What Do They Want to Know? More topics to blog about by locality
This is 8th in a series of articles on genealogy news blogging (by locality). Click here to read the 7th part, Tips for Following Genealogy Websites.
As a blogger, your best way of getting noticed is to repeatedly blog about what your potential readers want to know about. So, what do they want to know when they follow a blog about genealogy research by locale? To this point in the series, most of the examples we shared have related to sharing news about online records. That is a natural place to start (well, for most localities) because there are so many records being digitized and placed online. But that’s certainly not the only thing that people want to hear about when they follow genealogy news for a specific locality.
Here are a few more topics that readers love.
How to Use Online Databases
Organizations share so much information online, and they haven’t all figured out how to make it user-friendly yet.
Any database that you had to spend time trying to figure out is a good candidate for a step-by-step tutorial, with screen shots. A tutorial is a great way to introduce a database to your readers and start a conversation about how useful that database is. Then you can share your own success with the database, or give readers an opening to share theirs.
Here are a few examples:
- In Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings, he regularly teaches about how to use websites and databases. This post on using the New York Probate Records collection on FamilySearch is a great example of how he teaches, step-by-step, how to use a collection.
- Diane Haddad teaches in the Genealogy Insider blog about using the new NYPL Map Warper.
- Chris Paton of the BritishGENES blot shares a specific tip about using Ancestry to search in the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses.
- Shelley Bishop shares how she found a certificate of naturalization in the unindexed FamilySearch Ohio, Hamilton County records.
Case Studies and Success Stories
We all love to hear about success stories. If you just made a major find, share that success with your readers. You don’t have to get into a ton of detail, but as your readers get to know you they will love it when you share your success with them. Encourage them to share their successes with you too!
If you do have the ability to get into the details, walk through a case study and map out the methods you used and the resources you discovered that led to your find. Seeing a real-life example is a great way to learn.
Keep an eye out for organizations who will be holding webinars covering your area. They might teach how to research in that location, or how to use specific archives, libraries, or even specific collections. Follow GeneaWebinars to stay up-to-date on who is hosting these webinars. And…be aware of the national organizations too. Even the Library of Congress offers webinars to teach how to use their collections.
Volunteer Indexing Projects
While online records are great, online and indexed records are amazing. Many organizations have indexing projects that people can be involved in from anywhere in the world. Ask the societies in your area if they have any volunteer projects that people from a distance can help with, and you can help promote them. In return, they may be willing to let their members know about you too. FamilySearch Indexing and Ancestry’s World Archives Project could both have indexing projects going on at any given time for your locality.
- To see new FamilySearch projects, visit the Projects Page and sort by “Newest to Oldest.”
- To see new World Archives Projects projects, follow their blog here.
While genealogy volunteering might not be as “popular” as other topics, as bloggers, we have a voice that others will listen to. We need to encourage people to do this kind of volunteer work to help get more records available online. Each time we do, more will join in. You’ve probably heard of the rule of seven – we all need to hear something new multiple times before it really sinks in. Help spread the word!
Coming Next: Publicize Your Blog
Photo: Hine, Lewis Wickes. Newsstand. 1913. Color digital file from b&w original print with adjustments. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. http://loc.gov/pictures/resource/nclc.03866/, accessed July 5, 2014.