It’s OK to Take a Break!...

I’ve been blogging for a number of years now, and I’ve not been one to ever ‘set a schedule’ for posts, but rather I just tend to blog when the mood and time allows. In saying that, I do follow a number of bloggers who do post regularly (ie. every day, or every week), and while I envy them for having the time to do so, it’s just not for me. For those who’ve followed me for a while, yes, I have been very quiet for the past few months as it’s been chaotic to say the least, and during that time blogging was something that pretty much dropped off the radar for sanity reasons. However, hopefully life is getting back to some form of normality, and that includes getting back to blogging. I know of other bloggers who have had blogging breaks for various reasons, and don’t beat yourself up about it, it is OK to have a break. Life does take over, or sometimes the enthusiasm isn’t there, or the time to even do family history. So just like a holiday, take a break. Take some time to chill, recharge, and come back when you’re ready.  ...

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. START SMALL 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. GENEAMEMES 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...

A Look Back Over 6 Years of Blogging...

October 3rd is my 6 year blogiversary. Sometimes I can’t believe that it’s gone that quick, and other times, it seems forever. Anyway 6 years on, and I’m still blogging, and I still love it. For this post, I thought I’d take a little look back at some of my favourite posts. I do write on a number of different topics, so I’ve groups them into various categories, and have chosen six from each. This post took a lot longer to compile that I expected, partly because I relooked at each and every post I’d written which was a very interesting exercise, but also because it was so hard choosing which ones to include. I would have loved that list more … FAMILY HISTORY – Anzac Day Blog Challenge: He Was Proud to be Australian – Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: P is for … Charlotte PHILLIPS – Trove Tuesday: The Saddest News of All – Diaries, and the Stories They Can Tell! – A Wedding in the Midst of War – Looking Back: Photos of My Grandmas FUNNIES – Ten, Eleven, Twelve Commandments of Genealogy – 13 Signs You Have Genealogy OCD – Favourite Family Tree Quotes – All I Want For Christmas Is A New Surname – Genealogy, As the World Sees It – Are You a Genealogist or a Family Historian? HISTORY – History Meets Street Art in Adelaide – History Under Your Feet – Australian History – the Bits You Didn’t Know About – Trove Tuesday: 1 March 1954, The Day the Earth Shook South Australia – A List of Don’ts for Women on Bicycles Circa 1895 – Australia Day, 26 January … or is it May or July? RECORDS AND RESEARCH – Australian Government Gazettes – Have You Discovered Them? – Australian Birth, Death and Marriage...

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...

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)...

Facebook vs Blogging: The Pros and Cons...

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a few geneabloggers writing about the topic of “is genealogy blogging dying” (see the links at the end), which are suggesting that there are far less active genealogy blogs and/or bloggers, now than there were a few years ago, and that people are turning to social media (namely Facebook) instead. They may well be, but I’m not going into that. Personally I can see that there is a case for both, but it purely depends on what the reason behind you doing it is. So I thought I’d just run through a few of the key features of both a blog and Facebook for you, to highlight the differences. FACEBOOK Let me start of by saying that there are different types of Facebook accounts. There is your own personal account, there are pages, and there are groups, and all of them have a different purpose. The Pros – it’s free – the amount of people there … Facebook states that they have over one billion active Facebook users – you can have a private group on Facebook (so you can have your own non-public family group, so you can get your cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces together on Facebook to chat and share family memories and/or photos) – you can have a group for Descendants of … to keep in touch with the wider family The Cons – not everyone is (or wants to be) on Facebook – it’s not indexed by Google – a photo or story that is put up, is essentially seen once, then lost in the feed – not everything shows up in Facebook, so many posts simply don’t get seen BLOGGING Please note some blogs...

Leaving Comments on a Blogger Blog...

Has anyone else had issues leaving comments on someone’s Blogger blog, or is just me? I’m of the opinion that blogging is a two way thing. Someone writes something cool and interesting, you read it, and if you like you should leave a comment acknowledging it, or share it on social media.  So when I read blogs, I do like to comment. However some people who use Blogger have theirs set up differently, so that unfortunately won’t allow me to do so. As these bloggers probably aren’t aware that they’re missing out on potential comments, I thought I would highlight it here. Example 1. This seems to be the standard set of options which it allows you to sign into to leave a comment. However I don’t use LiveJournal, TypePad or OpenID. I have no idea what AIM is, but it doesn’t seem to be anything I can use. And yes, I do have a WordPress blog, but I have a WordPress.org not a WordPress.com one, so I don’t have a WordPress account. So none of these options work for me. I will admit that on rare occasions I have used ‘Unknown’ and just typed my name in as part of the comment, but it’s not ideal by any means. Example 2. This is actually a different issue I have with some Blogger blogs. you’ll see that there is no dropdown list, but rather simply a box to type. However comments based on your Google+ account. Now I manage four Google+ accounts, and it seems to be permanently preferrenced to my work ones. As yet I haven’t yet figured out how to change it, although I’m familiar enough with swapping between accounts themselves on Google+. So again, I don’t...

Genealogy and the 52 Week Challenge...

Ok, who’s up for a Genealogy Challenge? I could say Blog Challenge, but this isn’t just for bloggers. It’s actually for anyone who wants to record their own history, and it allows you to do it a little each week.  And you don’t even have to do it online. Simply grab yourself a blank notebook, and you’re all ready to go! I recently came across Linda’s 52 Week Challenge, and I love it. Linda writes the Hinterland Writing blog, and she started this Challenge back in May 2016. Releasing a new topic each week, she’s currently up to Week 29. It’s along the lines of my Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge, as in you pick and choose which weeks you’d like to participate in. In saying that she has a number of dedicated followers who are busy recording their memories every week, with others doing some along the way. Anyway I’ve compiled a list of her topics for Weeks 1-29 for you. 52 Week Challenge Week 1 – What is your full name? Do you know why you were given that name? Do you have a baptismal name? A confirmation name? Why were these names chosen? Week 2 – When and where were you born?  Which child are you ? Brothers and sisters? Capture the memories of the house you grew up in and the neighbourhood as you saw it? What do you remember the most about the house? Week 3 – Your dad Week 4 – Name 5 people that you consider to have had a positive impact on the world Week 5 – Mother Week 6 – Occupations Week 7 – Have any of your immediate family members died? Week 8 – Brothers and sisters Week...

Lonetester HQ Turns 5!

Apparently time flies when you’re having fun blogging, as it was on this day (3rd October) in 2011 that I wrote my first post here on Lonetester HQ. I found re-reading that first “Hello World” post is interesting, as back then I simply knew I wanted my own genealogy blog (separate from work) , without knowing exactly what I’d write. Now 5 years and 300+ posts later … I’ve written about all sorts. About websites I’ve found and used, about programs, about books I love, about local history, events I’ve been to, genealogy cruises, social media, even me and my pets, and of course my family history. I’ve taken part in (and created) geneamemes and blog challenges, met many new geneabloggers along the way, as well as having distant family ‘discover me’ through my blog. I’ve even been nominated for some awards. Even after 5 years, I would say that my blog still doesn’t have a ‘specific’ direction other than most of it is history and genealogy orientated. And I’m fine with that. I’m not a professional researcher or writer, not every post is a “how-to” one. In fact in reality I’m more of a “I’ve done this … or found this …  and you might find it useful” writer. In otherwords writing from my experiences. Anyway I do love blogging … or maybe I should say I love writing. But blogging lets me share my stories and experiences with others in a way that simply writing them (for me) doesn’t. While I’d love had have a giveaway or something to celebrate my blogiversary with my readers, instead I thought I would help change someone’s life by making another loan through Kiva. For those who are unfamiliar with Kiva,...

17 Websites to Find Photos for Your Blog...

From time to time I write a non-genealogy related post. One more general. This is one of those. But all of the links listed below are useful for not just regular bloggers, but they can certainly be used for those who are geneablogging as well. I have always believed that graphics in blog posts are important. And when you read the “what makes a good blog post” type articles, photographs and images always seem to get a mention, so I’m not the only one. Over the years I have been asked where do you get the images that I use on my blog, and the simple answer is I use BigStock which you do have to pay for, but it is low-cost compared to some. But there are other valuable resources out there that you can use, so I thought I’d introduce you to some of them. Many are free free stock photo sites, with a few pay stock photo sites listed as well. It kind of goes without saying that you MUST read the terms of use on each site, because each is different. Some are free without any attribution needed, some require attribution. Some allow you to alter the image, and others don’t. Some are available for personal use only, but not commercial. Others are fine for either use. So be aware, read the licence. ———————————————– BigStock – $ www.bigstockphoto.com BigStock (formerly BigStockPhoto) offers users over 35 million royalty-free photographs and images. They are available to download in various sizes and various file formats, and are available for individuals and commercial organisations. BigStock is a pay site, and you can pay per month, or buy credits. I use the credit method, and just purchase a batch of...