Tag Archives: blog

Introducing “My Ancestors” page

16 Jan

Those of you who are reading my blog posts through Google Reader or some other feed reader my have missed the fact that I have added a new page to my blog.

This new static page is entitled My Ancestors and can be accessed from the link at the top of my blog. It list the names of 120 of my direct ancestors, those of my great-grandparents, my 2x great-grandparents, my 3x great-grandparents and my 4x great-grandparents.

I have been meaning to put up this page for a while (admittedly it has been available for several weeks already), partly to get the names of all my direct ancestors out on the internet, but also to act as an index to my various Ancestral Profile posts.

You will notice that the majority of my ancestors don’t have dates associated with them yet and that is my next job, to add some more detailed information to each person, at least dates but hopefully also places.

I am fortunate that many of the surnames in my family tree are quite unusual and most of them are from Sussex, but it still needs a little more detail to make it easier to find out if we are related.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 43

24 Oct

I didn’t really get a great deal achieved last week. Of course there was the trip down to Chichester yesterday, but I spent most of my free time thinking about this blog and the way forward, essentially trying to streamline things and make more time for actual family history research.

I have scanned my latest batch of postcards, like I was planning to, but I never got around to scanning the four wills, let alone start transcribing them. I must at least get them scanned this week and try to make a start on transcribing them. I also need to scan the two newspaper articles that I copied down at Chichester, and transcribe them as well.

I have done more work on the BOXALLs of West Dean, Sussex and I think I have achieved my original goal of identifying the six BOXALLs on the war memorial at West Dean. I am still a little unsure about one of the men, and there may also be one other who is not recorded on the memorial. This week I need to start pulling everything together, but also there is so much more work that I could be doing on the BOXALLs, there are so many of them that I could keep going for ages.

So this week is going to be mostly organising and sorting out, a bit of scanning and possibly some transcribing. I will be really interested to see if my blogging plans actually help free up my time for family history. Also I need to try and decide what I am going to do with the bundle of maps that I bought yesterday.

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.

Trying to stop the memories fading away

29 Sep

Over the last few months I have been thinking about writing my own personal history. Not that I think my life has been particularly interesting and I am sure it will not be of interest to anyone other than myself. I would be writing it for purely personal and selfish reasons, to enable me to remember things that have happened in my life.

I am becoming aware that things are changing in the world around me and I am not getting any younger. My memories of my childhood and schooldays, my early working life are starting to fade or have already gone. It was really brought home to me last weekend when I was thinking about my walk along the South Downs Way, although it was only a few months ago the details are starting to fade.

I know I wrote about it on my blog, but that was only a very basic outline. Perhaps it will be enough to jog my memory in the future, but I am sure there will be things that I have missed out which will fade from memory. I also have lots of photos, and these will help jog my memories, but will I be able to remember all of the place names and why I took that particular photo?

I suppose this blog is the closest I have ever got to keeping a diary, despite previous attempts I have never lasted more than a few weeks keeping a daily diary. Going forward I probably need to try again, but not recording every day, just important or interesting days, most weekdays are not that memorable the following day, but every now and then something more interesting happens that I might want to remember at a later date. Even if nothing interesting happens it will probably be worth recording what a typical day was like every once in a while.

Then I can go back and record as many of my memories as I can before it is too late. Many of them will not be for a specific date, more for a period in my life, such as childhood or schooldays. Some entries may be very brief, perhaps even just place holders for things I need to try and remember (or ask others about) such as when we visited a particular place, a book that I read or a film that was special in some way.

I have been wondering just how I was going to record all these memories and I think I will probably use a blog like this one, except that it will be private, not that there are any shocking or scandalous secrets, just that it will probably not be of any interest to anyone other than me. Occasional memories might slip over into this blog (hopefully not accidentally) if I think they might be of interest or relate to my ancestors.

I think a blog is going to be the perfect medium, because of the simplicity of adding photos and other media and because I know may way around it. I have always been one for hanging on to things like train tickets and buying postcards when we visit places. Then there are things like the covers of books and CDs that have some special significance. The good thing is that because it is for my own personal use I don’t need to worry too much about copyright on images.

The other thing I like about using a blog is the ability to tag things, so I can put things in a rough chronological order, buy tagging with a specific date, a year or even just a time period such as schooldays or 1980s. The only problem will be finding the time to actually do the writing and adding in images, although once it is set up it shouldn’t take too long to just write a piece. For starters I think I shall try adding just one memory or event from the past each day along with anything interesting that happens on a day to day basis.

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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