Tag Archives: blogging

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.

Overcoming my blogging challenges

20 Oct

These last couple of weeks I have really been struggling to keep up my daily blogging routine. So far I have managed to achieve my unwritten goal of putting out at least one blog post each day, but some days it has been a real struggle. Why am I telling you this? Well, there are several reasons (one of which is to give me something to write about) but mainly the hope is that acknowledging the problem will help me deal with it in some way.

I know this is not the first time I have struggled to post every day and I am sure it will not be the last. I think time is probably the biggest issue here. I have lots of things I want to write about, but most of them seem to be things that will take more research than I really have time for. I want my posts to be more detailed, but that takes up lots more time.

I know there are lots of great blogging themes over at GeneaBloggers and I seem to have fallen out of the habit of using them, but perhaps I should. They are a great way to inspire ideas and generate content. I also have some regular themes of my own, Picture Postcard Parade and Personal Genealogy Update are two of my regular ones.

I think what is needed is a more regular schedule, perhaps not a calendar as such, but just a weekly list, so that I know in advance what I should be writing about on a particular day. What the actual themes are, and how many of the GeneaBloggers themes I use still needs to be worked out, but I think now is the time I got more organised.

I do like the fact that I seem to have a "West Dean" theme running through many of my posts at the moment, if I could manage to do that every week then that would be good, but I think that would probably take too much effort and at times would leave me struggling to find something to fit rather than whatever came naturally.

I will almost certainly allow myself to break out of the routine from time to time, so that I can focus on a particular topic for a week. For example, I have several postcards on a particular subject that I would like to showcase, but dragging it out over several weeks doesn’t make sense, neither does cramming them all together into one really long post.

Having written about my blogging challenges and describing the probable solution, I now feel a lot more positive about the whole subject. It is amazing how getting things off your chest can help, I now feel ready to go out and conquer the blogosphere, well maybe not, but at least I might be able to stop worrying.

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.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 38

19 Sep

I need to stop thinking about family history in terms of only adding things to my database. If I was to measure my family history activity in terms of just adding things to my database then I would have achieved nothing (or almost nothing) last week.

Instead if was to measure it in terms of what I have written about family history, the websites I have read, the files I have downloaded and the maps I have examined, then I would find I have had quite a productive week. That doesn’t include all the time spent just thinking about genealogy and adding things to my to-do list.

I had originally been planning to spend last Saturday at an archive, but the urge for a lazy weekend got the better of me, plus the lure of the second-hand bookshop meant I spent the day with my wife in Worthing, West Sussex doing very little. Sometimes family history does need to take a back seat!

Much of my work seems to have been focused on places rather than people at the moment, I spent a lot of my time looking at maps last week, both old and new, and the problem is that it is very hard to include them in my family history database.

I have also spent a fair amount of time thinking about this blog, it does seem to be taking up most to my family history time each week, so it is only right that I should consider it’s role. I won’t be giving up blogging anytime soon, if anything my blogging output will hopefully increase over the next few months.

I do feel that I need to getting back to looking specifically at people this week, I still have to pull together some material on Thomas KINGHORN’s mail coach accident, but this time next week I would like to be able to say that I had actually been adding more people and more details to my family tree.

I still need to get more organised if I am going to be able to spend more time on family history and blogging. I like to think that my family history is pretty well organised, but the rest of my life is in need of some attention, especially the pile of stuff on my computer desk which threatens to bury me every time I sit down to do some work.

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