As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the family history community is mostly a supportive and encouraging bunch. Along with my writing community, it’s a refreshing change to much of the current trolling and negativity that exists in some corners of social media.
Along with a presence on social media, a growing number of family historians keep track of their own research and share stories of their ancestors through a personal blog. There are also individuals and organisations who compile and explain resources in a blog format to help others uncover traces of their family’s past.
Here are just a few blogs that I’ve found particularly helpful:
If you want to connect to others who might be researching in a similar area to you, then you really can’t go past Geneabloggers. While Geneabloggers has its own blog, and a section for links, the most useful part of the site is the searchable database of other blogs, which essentially connects you to a whole world of others who are blogging about family history. Some links are unfortunately broken, but there’s still an extensive network of bloggers for you to discover.
Geneabloggers can seem a tad overwhelming when you first check it out – but it may very well be the place you find someone researching in a similar part of the country or the world – or perhaps even a direct link. To start, simply type in a name or place into the search bar (after clicking on the ‘Our Member’ section), as shown in the screen capture below.
Lonetester is curated by Alona, who lives in South Australia. Not only has she created a huge, downloadable database of Facebook pages and groups relevant to family history in Australia, but she blogs regularly on a range of useful and interesting topics relating to her own ancestry as well as about broader family history research.
If you have ancestors who lived, worked or died on the Western Australian goldfields, then Moya Sharp’s blog, Outback Family History Blog, is the place to start. Moya finds interesting news articles and photos as well as background information and details about gravesites. The site also has a database, where you can search for family names and relevant towns.
Amy Johnson is a Certified Genealogist with more than 20 years of experience helping people discover their family’s history. She posts regularly on her blog about numerous topics of interest to family historians.
Although this blog is based in the United States, many of Amy’s posts, such as ‘Finding Hidden Records on Family Search’, ‘What Kind of Online Family Tree is Right for You’ and ‘The Biggest Mistake in Reading Old Handwriting – and How to Avoid It’, are relevant wherever you are.
Amy also runs ’52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’, which is a series of weekly prompts to get you thinking about an ancestor and share something about them. It’s free to sign up, and you can jump in at any time.
As part of the National Library of Australia, we have access to the wonderful database that is Trove, which also has its own blog. The Trove blog contains a series called ‘Trove’s Treasures’. There are other posts such as ‘Digital Tools for Big Research’ which will have a broad appeal, as well as more locality specific posts such as ‘Hunt for the Missing Mimag’, about the mining magazine for Mt Isa.
The State Library of Victoria has a blog dedicated to matter relating to family history. Some of its past posts include titles such as ‘Why can’t I find my ancestor’, ‘Index to Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages updated’ and ‘Digital Panoptican: Tracing London Convicts in Britain and Australia: 1780 – 1925’.
While the State Library of New South Wales doesn’t have a dedicated family history blog, it does allow you to search ‘family history’ as a category of its main blog. You’ll find a range of article about different topics related to searching for your ancestors, particularly about how to access and search various archives.
Coraweb would probably be considered a database rather than a blog, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Cora Num is a fellow of the Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra and she has worked as a professional family history researcher and lecturer for over thirty years. Over that time, she has compiled, and continues to update, an extensive list of links to other online sources, particularly related to Australia, but also the UK and Ceylon.
Stepping Stones Genealogy is run by Kate, who says she started the site because:
“I remember what it was like when I was first starting out on my genealogy journey. Not knowing where to start, not knowing what resources were available, or even which resources would be useful to my search.”
She continues by saying:
“… though there are plenty of Facebook groups where people will do the research for you, I want to teach people how to do the research themselves, because for me, the looking and finding is the most rewarding part of genealogy.”
Kate’s answer was to create a series of 14 lessons dealing with some of the basics of family history research, all of which are free and easily accessible on her blog.
If you want to find other Australians who are blogging about family history, then you can also check out the Australian History Bloggers Facebook page. Included on its page is a list of Australian bloggers writing about family history. Perhaps you’ll be motivated to start your own blog as an outlet for the stories for your ancestors, and add your name to the list!
Over to You
Although there are numerous other individual blogs I could mention, this is probably enough to get you started – where will you begin your search?
Is there a blog you think is particularly worthy of mention – let me know and I’ll add them to my list.