I’ve Got Nothing to Write About!

Let me guess … you had an idea that it’d be great to start a genealogy blog and write stories about your family history to make sure they get recorded. But you’re not doing a lot of research, and aren’t inspired, and now you’re finding that “I have nothing to write about” and it all seems too hard!

Am I right?

For those of you who are at this point of genealogy blogging (or even those who are yet to start), this one is for you. Here’s a bunch of suggestions to get you back blogging, without a whole lot of effort.

There’s  whole group of ‘day related’ theme posts (I’ll mention more of them later), but let me start with WORDLESS WEDNESDAY. Keep a post short and simple by starting with an old photo. Pop it on your blog, and caption it you choose, but you don’t need a whole blog post about it. That’s the whole idea of Wordless Wednesday. Short and sweet. And you’re recording a piece of history.

If you’re wanting to write about your family or ancestors, don’t aim to write entire life stories of them (well not in one post anyway). Break it down into stories. A place they used to visit, a job they did, pets they owned, when they bought a new car, a voyage they took, an heirloom of theirs you have – and what the story behind it is … and so on. So many ideas. So many great stories waiting to be told.

You all know what a meme is?  Well a geneameme is a genealogy themed one, and there’s been a number that have done the rounds over the years, but anyone can pick up and do any anytime they wish! The meme consists of a set of questions, which you then answer, and pop it all on your blog. Again, another simple way to share some history, and have a great post. While you can simply Google “geneameme” and you’ll come up with 1000s, here are links to those on Jill Ball’s Geniaus blog, and those on my own blog as well.

Why not write the details about an ancestor you’re looking for, and share the process as you go? Or if you’re just getting started with a new genealogy program (online or offline), share what you like (or don’t like) about it. Bought a new book to help with your research? Why not write a little review about it … or a website you’ve found awesome. Or a new trick on how to do something, which brings up different results. What about a visit to a library or archive? All of these would make great posts.

Do you have older family members still around? Parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles? Why not interview them and ask them questions about the past – either generally or on a particular topic. I was fortunate that someone interviewed my grandparents about their time in WW2. My grandpa went off to war in Egypt and elsewhere, while my grandma stayed home and helped run the farm with the other family members. But so many details came out of that, that I never knew and would never find in a history book. Of course with interviews you will need to ask their permission to record it (and publish it), if that’s what you wish to do.

I’ve used “on this day” posts from time to time. And they add something a little different too. Sometimes I use a specific day, the date my grandparents were married, and write about their wedding. Or the date a ship arrived in Australia, with details of my immigrating ancestors, and a little about the voyage. Or the date someone died, and a little about them. Another tack for “on this day” posts is to write about something that happened “on this day in history”, and I find this site great for that, and they have LOTS of Australian history events as well. Or “Days of the Year” is an great one too … I keep meaning to share my grandma’s recipes on “Recipe Day”.

If you’re stuck for prompts, the Geneabloggers TRIBE site is THE place to look.

They have Daily Prompts such as those below, but be sure to go to their site for mode details on each of these:

Sunday Prompts: Black Sheep Sunday, Census Sunday, Church Record Sunday, Sentimental Sunday, Sunday’s Obituary
Monday Prompts: Amanuensis Monday, Madness Monday, Mappy Monday, Maritime Monday,
Matrilineal Monday, Military Monday, Motivation Monday, Mystery Monday
Tuesday Prompts: Talented Tuesday, Tombstone Tuesday, Travel Tuesday, Tuesday’s Tip
Wednesday Prompts: Wedding Wednesday, Wednesday’s Child, Wisdom Wednesday, Wishful Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, Workday Wednesday
Thursday Prompts: Thankful Thursday, Those Places Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Thriller Thursday, Treasure Chest Thursday
Friday Prompts: Family Friends Friday, Family Recipe Friday, Follow Friday, Friend of Friends Friday, Friday’s Faces from the Past, Friday Funny, Funeral Card Friday
Saturday Prompts: Shopping Saturday, Sibling Saturday, Society Saturday, Sorting Saturday, Sports Center Saturday, Surname Saturday, Sympathy Saturday

NOTE: One omission that I would like to add in to the above Daily Prompt, is “TROVE TUESDAY”. This is a popular one among Australian geneabloggers, as we simply go to Trove (the Australian historical newspapers site), find a cool article, (it can be about your family, or just something else in history) … and you share it on our blog.

The Calendar of Ideas is rather like the “on this day” link above, in that it is a recording of things that happened ‘on this day in history’, but this one is more US-centric which is fair enough, since that’s where it’s created.

If you’re looking for some ‘regularity’ to your posts you might like to take up a blog challenge. There are numerous “52 Week” challenges, so choose one that looks good to you, and just one post a week. You can find a post to a bunch of these and the “Family History Through the Alphabet” blog challenge too here.


So now you’ll never be stuck for ideas again. And in fact I reckon you’ll have SO MANY ideas that you’ll need more time to blog! Well that’s what I find anyway.

Happy geneablogging!

Do You Have an “About Me” Page on Your Blog?

Think about it, you read an article or story and if you enjoy it you are likely to look to see who the author is, right? You’re intrigued. You want to know more about the person. Novels normally have a have a biography of the person, while articles online or in a magazine usually have a paragraph or two.

I know I read those, and  I’m sure I’m not the only one.

But there are a number of bloggers (geneabloggers included) who choose to remain effectively anonymous online. That’s their choice, and I say ‘each to their own’, they have their reasons. But there are some compelling reasons to have an About Me page on your blog.

Let me start by saying that I see the usefulness of an About Me page on my own blog. I use Google Analytics to keep track of my blog stats for me, and using that I can see how many people look at what posts each day (or even hour if I wanted to). And from that I can see that my About Me page ranks in the Top 10 looked at posts on most days. So that tells me that people are interested to find out more me, and about who is writing this blog.

I’m not saying your have to have your whole life story written there, but just enough to give those reading a sense of who your are. Besides, it adds a small personal touch to your blog, and that’s also important.

My own About Me page which you can read here, is small, but I think it says enough. It includes my name, where I’m from, approximate age, experience in genealogy and my goals! But it can say whatever you want it to. I’ve seen some very extensive ones, and some very short ones. There’s no real rules.

Apart from that, if you are a member of the GeneaBloggersTRIBE, Kate Challis compiles the Blogiversary details using info from the About Me pages on each blog, and here she’s writes why she finds About Me pages so important, and gives suggestions on what she feels you should include. All of which are good suggestions by the way.

Not only that, potential extended family could well find your blog thanks to Google and cousin-bait, and would like to know a little about you before sending you an email saying “hey, I reckon we’re 4th cousins, and I can tell you all about the lost branch of your family”.  But with no About Me page, they get no sense of who you are, and my hesitate.

So my suggestion is that unless you have a very good reason (and I know some do), whether you are a professional genealogist or just a hobby researcher and blogger, or even a blogger on other topics, add an About Me page, as it adds immense value to your blog.

Blog Tips – the Collection

Blogging is an amazing way to be able to share and communicate with others. You can tell stories, show photos, give facts … and more.

And it seems that genealogy blogging (aka geneablogging) keeps growing in popularity as people understand what a blog is, and realise the usefulness of them, and decide to make the leap into the exciting world of blogging.

But it’s not simply a case of sign up for a free Blogger or WordPress account, and get writing. Ok, technically you can, but there’s some things that you can do to make you blog a “great blog”, rather than “just a blog”.

Over the past few years I’ve written a few posts with tips on blogging which are useful for the general blogger as well the geneablogger. So for ease of use, I’ve compiled them together for you:
Tips for Geneablogger Writers and Readers
– Tips for Genealogy Bloggers
– 17 Websites to Find Photos for Your Blog
– Leaving Comments on a Blogger Blog
Facebook vs Blogging: The Pros and Cons

I’m no professional blogger, and don’t claim to be. I’m simply just someone who enjoys writing and and reading blogs. And during that time I’ve seen what makes a good blog, and what doesn’t.

So to all those who blog (particularly my geneablogging friends), keep on blogging. Remember every post you write, you are recording (and sharing) history.