Showing posts with label genealogy blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label genealogy blog. 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! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wisdom Wednesday: 5 Things to Do Before I Become an Ancestor (Update)

Last year I wrote about the 5 genealogy things I have to do before I (gulp) become an ancestor. Now it's time to update the list with a slightly different take on the 5 "must do" genealogy tasks:
  1. Document the most important things (and don't count on technology). The genealogist(s) of the next generation may not be able to figure out who's who and what's what, even with the Census photocopies and other notes in my files. Whoever comes after me may not know (or care) how to use my genealogy software and they sure won't be able to access my Mozy backups. That's why I'm creating and printing pedigree charts and family info NOW, this week. Each major family has a file folder in my cabinet and some major figures in each family have their own folders within folders. But if there are no pedigree charts, a system that makes sense to me may not make sense to the next genealogist. So I'm putting the basics into print and sending a copy to interested family members, with extra copies in my files.
  2. Keep putting labels on photos. I've made a good start. Nearly all my photos are in archival plastic sleeves. But I feel strongly about telling the stories that go with the photos (see #3 below) and that's slowing me down. I've been scanning each photo and writing up a couple of paragraphs about it. After all, that's the only way that the little girl who was 18 months old in a family photo will know that we were gathered for a certain holiday, that her dress was hand-made by her mother, that great-uncle Joe had just died, and her grandmother was too ill to be present. Small details, I know, but they bring family history alive and they put the basic facts into a context. And, because others may not know how to use my Picasa photo software, where I've carefully named each scanned photo, I need to print out the photo with the story and file it where it can be found.
  3. Tell the stories. What did my ancestors value? What did they aspire to? What made them cry or laugh? Why did they leave their hometowns and move across the state or around the world? What else was happening around them that affected their lives? I know some (not all) of the answers...and I'm compelled to tell the stories. Maybe my nieces have a vague understanding of WWII, but they don't know much about what their grandpa did in the war and why he was busted to private more than once. The stories show what kind of guy grandpa was! And when I tell a story to a family member, it's possible that that relative may know another part of the story or have a different take on the situation. So keep telling the stories.
  4. Reopen the search for key ancestors. Three years ago, I conducted an intensive search to determine whether William Madison McClure and his father Benjamin McClure are definitely my husband's ancestors. With the help of a genealogy angel who had some key local history books, I concluded that they were "very probably" family members. It's time to reopen the search, write away for more info if necessary and available, and either put them on the pedigree charts or find out who belongs there. The McClures are high on my "to do" list for 2011. And I have other holes in the family tree to plug, of course.
  5. Stay in touch. It was on my previous list and it's still on my list this time around. Last fall, my 2d cousin Lois found me through this blog and we've met and corresponded. Plus she introduced me to our 2d cousin Lil! The joy of genealogy is in meeting cousins and widening the family circle, IMHO. Blogging is wonderful cousin bait--and I mean that in the best way possible. If a cousin I haven't found does an online search for our family name and lands on my blog, I'll be thrilled, and I'll stay in touch.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Genealogy Time Capsules

Ever think about the Census as a time capsule? Each one is waiting to be discovered 72 years later when genealogists and researchers can look back and see ancestors were living or working at a certain time and place, see who was living and near with those people, learn about their educational situation, the language they spoke, and so on.

We know where these Census time capsules are, we know when they're about to be opened, and we know how to peek inside and find data treasures that will help us piece together details of our family from years past.

I've come to think of a genealogy blog as another kind of family time capsule. I post names, photos, queries, comments about my family tree and--if Google never removes the blog or the links--they'll be here for decades or longer, waiting for some future researcher or distant relative to search out and read. As long as search engines can locate my blog's entries in the ever-expanding galaxy of web stuff, future members of my family will be able to see what I've posted.

My blog isn't as well organized as the Census, and it's admittedly somewhat obscure--partly for privacy reasons--but still it can be viewed as a kind of time capsule about my family.

Here's my concern: not all time capsules are found.

From time to time, I read in news reports about time capsules that come to light accidentally--maybe buried at the start of some monument's construction and then found 52 or 78 years later during renovation. Or a school asks children to bring everyday items and notes to class for a time capsule burial set into a new building's cornerstone or at a new sports field's dedication. Too often the markers fade or aren't even set up to let future generations know of the treasures buried in the time capsule.

I deliberately include the surnames of ancestors and relatives I'm researching in the hope that these serve as markers to guide people to my blog. But will my blog and the thousands like it be gone some day? If there are no new entries for 25 years, will Google or Yahoo or Bing be able to find my blog when someone two generations from now wants to search out the same surnames?

How can we, as family researchers, ensure that our genealogy blogs--the ones we use to describe family trees, discuss our ancestors, display old photos, and reach out to long-lost cousins--live on? How can we be sure that our genealogy blogs will be treated as family time capsules that can be found many years in the future?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Life of Riley Genealogy

Googling for genealogy blogs, I ran across Life of Riley, which has a very useful post today about old abbreviations. A sample, copied from today's post:
  • d.s.p.l. - died without legitimate issue
  • d.s.p.m.s. - died without surviving male issue
  • d.s.p.s - died without surviving issue
  • d.unm - died unmarried
I'll be checking regularly for tips. Thanks, Riley.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Insider's Look at Genealogy

The Ancestry Insider

The unofficial, unauthorized view of the two big genealogy websites: and .
The Insider reports on, defends, and constructively criticizes these two and associated topics. The
author attempts to fairly and evenly support both. (more...)

Database review: Historic Land Ownership Atlases

NFS rollout update for 26-Aug-2008

Maps online from the New York Public Library

Notice: The Ancestry Insider is independent of and The opinions expressed herein are his own. Trademarks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The Ancestry Insider is solely responsible for any silly, comical, or satirical trademark parodies presented as such herein. The name Ancestry Insider designates the author's status as an insider among those searching their ancestry and does not refer to All content is copyrighted unless designated otherwise.

blog it
Independent but expert, this featured blog takes us inside the latest developments at and (and other genealogy sites). Valuable tips and loads of links--as you can see from these recent post titles. It's now on my (lengthy) bookmark list of must-visit genealogy sites and blogs.

Because my Eastern European relatives lived in towns that belonged to different nations at different times, links on this blog to historical maps are helpful in figuring out where to continue searching. My maternal grandfather came from a town that was once in Hungary, later considered part of Czechoslovakia, and today is in Ukraine. Can't wait to find out about the towns in Latvia etc. where my paternal ancestors originally lived.