Inside History’s Top 50 blogs 2014

Inside-History-magazine-Issue-24-CoverThe digital version of Inside History for September-October 2014 has been available since late last week. Subscribers are receiving their hard-copy versions in the mail. The cat is no longer in the proverbial bag so can I say how thrilled I am to find myself on the Top 50 Blogs list for 2014? There was certainly some geneajigging going on!

Every year there is an increased number of excellent genealogy blogs online, and Down Under is particularly well represented. I also know Geniaus aka Jill Ball and Inside History have a rigorous set of selection criteria for inclusion. All the more reason to be delighted, and privileged, to once again be in the list.

Extract from Inside History magazine, Sept-Oct 2014, page 49.

Extract from Inside History magazine, Sept-Oct 2014, page 49.

And the icing on the cake is that this blog, Family History across the Seas, has achieved the Inside History Hall of Fame, having been on the Top 50 list for three years, along with the blogs from Kintalk, Family Search, and the Public Records Office of Victoria.

The list includes many of my “old” faves, but has also introduced me to some blogs I didn’t know about but which have now been added to my Feedly list. I’m very pleased to see the Irish getting a Guernsey with Irish Genealogy News (Claire Santry) and also Lost Medals Australia of which I’ve been a fan for ages…especially pertinent as we honour the men who served in WWI.

wonderCongratulations to my genimates Kerryn at Ancestor Chasing, Anne at Anne’s Family History, Shauna at Diary of an Australian Genealogist, Alex at Family Tree Frog, the esteemed Geniaus herself, Kylie at Kylie’s Genes, Alona at Lonetester HQ, Sharon at The Tree of Me, Sharon at Strong Foundations, and the international collaboration at Worldwide Genealogy started by Julie Goucher.

Congratulations also to all the other individual bloggers and organisations on the list. A special thanks to Jill Ball and Inside History. If you don’t already read Inside History it’s well worth subscribing either digitally or as a hard-copy. I’ve particular enjoyed this month’s articles on DNA and University Archives, one I’m struggling to understand, and the other I’ve been a fan of for many years. Inside History also has a great blog you can follow.

What a great lot of reading we have ahead of us, both of the magazine and also all the blogs.

 

One Lovely Blog Award

one-lovely-blogThe other day I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Alona from Lone Tester and also Deb from A Pocket Full of Memories. It’s always such a privilege and delight when one’s blogging mates endorse your work. Blogging in some respects is a solitary activity – we research privately (mostly), we contemplate and review what we’ve discovered, and then we put fingers to keyboard to try to bring our stories to life. Comments from our readers and their support encourage us in our solitary pursuits and bring on a warm genea-glow.

So, in no way do I want to diminish my thanks to Deb and Alona and others who’ve passed on awards in the past. I am truly pleased that they’ve thought of me and that they enjoy my blog.

However what I’ve found in the past is that the awards tend to circulate among a small pool of people perhaps ignoring others, often newbies, who could do with some reader support. After long discussions and some angst back a few years ago, I decided I would gratefully accept the awards but not pass them on in the form intended. Instead I would do my best to visit other blogs and make comments as I think this passes on the love, paying it forward. You can see some of the blogs I follow on my “Blog Links” page under Resources. I read them via Feedly, though sometimes I get waylaid by real life.

In the spirit of the award I’ll list the seven things about me you may not know unless you’ve been reading my blog for ages.

  1. I am so grateful to my best team supporter, Mr Cassmob. Where would I be without him? Besides which he always finds the graves I’m looking for <smile>.
  2. I’m addicted to family history, especially offline research in archives and libraries…it’s kept me sane, and crazy, for nearly 4 decades now.
  3. I love cats, especially my gorgeous furry person Springer.
  4. I’m addicted to travel as you’ve read on this blog and my Tropical Territory and Travel blog.
  5. I’m a true-maroon Queenslander even though I live in the Top End of the NT.
  6. A world without books is unimaginable to me…I’m forever grateful to my Dad for passing his book-gene on to me.
  7. Visiting Open Gardens each Dry Season has been a great pleasure so it’s sad that this has been the last year it will be held.
  8. Surely it almost goes without saying that I love my family because they are my motivation for writing the stories of my families, past and present.

If you’re interested you can read what I wrote about my Approach to Awards. Until I did my blog make-over a few weeks ago  had it on my menu bar and took it off…Murphy at work again!

Thanks again Deb and Alona!

World War I and the Wellington Quarries

It’s so long since I wrote my monthly post for the Worldwide Genealogy blog that I’m a day late…oops. This blog is a great international collaboration initiated by Julie Goucher from Anglers Rest and participated in by family historians from around the world. If you haven’t ever visited it, why not do so, as it’s got such interesting and varied stories. And while you’re there, sign up for future posts or add it to your RSS feeds.

I decided to make this month’s topic the story of the Wellington Quarries in Arras, northern France. The Kiwi tunnellers were heavily involved with this, so I’m hoping this will be of Trans-Tasman interest.

 

Spring cleaning my blogs

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jacqueline_Logan_-_Make-up_Instructions_3.jpg Image from Wikimedia Commons.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Jacqueline_Logan_-_Make-up_Instructions_3.jpg Image from Wikimedia Commons.

 

The other day Luvvie Alex from Family Tree Frog suggested we tweak our blog this weekend.  Geniaus also thinks it’s time for a mini-makeover. Don’t they know it’s not spring yet? So why are we spring-cleaning our blogs?

At first it all seemed too anxiety-provoking but I’ve been tweaking away today. It’s a bit like going to the day spa…you feel so good you think it will be Elle Macpherson you see in the mirror, but nada, not so.

Some months ago I removed all the old awards and many of the themes and memes images. I don’t need them – they show in my “memes and themes” category anyway.

What’s survived the cull?

  • Kiva Genealogists for Families link – because it’s important!
  • The Translation icon so my posts can be read by non-English readers especially anyone interested in my German research
  • The link to my own Beyond the Internet series from 2012
  • The blogroll with links to my other blogs
  • The much appreciated Inside History “Top 50” badges from 2012 and 2013 and the Family History Magazine badge 2012
  • My comments image because the exchange between reader and writer is part of the fun
  • The Geneabloggers badge – go team!
  • The flag image as a ready-reckoner for me to see where my readers originate

What’s changed?

  • removed the tag cloud on this blog because it was cluttered but left it on my East Clare blog so people can easily see names and places.
  • changed the Categories from a list to a drop-down menu to declutter the space
  • the search facility on the side bar is gone – there’s already a search option on the top right
  • removed the blog links icon as I have a page for these links anyway
  • resized some of the images so they take up less space and for consistency
  • cleaner social media buttons at the bottom of each post (thanks Geniaus for provoking me into finding what was under my nose!)
  • Drop down menu on my Resources tab for blog links, online and offline resources, and a link which gives all my Beyond the Internet topics
  • Resequenced the tabs on the pages menu (below the image).

Ambivalence

red question markThe main thing I’m ambivalent about is removing the break-down of categories. Will people even notice the option is there with the new drop-down box? What do you think?

Overall

Generally I’m happy with my blog theme. I previewed quite a few WP templates and none suited my purposes as well.

The images roll over randomly so it doesn’t get boring in that regard and I can always add more.

In the past I’ve changed the background to cleaner, easier to read colours.

The blog has lots of pages so since first posting this I’ve modified the resources to be a drop down menu. I’ve also managed to prioritise them differently so overall it looks less cluttered.

And, yes, my blog links need to be updated…so if you think I’ve forgotten you by mistake, please send me a comment.

Okay, deep breath! I’ll be brave and ask what you think of my mini-makeover?

Thinking about linking – thanks to Geniaus

Once again blogger extraordinaire, Jill aka Geniaus, has challenged us to think about our blogging practice, and especially the use of hyperlinks. I only read Jill’s post about hyperlinking a few days ago and I’ve been reflecting on my practice ever since.

So what are my strategies – always assuming I’m not rushing, or distracted, and forget.

Referencing other posts

If I mention something about another person’s post I’ll link the actual story, after all that story is their copyright property and I’m recommending it to the reader as something useful or interesting, or both, to read.

If it’s a comment about a blogger or website in general, I link to their overall blog page or website. What to do with an example as above? If I’m going to mention Geniaus closely followed by a specific reference which will take you to the same site, I don’t link twice….it seems repetitious, but in this case I’ve linked to the post, and to Jill’s Google+ page.

This is not unlike using footnotes in a written document, though these may still be necessary in some cases.

Copyright images

Sometimes I want the reader to be able to see an image I found but it’s copyrighted. One way to deal with this is to hyperlink to the page where I found it. A good example is the gravestones on the Australian Cemeteries Index pages, which refer to East Clare people I’m talking about in my posts.

Prior history

We all know our readers join us over time. Sometimes it’s worth referring to an earlier post which the reader may not have seen when it was published or have forgotten (just imagine!). Or you may have more than one blog and want to cross-refer to a story.

Vernacular expressions

I’m sure I’m as guilty as the next person of occasionally taking some phrases for granted, but I do try to link to the more peculiar ones. Of course Aussies grow up watching American and British TV programs so we understand a variety of expressions. But who would have thought that “boiled sweets” would have caused as much confusion as it did in Susan’s post about her father on her Family History Fun blog?

Places

Strangely I’m a little more ambivalent about this. Sometimes it’s useful to hyperlink if there’s a particular aspect of a place that could be clarified by the link eg Charters Tower’s mining history. In other cases I’m not sure it’s necessary. If I don’t know where Chicago is, or much about it, it may not affect how I appreciate Kristin’s family stories on Finding Eliza.

On the other hand, perhaps I should be linking to information about specific places in my East Clare blog – or get permission to use a map which shows East Clare and its key towns. I think I’ll use the relevant Clare Library page for the parish, eg O’Brien’s Bridge, as it lists all available resources on their site. Thank heavens I don’t have too many posts which need additions.

How do you think about linking in your blog posts?

Just cruisin’ – genealogy at sea

Some of you may have missed the post I submitted (late) as my February contribution to the new Worldwide Genealogy blog. It offered my perspective on the pros and cons of genealogy cruising.

You can read it here or find “genealogy cruising” in the left hand sidebar.

While you’re over there visiting, why not have a look at the diverse posts being submitted by genealogists from all over the world. It’s great to have so many different stories and approaches all in one place. This innovation was the brainchild of Julie Goucher from Angler’s Rest.

A certain lack of wisdom?

I have launched yet another blog…not quite sure why when I can’t keep up with all those I have. However gearing up for all the One Place Study enthusiasms which will occur on the Unlock the Past Cruise next week, I thought I should get started.

As you know I’ve had an interest in the emigrants from East County Clare in Ireland for quite some time. I’d shelved them for a while but my ancestors are nudging me with discoveries and serendipity so it didn’t seem wise to ignore them.

The new blog is called East Clare Emigrants (click to migrate there), and hopefully will be on interest to anyone with east Clare ancestry, wherever their relatives settled. I’m thinking this would be an ideal opportunity for guest posts from those who “fit the bill” of East Clare roots but who may not have a blog of their own.

So that’s my Australia Day innovation for 2014.

By the way, the collation of all the Oz Day geneameme responses will be posted tomorrow. And later tonight I hope to complete my Sepia Saturday entry….whew, who said it was a holiday today!

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2013

Once again Jill aka GeniAus has posed another end-of-year geneameme for us. She thinks we’re too tough on ourselves and need to reflect on the positives we’ve achieved in 2013 rather than all the things we wished we’d accomplished. So here’s my response.

2013

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was – no new ones this year but I’ve learned a little more about some like when and how the Dorfprozelten emigrants left Bavaria…but not my George Kunkel (so unusual..not)

2.  A precious family photo I found was not for me, but for Prue from Becoming Prue when I posted a photo of Erle Victor Weis for Remembrance Day – it turned out he was Prue’s 1st cousin, twice removed…talk about coincidences! I also saw photos of some of the early Dorfprozelten descendants at the Zöller/Zeller reunion at Highfields. During my mother’s move mid-year I was given a prayer book which was a gift to my grandmother shortly before she emigrated.

3.  An ancestor’s grave I found was… no new ones this year. I do need to try to find where in Glasgow my great-grandfather Duncan McCorkindale is buried.

4.  An important vital record I found came from a blog reader who shared a brilliant resource he’d acquired in Ireland which I’d never seen despite several visits to local archives etc etc. Not precisely a vital record, but even better given its contextual value in the beginning of the Famine years and shortly after the parish records commence. I’m still waiting on some “copyright” clearances to see if I can disclose more about this wonderful document from Kilseily parish, County Clare. I am indebted to my reader, Morgan, for sharing it with me. Truly an Irish research pot of gold!

Image from Shutterstock.com

Image from Shutterstock.com

5.  A newly found family member who shared: a 4th cousin from my 3xgreat grandmother’s first marriage to Georg Ulrich. In 2012 I traced the family in the US census records, recently Tom commented on my blog and said “your history is part of my history which has been lost”. During last night’s hangout a few of those online mentioned how much pleasure it gave them when they helped someone. I’m so pleased that Tom and I have connected up across the miles. I just wish I could find my George Kunkel’s brother as well - Philip Joseph Kunkel (bapt 17 October 1840) who reputedly also went to “America” (any relatives out there? Anywhere?)

6.  A geneasurprise I received came from a blog reader who shared a brilliant resource he’d acquired in Ireland, yet I’d never unearthed. (See #4) I was over the moon and doing a family history happy jig.

7.   My 2013 blog posts that I was particularly proud of was the Fab Feb Photo Collage series invented by Julie Goucher (she’s a busy woman!) Not only did I enjoy sharing my own 7xUP series with the blogosphere but also rather enjoyed re-reading it myself last night <smile> I’ve also started writing up posts for Julie’s Book of Me series, though I’m rather behind with topics. I also completed the A to Z April challenge for the second time in 2013. This year it was a tour around Oz, with Aussie colloquialisms, which I posted to my Tropical Territory blog. It was a voyage of discovery for me too as I met other bloggers whose interests don’t even include family history – can you imagine?

8.   My 2013 blog posts that received a large number of hits or comments were the two I wrote when our lovely furry friend, Springer, disappeared back in March and then was restored to us on Anzac Day Eve. I was so thankful for the support my friends gave me. I also ventured into the the Sepia Saturday themes this year and got lots of support from fellow Sepians – what a great group they are!

9.  A new piece of software I “mastered” was Google hangouts and Win 8. I’m using Evernote but I wouldn’t like to say I’ve mastered it either.

10. A social media tool I “enjoyed” using for genealogy was Google Hangouts…slowly feeling more comfortable with it and the opportunity to chat with like-minded people around the world.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was the Geniaus Community Hangouts. A bit of a drought locally this year.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave in Darwin during Seniors Month on blogging. People went away clearer about its purpose but only a handful expressed a real on-going interest and one potential blogger. I am also thrilled to have been selected to present a few other papers but as yet they’re still not publicised.

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was: nada, but this blog did make the Inside History Top 50 again in 2013 – thanks Jill Ball and Inside History, another happy dance <smile>.

14. I taught a friend how to…<mind blank>…I shared lots of stuff and discoveries on the blog but person-to-person, does that count? Blogging friends certainly taught me lots over the year!

15. A genealogy history book that has already taught me something new is one of my Christmas presents (yes I’m already into it!), Sending Out Ireland’s Poor by Gerard Moran. I think it’s going to offer lots of learning.

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was the Anglican Archives in Brisbane (currently residing at Bowen Hills, not far from the Exhibition Grounds. A fantastic resource!

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Not the Same Sky by Evelyn Conlon. I was especially interested in the idea that the immigrants silenced thoughts, and mentions, of “home”. Why not read Carole Riley’s review?

18. It was exciting to meet County Clare Facebook coordinator extraordinaire, Chris Goopy, again for a lovely long chat in Brisbane. I’m also looking forward six weeks to when I meet some fellow fanatics genealogists, great bloggers and excellent presenters on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise in southern Australia.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was…well it was indirect but I unearthed lots of interesting family bits and pieces when I helped my mother move to a retirement home. Meeting an enthusiastic bunch of Zeller descendants at their reunion was also great fun, mitigated by the recent death of the man who’d done so much to bring them together, Paul Davis.

20. Another positive I would like to share is the growth in interest by the Dorfprozelten descendants, many of whom are beavering away at their own families; building networks; sharing a Zöller family reunion, and establishing a facebook group for the Dorfprozelten Descendants.

21. I’m thrilled to be one of the Official Bloggers for the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise, and look forward to sharing some of the excitement with you via my blog posts. Just imagine 245 enthusiasts in one place listening to great talks…woohoo!

This year was more about my living relatives: spending a holiday in Africa with two of our adult daughters, several trips to Brisbane including helping Mum move, and other family engagements. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the living take precedence over the long-gone ancestors.

I expect I’ll be doing a more critical review of my year before the year is out but thank you Jill, for encouraging us to be more affirmative in how we view what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months.

Happy 4th Blogiversary to me!

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my adventure into the blogosphere. It was a very tentative experiment at first, arising from my lack of knowledge of webpage design. Once I learned about the Geneabloggers community, I was no longer comparatively isolated in Australia’s Top End.

Image from Shutterstock.

Image from Shutterstock.

Little did I know how many doors blogging would open, how many wonderful people would visit my site, and how many fantastic friends I’d make along the way, many (most?) of whom I’ve never met. I’ve also discovered distant relatives, and fellow descendants from the homes of my ancestors.

My blog page on Dorfprozelten is the single biggest drawcard on the blog and has helped connect up different family members –sometimes I feel like a match-maker <smile>. It’s been so popular that I eventually opened another blog called From Dorfprozelten to Australia and also a facebook page for the Dorfprozelten Diaspora.

THANK YOU!!

I just want to say a very sincere thank you to all those 99,600+ visitors to my blog who’ve come to read one or more of my 553 posts. Thank you to my fellow geneabloggers who’ve provided so much support and encouragement along the way. Thank you also to the new family members I’ve met and those who share a common ancestry or place of origin with me.

presentTREATS

I have two books which I’m going to offer as blogiversary gifts. We’re downsizing our library and while these books are good second hand ones, they’re ones I can force myself to live without. Sadly they will only be able to be sent to the Australian contingent as my postage costs would be astronomical elsewhere. If you’d like to be in the draw, why not mention it when you comment and Mr Cassmob will do a random draw of the names on New Year’s Eve.

Scan to the bottom of the page to see which books they are.

GENEAMEME ALERT

And don’t forget to drop by later, as I’m brewing up another geneameme just in case you get bored after all the Christmas rush.

Curiosity killed the genealogist?

And a question to satisfy my curiosity, my ClustrMaps profile tells me there have been visits this morning and this afternoon to my blog from:

7:11 : Adelaide, AU; 6:59 : Vancouver, CA; 6:46 : Melbourne, AU; 5:37 : Baulkham Hills, AU; 5:17 : Sydney, AU; 4:58 : South Australia, AU; 4:42 : Turramurra, AU; 3:55 : Brisbane, AU; 3:38 : Mumbai, IN; 3:35: Caboolture, AU

12:25 : Los Angeles, California, US; 12:15 : Hebron, Connecticut, US; 12:08 : Adelaide, AU; 11:58 : United States, US; 11:46 : Brisbane, AU; 10:57 : Ashfield, AU; 10:19 : Castle Hill, AU; 10:16 : Eastwood, AU; 10:03 : Mountain View, California, US; 9:39 : Milton Keynes, GB

Were you one of them?

 DSC_0639

DSC_0636

The focus of this book is Sydney -so may be of great interest to a Sydneysider.

Monday Mentions and hangouts abound

 

The world is your family tree oyster with blogging. Edited image from Office Clip Art.

Share your discoveries on your blog.

Genealogy Down Under live discussions were launched by Geniaus’s in her inaugural Hangout on Air (we should have had a glass of champers Jill). And some related blog posts from Geniaus (Jill), Anglers Rest (Julie), and My Genealogy Adventures (Tanya)

You can also read about the new Society of One Place Studies and watch their first hangout.

Looking for Christmas ideas, or just wanting to let your family come to grips with their family tree, have a look at  Lone Tester’s (Alona) photographic family tree wall.

Western Districts Families blogger Merron, talks about how she’s been using Facebook to attract past and current residents of Hamilton, Victoria. A great idea if you have a particular interest in an area and want to promote it.

Looking for photography tips. How about this blog?

This is a link to a reconstruction of London as it was 400 years ago. Several bloggers mentioned this including British Genes which has the full story linked.

The InDepth Genealogist recommends MakeUseOf, which looks like a site I need to explore.

Whispering Gums on Jane Austen and Politics. Yes it is about literature but have you considered novels might add context to your family stories?

Genealogy’s Star, James Tanner, always offers a smorgasbord of food for thought: An Overview of Genealogy, Part 4. And what about those “I agree” statements we all click on? And importantly “the essence of genealogical research”. Or using “New technology to use historic maps”.  Or What is Research? “Comparing legal research with genealogical research”. My list of saved posts includes so many of Genealogy’s Star’s post. If you don’t already follow this blog add it to your “must read” list. James always gives us something to think about.

Marian’s Roots and Rambles offers advice to budding bloggers on choosing a blog name. I wonder how many of us considered all these points.

Do you have family across the ditch? Inside History reminds us of the wonderful Papers Past website for NZ (their equivalent of Trove). And another post from Inside History where SLNSW’s Margot Riley dates a family photo. See how it’s done. And for a touch of history interspersed with levity, they’ve also recommended “Girt, an unauthorised history of Australia” with its play on our national anthem. I am finding it very funny and tongue in cheek though the history may need some closer inspection.

And for those of us with Scottish ancestry, you may find Chris Paton’s post on pre-1841 census listings to be enlightening. This won’t give you the actual records but will ensure you know what’s available.

And my own addition to the above listing, why not check out the Historical Tax Rolls on ScotlandsPlaces. I found some interesting family snippets among these.