Saturday, January 13, 2018

Chicken Post or Egg Post?

Genealogy blogging feels like a chicken or egg thing.
  • When I want to write a post, I research someone or try a new research tool. (Chicken post)
  • When I research someone or learn a new research technique, I want to write a blog post. (Egg post)
Which comes first? It depends on what I want to accomplish. Chicken or egg, I always learn something.

During January, I'm participating in Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors challenges, which will provide blog prompts and ideas every week. Weeks #1 and #2 are crossed off my list already. Only 50 more to go, meaning I'll be doing more research on 50 more ancestors. These are chicken posts ;) And I'm participating in the Genealogy Blog Party, which is hosted by Elizabeth O'Neal--more prompts to give me ideas for chicken posts.

Other bloggers also inspire me. I've been reading Janice Sellers' "Events in my family tree" series. And reading Randy Seaver's occasional posts about using RootsMagic features. These gave me the idea for a chicken post, a post where I start by wanting to write and use that as the impetus to learn something or research someone.

I originally wanted to find something timely in the family tree to write about. To do that, I had to learn how to use my RootsMagic "calendar report" function, which I've never investigated. With multiple family trees, I need multiple calendars.

The software allows me to check a box and get a calendar with only living people, as a reminder to send birthday or anniversary greetings. However, I wish the software would also let me check a box and have no living people on the calendar.

The results: My maternal Schwartz tree calendar for January has a few birthdays and wedding anniversaries. My husband's Wood tree for January is so crowded with names and occasions that the software had to print more than 20 names and dates on a separate piece of paper! This makes sense, since his tree has more than 2,700 names, and my maternal tree has fewer than 1,000 names.

On January 13th, the Wood tree shows the marriage of Thomas Short and Margaret Larimer, 176 years ago. I have Margaret's death date, not her birth date (still can't find it, despite an hour of searching this morning), and I have Thomas's birth date but not his death date (still can't find it, darn it). They're on my list to continue researching.

But as part of my research into these two Wood ancestors, I tried out the search function of Elephind, that wonderful free newspaper website--it's searchable from the home page!

In addition, I forced myself to search using the new Find A Grave interface, which I dislike. Unfortunately, no sign of Thomas and Margaret, but at least I'm getting used to the new interface. A little.

This is what a chicken post looks like. I also like egg posts. Both are fun and keep me excited about #genealogy blogging.

5 comments:

Linda Stufflebean said...

Both are fun, aren't they? I also follow the chicken and egg approach as they give a different point of view. I find trying a new tech tool is the most difficult to write about as I need to figure it out first. People, even brick wall people, are a much easier topic.

genealogylizgauffreau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
genealogylizgauffreau said...

I've been looking for years for information about my paternal grandfather's vaudville career (small time). I clicked on Elephind from your post, which I'd never heard of), put in my last name, and the first hit was a classified ad offering Elliott's services as a "good amateur comedian." I'm so excited I'm about ready to bust!! (And of course, thank you for posting the link!)

Marian B. Wood said...

Liz, this is very exciting news that Elephind had an ad featuring your grandfather! Lucky you.

Linda, I agree that writing about a new tech tool is challenging because we have first learn the tool, then break down the methodology step by step to explain "how to."

I really like writing about brick wall people too!

Thank you folks for reading and leaving me a note.

Wendy said...

An interesting way to think about what we do.