Why do I blog? Why do you blog?

Despite the best of intentions at the end of October and beginning of November, I have not been as successful at keeping up with my NaBloPoMo blogging goals as I had hoped. Taking the time to focus on blogging brings with it a reassessment of my blogging goals.

Why do I blog? What are my goals in writing this blog? There are several:

1. The genealogy blogging community is a brilliant group of genealogists representing a true cross-section of the genealogy community as a whole. There are amateur (“hobbyist”) genealogists; professional genealogists; Certified Genealogists; Accredited Genealogists; genealogists in the North, South, East, and West; international genealogists; genealogists of all races, all nationalities, and all ages. The two things that we all share are a love of genealogy and a devotion to blogging. Through our blogs, we are able to hold a conversation about genealogical issues, share our experiences, and both teach and learn, in a way that was impossible before. Being a part of this conversation is important to me.

2. I am a writer. I have been writing for publication since I was 19 years old, though at that time it was unrelated to genealogy. I love to write. Since becoming a professional genealogist, I have written quite a few articles for magazines and journals, and several books. But I still want to write more. Writing this blog is for me like a runner starting his morning with a daily jog. It lets me write about subjects that I am passionate about, as well as subjects that I am still learning about or want to learn more about.

3. No other blogs share this blog’s focus. Other professional genealogists blog, and I love their blogs. There are other blogs focusing on specific aspects of professional genealogy, such as genealogical writing or education or even blogging. But my goal in creating this blog was to bring information about not just genealogy, but also running a small business, writing, lecturing, publishing, and other aspects of a professional genealogist’s life. These other subjects do not often appear in other genealogy blogs. Why should professional genealogists have to look outside of their community for information and guidance relevant to their careers?

Every time I write a single post, I have a reason.

So this is why I blog.

Have you thought about why you blog?

12 thoughts on “Why do I blog? Why do you blog?

  1. I am researching a family in an underrepresented geographic area, the US Virgin islands. When I began my research, I scoured the net to find information about the records, techniques, and history of the islands and came up empty. Not only has there been very little genealogy done for people from this place, there are no blogs or active sites devoted to this research. Since I had to start from scratch, I decided to fill that hole and start my own blog on my research. It is “200 Years in Paradise” since my family lived on St Croix for over 200 years. It has helped me make connections with living relatives that i didn’t know I had and meet new and interesting (and interested) people. That’s why I blog.

  2. My response to the “why I blog” question is on my blog at http://www.cassmob.wordpress.com.

    Like you I add some non-genealogy to leaven the mix: I live in Darwin (in the Top End of Australia) where President Obama visited last week. I like to occasionally share my experiences in this very unusual place with magnificent scenery.

  3. I fall into that hobbyist genealogist category. I started a blog for two reasons mostly.
    1. No one else in my family had ever done research so every time I found something interesting, it’s usually complete news to everyone. I would send emails out and that started to become very time consuming. I began compiling all my emails and thought, why not write a blog! This way everyone can go to the blog when they want and I can put it out there as time permits.
    2. Like your first reason, blogging is a great way to network with other genealogists of varying skills and focus areas.
    I like how you include in your blog other aspects of professional genealogy, as you mentioned in #3. It’s an interesting perspective.

  4. I heartily agree with your three points, Michael, and I’ve thought about my reasons for blogging not only as a way to jump-start my blog (which I did six months ago) but as a tool to keep refocusing on my purposes as I blog. I also use my blog as a tool to help me organize the material family members are giving or loaning me in the earnest hope that “someone would get this out there.” And that is my bottom line: I do want to memorialize the people who made me what I am, whom I may not have even met but who are part of my roots. I owe them a lot. The least I can do is get to know them. Beyond that, I hope to allow others to make their acquaintance, too.

    I guess the only thing about what you said that I hope you’d reconsider is the final comment on your third point (questioning why one should look outside their own community for information and guidance). Sometimes a closed community can become too insular. Learning to apply similar circumstances and illustrations from other disciplines to one’s own sometimes leads to breakthroughs, discoveries and other instances of creativity, for which I’m grateful. A breath of fresh air can be an invigorating inspiration.

  5. Writing a blog is a way to share the many research projects that I have done for others and my own family. My clients sign a release and review what I publish about their families. Often the work is published in a Genealogy Quarterly or Magazine, so this is just another avenue of getting the informaiton on the Internet. Most of the time I leave living people unnamed, but if someone contacts me I will help to make a connection. Like someone else mentioned there are family stories that I want to share and this is a great tool for doing that. I also like to write about topics of the moment and family experiences. Once in a while I share thoughts about how I do research and new research tools. Thank you for posting a very interesting topic.
    Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season to all fellow bloggers and blog readers.

  6. Michael: Thank you for your insightful post. My blog is Susans Genealogy Blog found at http://www.susansgenealogyblog.com. Like you, I’ve been researching and writing about family history from a young age. There are so many things I wish I knew when I was starting out, things I would do differently today, and I want to share those things with others to help them avoid those same mistakes. Also, I frequently discover new things or sources and love having a forum to share those. Through blogging I can reach more people that I would have never come in contact in any other way. It’s a wonderful tool. My readers continue to teach me, as well, with sources or things they do to solve a problem. It’s a way we can network no matter where we live.

  7. Pingback: Genealogy blogging for fun and profit « Planting the Seeds

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