My blog is entitled The Spiraling Chains. I publish it simultaneously on my two family history sites: http://kowalski-bellan.weebly.com/the-spiraling-chains.html
2.) Do you have a wonderful "Cousin Bait" blog story?
I do not have any particularly interesting cousin bait stories, but creating my websites and the blog has put me in touch with many of my and my husband's close and distant cousins. It is wonderful to get an email from a distant cousin who tells me how he/she found the website (with all the family documents) and has learned so much about her roots just from some of the research I've done.
3.) Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging?
I did not originally intend to create a genealogy blog. The main purpose for creating my websites was to have a platform on which I could upload all of the family history records, photos, and documents in an organized manner, and so that all of my and my husband's family members could have easy access to their family's histories. I was always aware that Weebly offered a blogging platform, and I decided to start one after thinking about it on a long car ride home to visit my parents (about five hours away.) I made an outline of potential blog post topics to start me off and it just blossomed from there. I really did not start reading other people's blogs until I started mine.
4.) How did you decide on your blog's title?
I decided to entitle my blog The Spiraling Chains after reading a quotation by magazine editor and author, Shirley Abbott:
"We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies."
We are a product both of our ancestors' teachings, choices, and memories, AND their physical DNA. (With me being a scientist, I really like the poetic description of DNA as 'spiraling chains.')
5.) Do you ever blog from mobile devices? What are they?
I've yet to post a blog post from my iPhone or iPad. I do occasionally write and post from my laptop, but the vast majority of work I do on my blog and website is from my desktop computer.
6.) How do you let others know when you have published a new post?
I post the direct link to the new blog post on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
7.) How long have you been blogging?
I started my blog in July 2012, so only a little over a year. Feels like it has been longer, though.
8.) What widgets or elements do you consider essential on a genealogy blog?
Definitely an RSS feed, and at least an email address so that readers can get in touch with the author. A comment section for each post is great for getting discussions going. My blog sidebar has sections where past posts are arranged chronologically by month AND by categories that I have created. If I want to see what I have written about a particular surname or type of record, I click that category and there they all are. (This is really helps ME find past posts as much as other readers.)
9.) What is the purpose of your blog? Who is your intended audience?
My main purpose is to just tell the stories of my and my husband's families through old photos and documents. Hence, my primary audience is our immediate and extended family members, including distant cousins. Sometimes, if I find a particular resource or database that has been helpful in my research, I will compose a post that is directed more towards the family history researcher.
10.) Which of your posts are you particularly proud of?
My favorite post that I have written is actually not about any one particular family member or tree branch. I wrote this editorial, entitled I AM a Daughter of the American Revolution, as my essay against lineage societies, which I feel can cause divisions in the genealogical community.
11.) How do you keep up with your blog reading?
I don't, and saying that saddens me to a degree, because I have discovered so many wonderful and informative genealogy blogs that I would love to read every day. I make sure their RSS feeds are in my Feedly and try to sneak peaks every now and then, usually during those rare moments when the kids are playing nicely (ha!) or when I'm waiting for my daughter to finish her gymnastics class.
12.) What platform do you use for publishing your blog?
13.) What new features would you like to see in your blogging software?
Weebly allows me to publish my blog posts on Facebook and Twitter directly from their site, but I would like to see the same integration for Google+. I would also like more font choices for writing posts, but that's purely a cosmetic wish.
14.) Which of your posts has been the most popular with readers?
My maternal grandfather went to high school with track legend, Jesse Owens, and his yearbook has Jesse's signature in it. I wrote a post entitled, Jesse Owens and...My Grandpa. Although the post really doesn't talk a whole lot about my grandfather's life, I can understand why people think it's cool. And it is.
15.) Are you a sole blogger or do you contribute to a shared blog?
16.) How do you compose your blog posts?
I usually just write my posts directly on Weebly's blog post editor. Occasionally, I will write down some notes prior to beginning a post, so I don't forget my train of thought. I do try to include pictures, maps, and images of documents in my posts whenever I can to keep it interesting for the readers.
17.) Do you have any blogs that are not genealogy related?
18.) Have you listed your blog at Geneabloggers?
19.) Which resources have helped you with your blogging?
The Geneabloggers daily blogging prompts have given me many ideas with regards to what to write about. Because I try to make my blog posts very visual, I go to Wikimedia Commons a lot to find images under creative commons licenses that I can share, and I also use screenshots from Google Maps and Google Streetview, especially when blogging about a particular place.
20.) What advice would you give to a new Geneablogger?
There is no right or wrong way to run a genealogy blog. Let your blog be organic, meaning let it just see where it takes you on your family history journey. You may not know anything about your family beyond your grandparents, but just put what you DO know out there. There could be someone out there combing the Internet who has the missing puzzle pieces to your family's story. And you never know who YOU could possibly help with the information you know.
Final thought: I think a lot of people are scared off by blogging because it involves writing, and we all think we are poor writers. Like many people, I did not like writing assignments in school. I always attributed my hatred of writing to the fact that I enjoyed science and math more and I was just more of a left-brained individual. It turns out that I DO like writing when the subjects are those that I am interested in, AND that I'm pretty good at expressing thoughts and telling stories through words. And most people ARE when it is THEIR memories and THEIR family members who they are writing about.
©2013, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder