritage and all the readers of my blog, especially those who have left comments or got in touch, which has encouraged me to keep blogging.

I can see that I am in good company in the Top 100, a great cross-section of the genealogy blogosphere, well done to you all.

Ancestor Approved Award

12 Apr

I have often wondered what my ancestors would make of my efforts to trace their lives and document it on this blog. I don’t think they would have been so keen having their dirty laundry aired in public, and I am sure they would probably be surprised that I had so much spare time on my hands.

Anyway I digress. According to three of my fellow bloggers, Jenny at Blame Grandma, Evelyn at A Canadian Family and Marian at Climbing My Family Tree my blog is Ancestor Approved. Thank you all for the honour.


Now I am supposed to list ten things I have learned about any of my ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlightened me, and also pass the award to ten other bloggers who I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

Rather than duplicate the award, I won’t be passing it on, most (if not all) of the blogs I follow have already received the award anyway. It goes without saying that anyone who blogs about their ancestors is doing their ancestors proud.

To be honest I am finding it hard to list ten things that have surprised, humbled or enlightened about specific ancestors, so I have gone for a generic answer instead.

Surprised – that my ancestors actually had interesting lives. When I started researching I never thought I would find anything interesting that happened in my family tree. Sometimes I am right and it is the apparent normality that is interesting, but normally they have done something that has been interesting, it just takes some time to find out what it was.

Humbled – that my ancestors put me to shame with what they had to live through and cope with (such as two World Wars, high infant mortality and disease) and what they lived without (such as electricity, mains water and the National Health Service). I know it is a cliché but we really don’t know we are born.

Enlightened – by the lives of all my ancestors. Family history research is more than just names, dates and places. It is about what happened to your ancestors, what they did for a living, the battles they fought, and everything else that they experienced. My ancestors have lead me into learning about all sorts of subjects that I would never encountered without them. now has it’s own blog

18 Mar

For what seems like too long we in the UK have been getting our fix of Ancestry news from the US blog over at, but now we have our very own blog for

The most recent post, by Annabel Bernhardt the PR Manager for, is about the latest collection to be released on the UK site, Ireland, Famine Relief Commission Papers, 1844-1847. If only I had some Irish ancestors to research!

It is going to be good hearing about the latest UK collections and finding out more details directly from themselves, and I look forward to reading future posts.


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