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Should You Launch Your Own Family History Blog?

Whether you’re brand new to genealogy of you’ve been researching your family tree for years, you might have considered launching a family history blog. But should you?

A family history blog is a personal blog that details your own personal history. While this is a broader genealogy blog with tips and resources too, I have a section of Climb Your Family Tree which details some of my own findings as an example.

There are some good reasons to launch a family history blog. For example:

  • It’s an easy way to share your findings and family tree with other members of the family. They can see updates as soon as you post them.
  • Your family history blog can give you a good place to organize your research and what you discover. Just use your blog’s category structure to separate things like records you’ve found from notes on where further research is needed.
  • A blog can be easier to manage than a handwritten collection of records or even some family tree software.

On the other hand, there are some downsides you should consider. For example:

  • Family trees can include pretty private information, and family members might not appreciate you posting theirs (or even details about their parents or grandparents who might be deceased).
  • While you can sometimes grant access to your family tree online to family members through family history software and websites, they’ll have to subscribe to your blog to get updates on a family history blog. That means they may see updates about branches of your tree they don’t care about instead of being able to easily browse to the branch they’re included in.
  • A blog can be an added expense if you want your own domain name and quality hosting.

This isn’t a case to create a family history blog or avoid creating one. That’s a decision you need to make for yourself. These are just some things to consider when making that decision. If you do decide to launch a personal family history blog though, you should also consider following these tips:

  • Never post personal information about anyone living.
  • Try to make the blog private if you want it accessible only by family members. You can usually password-protect an entire blog or individual posts (sometimes with the installation of blog plugins). This is what I do for my personal family site where we shared wedding information and will share photos and updates about future children.
  • Try to include a basic family tree somewhere on the blog for people who want an at-a-glance view without having to dig through your blog archives.
  • Come up with a sensible category structure before you start blogging. A poor category structure makes it difficult to navigate your blog, and changing it later can cause old links (such as in emails between family members) to stop working.

Do you have a family history blog? What other tips would you give to someone considering the same? What are the best and worst things about managing that type of blog? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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