A. Blogs are like an online diary: a series of chronological entries or “posts.” This format makes them more informal and less comprehensive than what you’d find in, say, a published guide to German roots. But that doesn’t make blogs any less valuable.
“I love reading genealogy blogs because there are so many great writers out there who share their knowledge of history, geography, research resources, how-to tips and tricks, and all that tech-related stuff,” writes Tessa Keough in Scandia Musings & More. “Not to mention all those great family stories.”
Genealogy blog authors are a diverse group. Most, like Keough, are amateurs out to share their enthusiasm and findings with the world. They also might use their blogs as a research journal, a way to develop search strategies and a collaboration tool. Other bloggers are professionals who give free advice to help others and attract clients. Some blogs are based out of local institutions such as libraries.
A. First, take our “world tour of blogs” and check out those that interest you. As you’re browsing a blog, look for a blogroll—a list of other blogs the writer likes. For example, the blog we’ve listed for Argentina links to the Spanish-language blogs Genealogía Blog and Lo Nuevo en Genealogía.
The GeneaBloggers website, run by industry expert Thomas MacEntee, also can help you find blogs. From the home page, search Blogs by Type. MacEntee also recommends using Google Blogs. Enter genealogy or family history and the language, country or region. MacEntee advises typing search terms in your ancestral language: España instead of Spain, nacimientos instead of births. Finally, look for blogs on the websites of archives, libraries, and genealogical and historical societies, such as the Borders Family History Society blog.
You may find a blog dedicated to a specific province or town. For example, Paulstown History and Genealogy focuses on one Irish town; Thames, NZ Genealogy Resources, a city in New Zealand; and Annapolis Royal Heritage, a community in Nova Scotia.
A. Foreign-language blogs can be packed with firsthand knowledge of local sources and history. Some blogs have web translators embedded in their sites; all you have to do is click a link for English (or an American or British flag). If you don’t see a translator, paste the blog’s URL into a free web translator such as Google’s. The translation may be a bit rough. If you can’t glean the meaning but it seems important to your research, contact a genealogical society dealing with the area or look for someone who speaks the language.
Verify news and resources a blog reports on by following the links or instructions given, or running a Google search. If you want to know more about an image or historical information lacking a stated source (for example, the blogger’s own memory), politely request more information in a comment.
If your family lived in that blogger’s ancestral community within living memory, it may be possible to connect with neighbors who remember them. It’s worth posting a detailed question with your family’s name (including maiden names), address, occupations, known affiliations (such as a church or school) and when they left.