Showing posts with label ancestor landing page. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ancestor landing page. Show all posts

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ancestor Landing Pages Keep Working

All-time views as of April 15, 2016

My ancestor landing pages (those tabs just below the masthead and above the photos on my home page here) continue to attract viewers! I set up my first ancestor landing pages in January, 2013.

The goal is to summarize what I know about each of these families in my tree or my hubby's tree, and to "land" viewers who use surnames as key words to search the web for genealogical details. If my landing pages show up in their results, they'll hopefully click to read on.

Of course, landing pages make it easy to share ancestor highlights, including photos or documents, with cousins. As I continue blogging about a particular surname or family, I add a bullet point with a link on the ancestor landing page for that family. I want to make it easy for distant relatives or researchers to connect with me!

By far the most popular of my ancestor landing pages is the story of Halbert McClure and family--the folks originally from Isle of Skye, who moved to County Donegal, and then saved their money to sail across the pond and buy land in Virginia.

In terms of audience: The #2 landing page is about my Schwartz family from Ungvar, then Hungary and now Uzhorod in Ukraine, followed by #3, about the Larimer family whose patriarch was shipwrecked in the Atlantic.

Another way to confirm that landing pages are working is by reading the key phrases that people use to search and land on the blog. Those key phrases can be found under the "traffic sources" section of the blog's statistics. Sure enough, this week I see "Halbert McClure" and "Benjamin McClure" and even "Markell family tree." These ancestor landing pages keep on working! 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ancestor Landing Pages Update

So my ancestor landing pages--those tabs at the top of my blog, each for a different surname branch of my family tree--have been part of my blog since January 2013.

The purpose is to have a special page devoted to each surname group, so when a distant relative or researcher does an online search for a name like "McClure" or "Slatter," they will "land" on my ancestor's page and see what I've discovered about those ancestors.

Over the months, these ancestor landing pages have been attracting views and, on occasion, comments from cousins and regular readers!

As of October 9, here are the statistics for the TOP 10. (The dates indicate the most recent time that I updated or added to each of the pages.)

Most popular is my page about the Herman & Hana Schwartz family from Ungvar, Hungary (now Uzhorod, Ukraine). This was my grandpa Tivador Schwartz's family.

Next most popular is my page about hubby's McClure family, originally from the Isle of Skye, then Donegal. This family sailed en masse to Philadelphia and then walked to Virginia to buy land.

Unquestionably, ancestor landing pages are an effective way to showcase genealogical breakthroughs, family information, photos, stories, and connections. For me, the best part is when I get a comment or an e-mail from a cousin who found the page, recognized some of the names, and got in touch!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ancestor Landing Pages Draw Visitors

Ancestor landing pages: How many visits as of today?
Ancestor landing pages were new to my genealogy blog as of January, 2013. Over the past two years, I've posted additional family landing pages, a Mayflower ancestor page, a mystery photo page, and pages to summarize my posts in the Genealogy Do-Over and 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

The goal is to attract visitors who are researching certain family names or members and make it easy for them to know what I know about the family trees I'm researching, with links to individual posts about particular people.

As of today, the most visited ancestor landing page here is "Schwartz family from Ungvar (608 visits)." The least visited page is the newest, "Rachel & Jonah Jacobs" (60 visits in just a couple of weeks).

Looking forward to more visits, more posts, and more cousin connections in 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Genealogy Lessons Learned in 2014 - Part 1

Everybody loves "top 10" lists. This is the first of two posts about my top 10 list of genealogy lessons learned in 2014, a year of cousin connections as well as ongoing mysteries. In no particular order:

10. Ancestor landing pages work. Several cousins contacted me in 2014 after searching for family names and landing on my ancestor pages. At left, my 23-month readership for each landing page. (Mystery photos, Mayflower page, and 52 Ancestors pages are less than a year old.) Even when I don't blog about a particular family for months, the landing page still attracts views. Lesson: Consider additional ancestor landing pages and be sure to update as needed.**

9. Facebook genealogy pages are fantastic sources of ideas and info. There are more than 4,100 genealogy pages on Facebook, and I've joined a couple of dozen to learn more about genealogy resources in specific areas (like New York City) and to ask questions. That's how I learned where to send for certain naturalization papers, marriage documents, and more. Simply reading the posts by researchers and experts has enriched my family history knowledge. Plus I've actually connected with cousins through the surname lists on some of these county genealogy pages. Lesson: Click to join more Facebook genealogy pages! Scroll through posts for general knowledge, post questions, and give back by posting responses and links where appropriate.

8. Every old photo album reveals a story--beyond the individual photos. Lucky me: Given access to my late father-in-law's early, intact photo albums for scanning purposes, I've uncovered new stories and relationships that he never mentioned. Like the summer his dad bought a 1917 Ford and drove from Ohio to Chicago to see relatives. Between the captions and the number and order of the photos in the album, we confirmed genealogical suspicions about who's who, who was really important to this family, and where people fit on the family tree. Not to mention learning about this family's daily life by taking a magnifying glass to the photos. Lesson: Analyze the sequence and number of photos, as well as the content of each photo and each caption.

7. Try creative online searches. So much new info becomes available online every week (and not just on Ancestry or Family Search) that it's hard to keep up. But when I research "new" relatives, I do a general Web search for "first name last name" AND "last name, first name" at the very least. If too many results pop up, sometimes I add "AND genealogy" to the names or add the city or state or a meaningful year. Also I've had incredible luck with newspaper databases this year, again being creative because "first name last name" doesn't always work. Also try Linkpendium, browse the geographic link pages, and search from there. Lesson: Cast a wide net on searches, since ancestors often moved around or did interesting things (like get married or arrested) in unexpected places. And somebody who has the same surname but isn't familiar may actually be a distant relative or know a distant relative.

6. Spend the money to obtain original documents for key relatives. No, I'm not a billionaire (or even a millionaire), but sometimes there's no other way to find out a female ancestor's maiden name or other vital info on vital records, short of visiting an office or archive in person. This year I've paid for microfilms from Family Search to see NYC death records and purchased nearly a dozen original marriage documents in search of the Roth and Lebowitz family connections, not to mention several UK birth and death records. What I learned illuminated family relationships and helped me sketch out my cousins' family trees. Of course I also wound up with my share of puzzles, too. Lesson: Figure out what I need and what I hope to learn before I write the check, and then if it makes sense, order the documents and cross my fingers that my ancestors told the truth.

More lessons learned in Part 2.

** A few days after writing this, I added a new Farkas & Kunstler landing page :)



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Do Ancestor Landing Pages Work?

Ancestor landing pages have been part of my blog since January, 2013. I set them up after reading about them on Caroline Pointer's Blogging Genealogy. But are they an effective way of communicating with other family researchers--and attracting possible cousins?

Yes! Here's why:
  • Readership for the past 14 months has been solid, as the snapshot at left shows. Traffic was especially good on my Schwartz and Birk landing pages. The Mayflower page is only a few months old, which is why its stats are low.
  • Contacts from several readers who found my landing pages have led to exchanges of family info and a number of intriguing leads that I'm still following up. Happily, a Wood cousin found my Demarest page just a few months ago!
  • Landing pages summarize what I know about a family in one convenient place. When researchers find me through one of my Ancestry family trees, or I discover a new cousin, I mention the landing page for that family as an introduction or a supplement to the tree. A Bentley 4th cousin (Hi Barbara!) enjoyed following the links to learn more about William Tyler Bentley's family and their Gold Rush-era migration to California.
To keep these pages relevant, I periodically update them with bullet points for the latest posts about a particular surname. Also, I add new photos or documents to freshen up the content from time to time. Who knows when a cousin will land on one of these pages, recognize a photo or a signature, and get in touch?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Military Monday: Major James Elmer Larimer

This morning I heard from a gentleman who found me through this blog.* His family has some wonderful historic treasures: A cache of Civil War letters written by James Elmer Larimer to his mother, Asenath Cornwell Larimer, and Asenath's journal chronicling her trip to California in the Gold Rush era. Are these Larimers related to hubby's Larimers?

Yes! And they're listed in the book Our Larimer Family by John Clarence Work, which traces this branch of the Larimers, starting with Robert Larimer's shipwreck enroute from North Ireland to America in the early 1700s.

Of course I dropped everything to check out James Elmer Larimer and his parents, James Larimer and Asenath Cornwell Larimer...and quickly discovered that James Elmer Larimer had quite a distinguished career in the military and afterward.

Above is the first of several pages about Major James Elmer Larimer from the 1915 book History of Dearborn County, Indiana (read or download it here). He enlisted in Company A, 17th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, on April 16, 1861. He rose through the ranks, serving bravely, and eventually became a first lieutenant in command of four companies of the 23rd Missouri Volunteer Infantry. He was in the first battle of Bull Run, and in many other famous battles (Hoover's Gap, Stone's River, siege of Atlanta, and on).

After the war, President Grant appointed him U.S. gauger and in that capacity, Major Larimer foiled a number of frauds (but not all--see this Wikipedia entry). Next he became publisher and editor of the Lawrenceburg Press in Indiana. The Dearborn history sums him up this way:
"His favorite sport is baseball. His church--all of them. His bible--"The Book" and Emerson. His reading--everything, but preferably scientific. His friends--every good man or woman. His hopes--the best of what he has been. He hates--a human skunk or fox. His pride--that he has lived through 75 years of more valuable achievement by man than all the race had previously accomplished."
James Elmer Larimer was my hubby's first cousin, four times removed, and that makes us proud. 

* Larimer ancestor landing page, a big plus!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ancestor Landing Pages: Views But No Connections Yet

As you can see from this chart, my ancestor landing pages are being viewed. The bottom two pages were posted just a few weeks ago, so the low page views are no surprise.

I started using ancestor landing pages back in January, after reading a post by Caroline Pointer. The Birk and Mahler pages were among the earliest posted, so it makes sense that they're the most viewed. Even though the pages have not yet brought me new genealogical connections...I still have hope they'll lead to breakthroughs!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ancestor Landing Pages - New to My Blog

A wonderfully detailed blog post by Caroline Pointer on Blogging Genealogy gave me the idea of creating ancestor landing pages for key people or family branches on my tree.

Now, following Caroline's instructions, I've created four tabbed landing pages, two for ancestors in my family (Birk and Mahler) and two for ancestors in hubby's family (Slatter and Demarest).

Each ancestor landing page has:
  • An image of some sort, either the person's head shot or a document or place related to his or her life
  • An intro paragraph about the person, explaining:
    • why that person was important to the family 
    • why that person intrigues me 
    • what genealogical questions I want to answer
  • A quick summary of dates or other key facts about this person
  • A listing of that person's spouse and children (for handy reference)
  • A bullet list of links to posts I've written in the past about that person or that family
Caroline's method of listing bullet points linked to blog posts from the past is not just good cousin bait, it's a way to index what else is on the blog about a certain ancestor or family. Remember, I put a "Search this blog" widget high on my home page to encourage visitors to look for specific people or surnames. But summarizing every post in one landing page saves visitors (who might be cousins!) from having to hunt down and read many posts just to determine the connection between the families.

It was interesting to see how many times I've blogged about the Slatter family, for instance, whereas I've barely blogged about Mary Amanda Demarest--mainly because cousin Larry, the Wood family genealogist, had done so much detailed research into her background before I connected with him (via a surname message board) several years ago.

I'm still trying to figure out whether to use one tab* for husband/wife (like Meyer Mahler and Tillie Rose Jacobs Mahler) or have a single name on each tab. After all, I do want to feature the matriarchs who were vital to the history of the family tree! But IMHO, the tab title "Mayer Mahler's story" seems a bit more intriguing than "Meyer Mahler & Tillie Jacobs Mahler." Perhaps I'll change things later on, as I see how things work and think up new refinements.

*UPDATE: I've changed the tabs to show husband and wife, except for Mary A. Demarest. The lady ancestors deserve equal billing IMHO. Because the ancestor landing pages are attracting views and getting my surnames indexed in search engines, I expect to put more up in the future.