In Defense Of Genealogy Blogs

Well  I have to say it has been a most interesting week in the land of genealogy blogs with a big discussion as to their legitimacy and how useful they are especially for those new to the genealogy and family history fields.

For those new to the discussion here’s a brief recap:

1.  Paul Duxbury of Genmates runs a blog called Genealogy and Family History.  He made a rather controversial post entitled 5 Bad Genealogy Sources in which he maligned genealogy blogs with the broad and sweeping statment:

“. . .blogs are a good source of unreliable information simply because anyone who can type and use the internet can make a blog site especially with the ‘throwaway blogs’ which don’t involve even purchasing a domain name.”

2.  Part of my mission with Geneabloggers is to foster a community of genealogy and family history bloggers and to help promote their role within the genealogy community.  So when I see what I feel is misinformation posted about the role that genealogy blogs can play in the broader genealogy community, I have no qualms about discussing such a mission in comments and blog postings which I did here at Geneabloggers.

3.  I was not the only one that took exception to Mr. Duxbury’s post as you can see by the comments of my post.  In addition, you can see what others have said about this entire discussion here.

4.  Always looking to convert a difficult situation into a win for the geneablogger community, I started Cite Rite a source citation initiative since the lack of citations in genealogy blog posts seemed to be at the heart of the issue with Mr. Duxbury’s distate for genealogy blogs.  In addition, I created the Genealogy Source Citation Quick Reference card to educate new genealogists and geneabloggers on the importance of source citation.

5.  Today over The Genealogue there is an interesting post entitled Genealogists In Glass Houses which discusses Mr. Duxbury’s use of content purchased with “private label rights” on his blog.  You can read the comments from that post as well as well as the post at Translyvanian Dutch and its ensuing comments.

I will let you come to your own conclusions as to whether or not Mr. Duxbury should have been more upfront with his readers as to the source of some of his blog posts.  But here’s what I have to say about the whole thing:

- Mr. Duxbury seems quite upset that his house has come under scrutiny as of late.  Well this is what happens when you hold yourself out as an expert in the field of genealogy and make broad-sweeping statements that are only a disservice to the genealogy community.

- Mr. Duxbury, unlike many of our geneabloggers, does not have his name listed at Genealogy and Family History yet in turn openly accuses others of hiding behind pseudonyms (and well known ones at that – well if you knew anything about the on-line genealogy community you would know that).  If Mr. Duxbury did his homework he would know who these people are – some of them even provided a valid e-mail address and Twitter ID in their posts and comments.

- Mr. Duxbury has openly accused several of us on Twitter of defaming him by posting or retweeting links to posts he has deemed libelous.  These are pretty strong accustations yet when called upon it, he has reconfigured his updates to Twitter so that they are now set to private – at least that’s what I am now seeing.  Fortunately you can still find updates via Twitter Search.

- I’ve wasted enough time and energy on Mr. Duxbury who in essence holds himself out more as an Internet marketing specialist and coach than a genealogist.  My opinion on his web-based genealogy activity is that his blog and other genealogy-related sites are merely ways to gain traffic and possibly revenue.  This includes posts on controversial topics as well as maligning a valuable genealogy resource such as genealogy blogs.

Although Mr. Duxbury never asked explicity that his blog be listed in our bloglist (I basically discovered it a few weeks ago), I’ve opted to remove it for the time being since I feel his content is a disservice to the genealogy community.

So, onward and upward we go, shall we?  Let’s continue to work on our genealogy blogs – be they free hosted on Blogger or WordPress or seeming more legitimate with their own domain name and hosting – and see how we can help those who are new to the field of genealogy and family history, shall we?

copyright 2009 Thomas MacEntee

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This Week’s New Genealogy Blogs – 4 April 2009

[Note: this is a regular feature of Geneabloggers which highlights new genealogy and family history-related blogs as well as those recently discovered by members of Geneabloggers. Use the Suggest A Geneablog! link in the sidebar to pass along information on new blogs.]

This week we offer 17 new genealogy and family-history related blogs. We now list over 384 in our blog list!

Note: The blog O’Connell Family Tree has a new name – it is now Finding Our Ancestors and can be found at http://researchingoconnells.wordpress.com.  The bloglist at Geneabloggers has been updated but you may want to check and update your blog reader as well.

Remember to try and help out these new blogs by:

- using the Follow feature if the blog is hosted on Blogger
- adding them to your blog reader
- adding a comment on their blog saying “hi” and “welcome.”
- adding them to your Networked Blogs on Facebook

Call Me Shell
http://callmeshell.blogspot.com

“My blog is an outlet for my genealogy research, my sometimes nonsensical ramblings and whatever may amuse me at the moment. Surnames included in my genealogy research are Boudreau, Courtois, Ferron, Foucher, Maille, Moran, Robillard, Savard, Wright and many more. Please see the labels below for most of the names contained within this blog. Also, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or corrections. You can reach me at callmeshell at gmail dot com.”

Family History for Beginners
http://traceyourroots.blogspot.com

“Genealogy, (which is the proper name for researching your ancestors, but we will be just be calling it ‘family history’ for most of the time)can be summed up in 3 steps:

1) Record what you know
2) Research what you want to know
3) Publish what you know

The most important thing to do when you begin to research your family history is to find out as much as you can from your existing relatives, particularly grandparents. Make copies of as many birth, marriage and death certificates as you can. There are forms available on the web that you can print off to make records of all the information you can find this way. It is better to start with a paper system as you can distribute copies around the family for them to fill in for you. Later you can download free family history programs to enable you to record your research on your PC.”

Family Stories
http://yourfamilystory-cmpointer.blogspot.com

“What is your family story? Do you know it? Do you know where you came from, and who your people are? Find out what your family story is…If you like my stories, come back.”

Family Tree 4 SARGENT
http://familytree4sargent.blogspot.com

“For the past few years, my passion has been GENEAOLGY, since my father died in Dec. 2005. I have traced the Sargent line back to the mid/late 1700’s. This goes back to my 7th generation grandparent on dad’s side.

On my mother’s side , this is the next big one to tackle. Both her parents were born and raised in SWEDEN before coming to the USA at separate times. Mom’s parents were in Chicago when both her and her older sister were born. I never got to meet (to any of my own memory). Now that grandma is gone and aunt andi is getting on in years it has been an uphill battle getting records or info just yet. Now because grandma and grandpa were born in sweden and though mom was born here in the states , it makes mom full swede and this makes me 1/2 swedish. Only because my dad was of another origin….which I am finding Irish, and German. Here are two different sites you may find to be entertaining.”

From The Seed To The Branches
http://treeroots.wordpress.com

“I have to say that genealogy only vaguely interested me at one time. I remember as a little girl, going through the lower drawers of the old rolltop desk in the livingroom and finding old letters that my dad wrote my grandmother when he was overseas. It fascinated me that stamps were so cheap….and I though the 22 cent stamps were expensive back then!

Then I found this bound manuscript. It was large and it was heavy. I opened it up and glanced at the typographical text. It was a modern day version of the “Begats of Genesis” as I like to call them. I was entranced. The Laughlins, the Riggs, the Graces. And the Graces of Kilkenny, Ireland.

With a maiden name like Laughlin, Irish was as part of my blood as the German part. But little did I know how deeply the detailed history of my family would entrance me.”

Genealogy, Etc.
http://genealogyetc.blogspot.com/index.html

“I maintain a “Genealogy Classroom” website and am working on a genealogy of James Mackerwithey of Dedham Massachusetts. I am also blogging my genealogy life, with an occasional diversion (the etc.) I also use this blog to document updates I’ve made on my genealogy classroom site.”

Jackson County Local History
http://myjclibrarylh.blogspot.com

“Information about local history from the Jackson County Public Library in Seymour, Indiana.”

Jewish Genblog
http://www.jewishgen.blogspot.com

“JewishGen, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, is the primary internet source connecting researchers of Jewish genealogy worldwide. Its most popular components are the JewishGen Discussion Group, the JewishGen Family Finder (a database of 400,000 surnames and towns), the comprehensive directory of InfoFiles, ShtetLinks for over 200 communities, Yizkor Book translations, and databases such as the JewishGen Communities Database and the All Country Databases. JewishGen’s Family Tree of the Jewish People contains data on nearly four million people. JewishGen also serves as host to independent organizations such as Jewish Records Indexing – Poland. “

Musings of a Mad Macedonian
http://www.madmacedonian.com

“My name is Kiril Kundurazieff, a 1st Generation Macedonian-American (ROOTS: Kundurdziev, Kadiev, Daugherty (Spelling?), Evans, Fraze (Spelling?), Harrison, Hesson, Oliver, Smith, Tanner, Wells, and other related names as well). Even though I’ve been rooting around, off and on, in my Genealogical Garden since the late 80′s, I still consider myself a Newbie in so many ways. I am a writer, poet, humorist, and amateur journalist, and all of these come into play as the Family Genealogist of my small branch of the 11 Family Trees growing above.”

Rootsfinder Family History
http://rootsfinder.wordpress.com

“My name is Lisa Rex and I am a genealogist, internet professional and writer.

I lived in England for 10 years but relocated to North Shore, MA in February 2009 with my British husband Julian and our two cats, Jack and Stewart. We are currently car-free which is turning into an interesting experiment….

This site focuses on my personal genealogy but I have also included transcripts. Other genealogy-related content will follow.

My personal interests are varied (baking, cooking, history, travel, environmental issues), but my primary passion is researching my family history. I was also professional genealogist (aka Rootsfinder.co.uk) for two years, but I have set it aside, for now at least.”

Social Networking for Genealogists
http://snfg.blogspot.com

“Thursday evening, when I got home from work, I enjoyed opening a shipment of the first copies of my new book, Social Networking for Genealogists. This blog is intended to accompany the book, giving me a way to provide additional details about the book’s contents, to publicize updates and corrections, and to give readers a chance to suggest other services and topics related to social networking as used by genealogists. I look forward to reading your comments about the book!”

The Lives We Weave
http://thelivesweweave.blogspot.com

“My motivation for research into my family history was the stories that my grandmother Lois Lena Parks used to tell about her ancestors. However, once I became more involved in the research over the past 30 years, and how the various historical and political times shaped her family history, I became more and more fascinated with all facets of my family.

There were in my family, like most families, stories that were passed down from generation to generation. Some of them have been substantiated, but others turned out to be just lore. Still, I have found so much more than I could have ever anticipated finding. A heritage which I have found rich in culture and history.

My genealogical detective work has led me to many fascinating places and to many more questions about the people that shaped my family over the past 350 years in the United States and Canada. This detective work has led me back further in time to England, Germany and Hungary. It has been a fascinating exercise in solving the mystery of one family and moving on to another with each unanswered question raising several more. The adventure is in the discovery of each connection.”

Those Old Memories
http://thoseoldmemories.blogspot.com

“My future blogs will include what I hope will be interesting facets of my family’s life told from my precious memories. Growing up in a wonderful extended family, surrounded by fun and love. I will include photos, stories, traveling, some scrapbooking and most importantly the genealogy and a lot of the history of an exceptional family. My love of family and it’s genealogy will hopefully shine through. Some will be the good times and some the harder times but they all have contributed to who I and my family are.

Join me as I begin this journey. It will be a learning experience but I have the guidance of my wonderful sister-in-law who is herself a professional genealogist, to set me going down the right road. She has encouraged her daughter and me to start writing….so we are off and moving forward. Please visit their blogs at Genealogy Lines and Growing Up Genealogy.”

Tracing Ancestors In The UK
http://tracingancestors-uk.com

“I am a professional genealogist, writer and life coach. I have a First Class Honours Degree in (Humanities History and Literature) and a Diploma in Social History Research. I have been fascinated by genealogy since my early twenties, and took it up professionally after majoring in history with an Open University degree in the nineties. I also write novels, and they are usually based on a family history theme, connecting the present with the past. This is what I love about family history – we are all connected to history via our ancestors, and understanding how our ancestors lived gives us a direct and personal connection to the past. It is a great way to learn about history, and also to get a sense of who we are and where we came from.”

You Are Where You Came From
http://whereyoucamefrom.blogspot.com

“I’ve been doing a good deal of basic genealogical research lately, mostly online through Ancestry.com. I’ve concentrated a good deal on the Mulcahy/Mulvaney side of the family, so for now, that’s what I may be focusing on. This is, more than anything else, because it’s a lot easier to figure out which Veronica Mulcahy is Nana when there’s only one of her than to figure out which Mary O’Hara is Grandma Molly when there are hundreds of them. I have found some O’Hara/Quinn records of course, and I will post them so you can see them. (Gatto/Lanzilotto records are much harder to come by, as they’re in Italy only a generation or two back, but I do have some 1930s census records – I’m not completely biased towards the Irish.)

Another big purpose of this blog is for us all to learn more. If I post something about Nana or Papa, and you have any information to add, please LET ME KNOW! The more information we have, the more stories we know, the more the past comes to life.”

You Can Find Them
http://youcanfindthem.blogspot.com

“I’ve been researching for over ten years, with interest in the states of Virginia, Maryland, New York, Nebraska, and Washington; and countries of England, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania and South Africa. I’ve learned a lot and sometimes it was the hard way. But I’d be nowhere if it weren’t for the generosity of other genealogists, and in turn I try to give back. I volunteer transcribing various old records and newspapers, transliterating Russian Cyrillic, and provide look ups on Books We Own. I’m happy to lend a hand, give advice, and am always ready to receive advice as well.”

You Go Genealogy Girls Blog
http://yougogenealogygirls.blogspot.com

“A new blog from Ruby Coleman and Cheri Hopkins!

Ruby: Professional genealogist for over 25 years. Instructor of genealogy classes and designer of E-learning genealogy CD’s. Lecturer at state and national conferences. Genealogy writer. Mother of two and Grandmother of two. I reside in North Platte, Nebraska.

Cheri: Retired from owning my own sporting good business for 32 years. I now own my own photo business “CHERISHED PHOTO REFLECTIONS”, I do photo restorations and Family Remembrance Art. I love history, genealogy research, reading, and collecting old photos. Travel, research and some lecturing also keep me busy. Mother of two and Grandmother of eight. I reside in Alliance, Nebraska.

We invite you to visit our blog often. We will add newsworthy events that happen in the genealogy world as well as talk about fun places and events that we encounter during our travels. Having fun is our main goal while searching out those incredible little “ancestral tidbits” that so often want to stay hidden from us. We look forward to sharing our adventures with you!”

copyright 2009 Thomas MacEntee

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