A blogging “drought”

sad-151795_640I’ve been AWOL lately leaving my blog crying for attention. Unfortunately my mind is completely focused on getting our Darwin house sold and thinking about our proposed move interstate. The same level of obsessiveness I bring to family history has been brought to bear on housing matters.

Having to have everything squeaky clean and spic and span, for our open houses and random inspections, means the study has been cleared of most of my references books, the laptop frequently in its carry bag, and never has my computer desk looked so tidy for more than five minutes! It’s all a deterrent to the usual spread of papers, scribble pads etc that surround me as I research and write. I’ve never aimed to be a Domestic Goddess but that seems to be my current role…who knows I may get used to the decluttered, downsized, super-clean look…or not.

It’s not as if I don’t have lots of “bitty” jobs that I could do to get myself up to date before I tackle bigger tasks later in the year. These include:

  • Scanning more of my note books
  • Tagging and labelling all my photos and checking their in appropriate folders
  • Reviewing my computer folders overall
  • Reviewing long texts I’ve written on some of my families and annotating them with “to follow up” notes
  • Scanning more documents from my hard-copy folders of purchased archive documents or certificates
  • Follow up blog comments and leads
  • Searching new releases of newspapers from Find My Past and Trove
  • Writing shorter posts for my Irish blog

So really there’s no shortage of jobs I could do, is there? I just need to switch focus and get the laptop out of the bag as soon as each inspection is over. Maybe having this checklist here will help motivate me.

motivation 08-07-55-479_640

Congress 2015: Navel-gazing

Congress 2015Having reviewed some of the talks I attended at Congress 2015, it’s time to turn to a little personal navel-gazing. Decades of working as a senior administrator means I can’t help myself when it comes to assessing what went well and what wasn’t so successful. How else to improve one’s own performance in any sphere?

It’s always tricky when preparing papers for any seminar to know what the audience expects to hear as there’s inevitably a range of knowledge, experience and aspirations. Then there’s the slides,timing and not wanting to cause death by power-point. I gave two presentations at Congress – this is my own assessment of how they went. Others may well differ.

The marriage of family and local history

marriage local and family historyThere was so much more I’d have liked to include but I whittled away until I felt I had sufficient to tell the story sensibly. While the paper I submitted to the proceedings provided the nuts and bolts of the tools and techniques I’d used, I wanted the presentation on Murphy’s Creek to illustrate how these might come together to tell the story of a place through the marriage of local and family history.

I was pleased with how this talk went as it seemed to be well received by many in the audience. Certainly quite a few people came up to me that day, and later, to comment on what they’d got from it. It was also a pleasure to meet two people from towns near Murphy’s Creek.

The downside was that my little sound snippet on the image of an old barn (the property of Mr Horrocks, mentioned in the extract) refused to work even though it had been fine when I’d tested it multiple times at home…of course.

I have included it here: 

You can hear Annie talking to local historian Cameron about the social life in Murphy’s Creek in the early 20th century.

Here too is a graphic which I decided to exclude because (1) it wasn’t necessary and (2) it was too busy. Thanks to Alex from Family Tree Frog blog who introduced me to the mind-mapping tool, Coggle. You never know, someone might find the framework useful.


Harness the power of blogging for your One Place Study (OPS).

Grassroots research revolution

A grassroots research revolution is taking place to change the history of ordinary people. Image from Shutterstock.com

This topic suffered a little from confusion over its title in each program (online, app, printed) .…despite the convenor’s best attempts to sort it out. My fault for not noticing sooner and my apologies to those who thought they were getting a talk about blogging per se. Hopefully the paper in the proceedings will make it clearer.

My retrospective assessment is that I hadn’t achieved the depth I’d have liked with this presentation. Perhaps in this case I’d whittled and edited too much. Again the intention was to demonstrate how blogging could be used for a one place study, or indeed your own research. I wanted to highlight the issues I’d encountered in this type of blog – mainly time, and ambivalence about which blog to use. I hope those with an interest in the topic will explore the different styles used by the other OPS blogs I mentioned as well. In retrospect I could also have added some slides showing some of the stories on my two OPS blogs.

Those who are keen can look at my OPS blogs here: East Clare Emigrants and From Dorfprozelten to Australia

Travelling in our time machine. Image from Shutterstock.com

Travelling in our time machine. Image from Shutterstock.com

Although speakers had a target time of 35 minutes for each presentation, leaving time for questions, I was surprised to finish this talk in 30 minutes. The upside is that it left time for lots of Q&A to involve the audience. Nick Reddan’s question of “why blog, not publish a book?” was pertinent…my response: depends on the project and what you want to achieve. I was really pleased to see the lively dynamic in the Q&A session which lasted 15 minutes and also allowed my geneablogger mates to offer their five bob’s worth too ….thanks genimates! Twitter tells me my quotable quote was “bloggers are part of a gang“…in a good way of course since we support and encourage each other.

The technology was a little frustrating – a problem shared by others – with the screens so far forward and the remote forward-back buttons in different places in the different rooms. I also learned not to wear an outfit with a cowl neckline…something to add to Paul Milner’s “don’t” list.

Thanks to everyone who attended and who offered questions or opinions on what I’d said.

My two papers and the slides are now on this blog under the Presentations tab. 

I’ve also added the (different) papers and slides on the East Clare and Dorfprozelten emigrants which I presented at Congress 2006 in Darwin.

Please note: these papers and slides are copyrighted to me. I’d appreciate it if anyone wants to refer to them, that they acknowledge my work.

Back to Basics 1: First Quarter 2015

tiger's tailI nearly let myself get dragged along by the tiger’s tail again with all the enthusiasm Thomas MacEntee has generated around the geneaglobe with his Genealogy Do-Over (GDO) Project.

The GDO Facebook site has been abuzz with ideas, strategies and new software suggestions. Anyone with genealogy interests can join in – you just need to ask to join the group. I’m certainly going to use some of these suggestions along with Thomas’s GDO activities.

However, as I said on my blogiversary post, I also want to go about things a slightly different way. Further reflection made me realise that some of my planned activities need to be deferred until April as they don’t fit with my commitments and priorities this quarter.family-history-back-to-basics

So MY GOALS for January to March 2015 will be:


I’ve had my autosomal test done quite a while ago and Mum gave permission for hers in 2014. My goal from testing was to learn more about my problem Irish ancestors: the McSherry/Sherry/McSharry family (northern Ireland?), the Gavins and Murphys (Kildare & Wicklow), the Furlongs (Offaly) and Callaghans (Wexford).

Recently there have been close cousin DNA matches, which certainly helps triangulate the data. However, I still feel I’m wandering in the forest with Red Riding Hood, trying to identify how to take my matches further. It may be scientifically true that we are cousins, but I want to know in which line! Not to mention the wild-card that has two cousins on my mother’s side also matching my husband’s DNA….now that’s tricky!

Objective: I’ve pencilled in lots of DNA presentations at the combined Roots Tech/FGS conferences Salt Lake City in February 2015, so I’m hoping that after that I’ll be able to move forward more accurately, and confidently.


There’s lots of learning opportunities ahead for me with RootsTech and FGS then only a month later is the Aussie version of FGS with Congress 2015. There’s going to be lots of new speakers to listen to, genimates to meet, and information and stories to swap, as well as research opportunities.

En route to Salt Lake I’ll be taking a couple of days to pop up to Toowoomba and Murphys Creek for just a little more research about the place where the Kunkel family settled.Revisit record revise

In Salt Lake, pre-conferences, I’ll be focusing on the books section of the Family History Library. I’ve been in the habit of hiring in microfilms for many years, and I can continue to do that any time. What I can’t do in Australia is read any of the books that are in the library. Helen Smith has posted an excellent article on how to approach your research at the FH Library.

In Canberra, for Congress 2015, I’ve allowed some extra days and will be following up some archive sources for Duncan McCorkindale who helped build the nation’s capital, as well as visiting the War Memorial, National Library etc. I know there’s going to be far more to do than time will permit.

After Canberra I’m heading to Sydney for a few days but that’s mainly a holiday event to celebrate our anniversary. If something pressing comes up I may sneak out to Kingswood but will try to stick with the living not the dead. (I’m sure himself will be pleased, and amazed, to hear this!)


Congress 2015Blogging: As you know I’m an official Congress blogger, along with Jill Ball (Geniaus) and Shauna Hicks. We still have some exciting speaker interviews to bring you, and during Congress we’ll also be blogging about what we’re seeing, learning, and doing.

Presentations: I am doing two presentations at Congress and both papers have already been submitted to the conference organisers. However I also have the Powerpoint slides, as well as my on-the-day content, ahead of me. I really want to get these away before heading off to Salt Lake in February.


Family Historian 6: I’ve downloaded the update to version 6, and will be trying to learn a little more about it so I can pick Jill’s brains while I’m in Canberra.

Evidentia has been getting lots of kudos on the GDO Facebook page so I downloaded it and will give it a whirl.

Folder Marker is a program which lets you colour code your computer folders. I hadn’t known about it before but thanks to the FB poster who mentioned it, I’ve downloaded it and will see what I think and whether it helps.


BAck to Basics flow diagramI am still ambivalent about how much data I want to store in a genie program (Family Historian) vs a Narrative document/blog posts.

Blogging suits my preference for narrative family history and also lets me tell stories of the families for whom I have no plans of writing a published family history or of updating my finds on the Kunkel family. I write my blog posts in Word initially then cut and paste. A simple change I’ll make is to save the file with a surname leader, and save to that family’s folder.

In my hard-copy files I sort by family (where I’m not inundated in paper) and by generation (when I have heaps of info, eg the Kunkels). Within this I sort by “topic” or theme eg legal matters, petitions, certificates, church, military. That’s how my brain works, so I’m happy with that system.

Blogging has given me a community of like-minded friends who are supportive and interested. Unfortunately in recent months I’ve been a poor genie-friend myself and not supported others nearly well enough. Time to go back to commenting more.

Outcome 1: If I get to the end of 2015 with my electronic files in better, more systematic order, and tagged, I’ll be happy.

Outcome 2: Meanwhile there’s going to be a whole lot of scanning going on. Plus I plan to get back to commenting on blog posts.

Outcome 3: I have a suite of oral histories about Murphy’s Creek that I want to transcribe and also digitise. This is a project which will occur across 2015.


Another GDO Facebook person, Lynn, linked this story which suggests ways to manage our data. I like the idea that our initial research should be by surname rather than with a focus on families as entities, and I particularly empathised with the content. When I started all those years ago, pre-personal computers, I kept my research findings on A4 paper by person’s name and didn’t collate into families until I’d established the links. Whether it’s a natural style for me, or just habit I don’t know.


Lots of family events coming up in the next few months, as always, means this quarter is a busy one every year. On top of that retirement is looming for my other half (I’ve been retired for a couple of years), plus downsizing and packing up an inordinate amount of “stuff”.


Over the weeks and months, I’ll be reporting in on what I’m achieving and where I’ve gone astray. Thoughts, tips and support will be much appreciated. Like Geniaus I won’t be completely foregoing tangential genealogy – after all, that early morning inspiration may be an ancestor whispering in my ear.

How are you going with your 2015 planning?

5th Blogiversary: Reflections and Goals

fifth birthday candlesIt’s hard to believe, but today is this blog’s 5th anniversary.  Perhaps it’s why I’ve been feeling something of a five-year itch with it.  Over recent months, in a scattered way, I’ve been reflecting on where I’m at with both my research and blogging. My prevailing sense has been that my blogs, and my research, have got away from me – another way to say I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, despite chewing furiously.

tiger's tailWhen I bought a large mobile whiteboard about a year ago, I wrote at the top “Beware of the tiger’s tail”. What I meant by that, was to be strategic in my blogging rather than catching hold of the tiger’s tail and having it drag me along willy-nilly. Sure, I’ve written lots of stories relevant to my research but I’m equally sure I’ve not been strategic in my approach. I’ve been tempted to take myself off to Kakadu for a couple of days sans technology and take the chance to step back and decide what’s important to my family history research, my blog and what I want to achieve in the future.

So where do I go from here…other than Kakadu?


In the past my practice has been to write up my family history in narrative form – partly because I started in the pre-computer age, and partly because it suited my style, following an example demonstrated by two academic researchers I met.

Genealogy programs tend to make me feel claustrophobic and for a long time I felt that the Australian program, Relatively Yours, solved my needs best. However the time has come to jump ship and make the move to another program, probably Family Historian. I definitely want one that permits more than a restrictive view of what constitutes “family”. After all I’m interested in my ancestors’ broad life experiences, not just the hatches, matches and despatches. I want to know the nuances of their lives, the place, siblings, neighbours and former neighbours etc as they so often break down brick walls.Revisit record revise

I have published my Kunkel family history but with so much coming online, especially via Trove, there are always new additions. Similarly I have unpublished narratives for several of my other lines: McCorkindale, Melvin, Gavin.

Project: Transfer my RY data to Family Historian. Because of the particular aspect of Relatively Yours I don’t find the gedcom works as well as it might.

Project: Prepare a spreadsheet which lets me check which certificates and records I’ve explored, hold or am still missing. Work on timelines for my tricky ancestors.


A couple of months ago I wrote a post for the Worldwide Genealogy blog called My Three Rs of Genealogy Research: Review, Record, Revise. It certainly seems pertinent within this context.

family-history-back-to-basicsOverall I feel my genealogy (the structure of who’s who) is accurate: I’m a Doubting Thomas and will worry at something like a bone until I find the answer. If it’s not certain, then I will only add it as an hypothesis in my narrative, clearly stated as such…another advantage of the narrative model.

A month or so ago I added this note to my whiteboard as I wrestled with the “where to from here” question: Back to Basics.

Project: Review my many notes in over 50 notebooks from archive and library visits, LDS microfilms etc (and continue to digitise them). Incorporate the information into my narratives and genealogy program. I will also focus on whether my assumptions have been correct or whether I need more data.


red-do-over-button - smallThomas MacEntee’s new Genealogy Do-Over Program is opportunely timed for me, as I think it will be complementary to what I’m trying to do here. However, I won’t be packing away my 28 years of research as I don’t think I need to…after all my data doesn’t come from online trees or other’s research. In (almost?) every case I’ve started with the basics and gone from there.

However, I will be going back to revisit my basics as mentioned above, and putting the research microscope over the conclusions I’ve reached, the gaps in my research, and where I can pursue further information. In short, be more strategic. I’m confident there’ll be lots of tips in the Genealogy Do-Over Program that will help me with what I want to achieve.

Project: Follow along with the Geneabloggers’ Genealogy Do-Over Program and implement strategies as appropriate.


I’m expecting 2015 to be a big year for the Cassmob clan as a lot is planned. Hopefully I’ll be able to tackle these tasks along with the family goals.

BAck to Basics flow diagramMy over-arching goals:

Be Strategic 

Back to Basics

Reflect, Review, Revise and Record.

There are also other decisions to be made about my Dorfprozelten blog, which has been languishing unattended, and my East Clare Emigrants blog.


starsAs this fifth year draws to a close I’d like to thank you all for reading. Blogging may have sometimes taken me off-track research but it’s given me a wonderful world-wide community of friends, some I’ve already met, and some I hope to meet at Roots Tech and the FGS Conference in February.

Thanks so much for reading my blog posts, commenting and being supportive!! You’re all stars!

One Lovely Blog: Paying it Forward

one-lovely-blogI mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’d been nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by Deb from A Pocket Full of Family Memories, and Alona from Lone Tester. While I’ve been away I’ve again been awarded the blog by Niki Marie of My People in History and Helen Smith from who kindly mentioned my 2012 Beyond the Internet series. It’s such a privilege when readers enjoy what we’ve written and think of us when awards are being handed out. Thank you to Deb, Alona, Niki Marie and Helen!

In my previous response I alluded to a long discussion that had gone on some years ago and which I’d had on my blog tabs until recently regarding my approach to awards, and the rationale behind it. Instead of nominating other blogs I referred my readers to the list of some of the blogs I like to read (I have hundreds in my Feedly reader).

In retrospect this seemed a bit curmudgeonly so with these new nominations I decided to add a list of blogs I enjoy, some of which I’ve only just discovered; some I read all the time and love; and some which aren’t even about family history (gasp!). I know that at least some of these blogs don’t accept awards and so feel free to step off the award merry-go-round. However others may like to claim their award and carry it forward…entirely up to each of you.   I think that’s called having a dollar each way…For those who wish to participate here are the rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and link back to that blog.
  • Share seven things about yourself – see below.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire –or as many as you can think of!.
  • Contact your bloggers to let them know you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award

I hope you enjoy the reading opportunities – I think each of these blogs is One Lovely Blog irrespective of whether they take up the award. I hope you make some new discoveries among them.

By the Bremer (for those of us with Ipswich, Qld ancestry)

The Back Fence of Genealogy (Crissouli)

Bound for Australia

The Genealogy Bug (Sherie)

Family History Fun (Sue)

Library Currants

A Silver Voice from Ireland (Angela)

My Past Whispers (Lauren)

Tree of Me (Sharon)

Derek’s Den (Derek is new to family history, why not welcome him)

Essex Voices Past (Kate)

Wrote by Rote (Arlee of A to Z Challenge fame writes about memoirs)

Destination Unknown (fabulous travel photos by Kellie)

Honest History

Becoming Prue (Prue)

Stepping out of Pain

On a Flesh and Bone Foundation (Jennifer)

Shaking the Tree

Deb Gould

In the Footsteps of My Ancestors (Tanya)

The Empire Called and I Answered (Lenore)(Do explore the list of volunteers from Essington and Flemington)

Happy Reading!

Down Under’s Rockstar Genealogists 2014

Rock-StarIt’s been an exciting genea-jigging time for me lately. First up my blog appeared in the Inside History Top 50 blogs for 2014. Thanks Inside History, and Geniaus, who does the complex comparison between all the blogs…heaven knows how many she has on her list.

Then the voting on John Reid’s Rockstar Genealogist 2014 was completed and I found that my readers had voted me into 5th place for the Australia/New Zealand regional “honours”. Gold Star Rockstar was Shauna Hicks, well known to Aussie genies, and coordinator par excellence of Australian Family History Month. Silver Star performer was Judy Webster who is devotedly followed by all Queensland genealogists for her wealth of knowledge of Queensland archival sources and her indexes of some records, as well as being the initiator of the Kiva Genealogists for Families Team. No surprise either that Bronze Medallist was Jill Ball aka Geniaus, convenor of hangouts, Aussie techno-expert, blogger and blog-coordinator extraordinaire.geneajig_edited-2

Places 4 to 10 were as follows:

  1. Chris Paton (UK)
    5. Pauleen Cass (Aus)
    6. Thomas MacEntee (US)
    7. Dick Eastman (US)
    8. Cyndi Ingle (US)
    8. Sharn White (Aus)
    10. Nick Barratt (UK)
    10. Kirsty Gray (UK)
    10. Pat Richley-Erickson (DearMyrtle)(US)

I’ve been fortunate enough to hear many of these people in real life or hangouts, and very pleased to see some of my good geni-mates on the list. Last year my #5 place was overtaken by the bombing and hijacking events at Westgate Mall when we were staying nearby at our daughter’s place in Nairobi. So this year I thought I should celebrate a little…especially after my daughters gave me heaps for having to find out on Facebook <smile>.champagne

The downside of these sorts of lists is that there are so many great genealogists out there who are quiet achievers but definitely rockstars, and I’m proud to call many of them my friends as well as blogging colleagues. They volunteer, index, blog, coordinate facebook groups, initiate blogging themes etc. Without them we’d all be poorer so here’s a toast to all our genimates.

Thanks John Reid of Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections blog for hosting this rocking event.

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).


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?


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?