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           October, 2007

      Carol Sanderson, Editor
      Charles Hansen, Advisor

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  Genealogical Blogs
— Charles Hansen

        What is a blog? Blog is short for Web log. It is more like a web journal or an online newsletter. They actually remind me more of the early postings on the Prodigy genealogy bulletin board, where hundreds of people posted daily about sources, methods of research, places for research, surname research, locality research and even genealogy fun.

        How can you find genealogy blogs? Well, Cyndi's List has a section for blogs. There is the Genealogy Blog Finder also. Both will bring up a list of hundreds of genealogical related blogs arranged in categories to help find the blogs that interest you.

        When I started reading the Prodigy bulletin boards every day I only had to go to one place and wander through the various bulletin boards. While most of the genealogical blogs are on the Google Blogger,they each have a separate URL. You can keep each one in your favorites and check them whenever you are online but if no one posts for a week it is rather a wasted effort, or you can used a blog reader.

        Internet Explorer version 7 has a blog reader built in, and Microsoft subscribes you to two Microsoft Blogs. Check your favorites, and there is a box called Feeds with a folder that says Microsoft Feeds. Clicking there brings up the Home feed and the Business feed.* If they are in bold type, they have been updated since you last checked them. There is a Google reader also and it works similar to the Internet Explorer reader.

        The above Genealogy Blog Finder has behind each blog, in the lists, a square box kind of an odd orange-pink, but clicking there brings up the feed for that blog and near the top it says subscribe to this feed. Clicking there the feed magically appears in your list of feeds. Next time you check that feed in the favorites, bold print that means a new post since the last time you read that blog. No bold print means no new posts since you last read that feed.

        Is a blog better than a mail list, or a message board, or a bulletin board? Well anyone can reply to a post on a blog without having to subscribe to post. Blogger allows you to set up a blog with just you or a few others able to start a post, but anyone can reply. Posts on blogs also show up on the major search engines, so if you post about your ancestor or an upcoming conference they will show up on the search engines. If you make a mistake or néed to change a post, it is easy to correct. If you find and néed to correct information on your ancestors, it is easily corrected. This also means spam can be removed easily if a spammer replies to a post.

        Should you start your own blog? Blogger makes it easy to start a blog, and you do not néed to know html program language, you do not néed a web master and you can be on the Internet.

        For a genealogy society, blogs seem to attract new and younger members. Perhaps your genealogical society could use a blog. Will it replace the mail list, newsletter, or website for the society? No, it will help to reach out to others that may be missed by the mail list website or newsletter.

* Webmaster note:  The same is true for the Macintosh computer operating system and browser (Safari), and most other operating systems and associated browsers.

Please visit the Message Board on this web site. You do not have to subscribe, be a member or have a webmaster to do so.

We also have an auto-search for blogs and RSS feeds on our Tools page.

  Lazy Genealogists?
— Carol Sanderson

        I read an article recently about doing genealogy on the Internet. The author seemed to imply that genealogists who use the Internet almost completely are lazy. I have heard others remark about that statement has evoked some response. I feel the néed to respond also to it.

        I do not feel that we should judge genealogists by the way they research but by the veracityand documentation of the results they have. We all have our reasons for doing things they way we do and if it works then who is to say it is wrong. There are people who live a distance from urban areas where the libraries tend to have more records we can view. These same urban areas tend to have other repositories too. In addition, many people have time constraints who work at their genealogy in bits and snatches whenever they can. They, too, find that it is convenient to be able to use the Internet.

        Another reason for not going to these libraries or repositories can be physical. I, myself, have not been for a couple of years to any that I used to frequent for the simple reason of physical impairment. That means I now seek other ways of finding what I néed in my research. Even if I could be let off at the door of the facility, I would still have to be able to walk in somehow. For me, that is becoming more difficult to do. Many people have difficulty getting around for one reason or another. Let us not judge them if they choose the Internet for the major part of their research.

        Just because one does research from their home or wherever their computer is, does not mean that they are lazy or that they do slipshod work. Please do not judge those of us who use the Internet almost exclusively for their research. You may be in their shoes someday.

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