10 Ways to Reinvent Your family history blogging

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10 Ways to Reinvent Your family history blogging


This month I am exploring the different storylines for ancestral storytelling. What are story lines? According to the online dictionary:

1. The plot of a story or dramatic work.
2. One of the narrative strands forming a complex story:  

Storylines can also be:

1. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) the plot of a book, film, play, etc
2. (Film) the plot of a book, film, play, etc

Storylines in family history can be the inspiration for starting, continuing, or reviving your ancestral storytelling blog posts. Storylines for me are the ‘prompts’, ‘themes’, ‘styles’, and ‘structures’ that I can use to develop my blog posts. 

Here are 10 storylines you may find inspiring! (Well actually there are 11.)

  • Storyline 1: Themes – #52weeks 52ancestors
    The theme for Week 36 and September is “Exploration.” Where did your ancestors explore? Who moved around a lot? You could also share records, libraries, or archives that you’ve explored in. Remember, there’s no wrong way to interpret the theme, says Amy Johnson Crow
    September – Exploration
    Week 36 (Sept. 6-12): Exploration
    Week 37 (Sept. 13-19): High and Low
    Week 38 (Sept. 20-26): New to You
    Week 39 (Sept. 27-Oct. 3): Road Trip 

    Write your blog posts using a theme to set the tone, define the content and inspire the story.

  • Storyline 2: Styles – The Curious Descendants Club
    Natalie Pithers says writing styles are basically organised into 4 categories: Persuasive, Narrative, Expository and Descriptive. Check out the examples for family history that she displays in her blog.

    Write your blog posts using your own definitive style.

  • Storyline 3: Occupations – Family Wise Ltd
    These occupational research tips located in Twitter this week from FamilyWiseLtd@ThePeople Tracer:
    Census, Records, Parish Records, Apprenticeship Records, Gazette and Military Records.

    Write about your ancestor’s jobs in your blog posts.

  • Storyline 4: Travels – write about the migration of your ancestors
    Delve deeper into the movements of your ancestors from one county or country to another using Passenger Lists and Census records.
    FindMyPast recommends taking an ‘Epic Journey’ with your ancestors by taking a trip to the homeland. Check out their advice on this blog.

    Create a story around the migration of your ancestors.

  • Storyline 5: A-Z – organise your Ancestral stories by name
    Select your ancestors by name and write up their stories in order of their names. Check out these examples from Ann Young’s family history blog by surnames.

    Start planning your ancestral stories in alphabetical order.

  • Storyline 6: One-place studies – focus your attention on a village, town or precinct and write from an historical point-of-view. You will find her writings here on her blog.
    Janet Few, the History Interpreter, gives advice on writing family history in this course at Pharos Tutors.
    Delve into communities for one-place studies in social media here.

    Plan to write a series of blog posts about one family location.

  • Storyline 7: One-name studies – focus your attention on just one surname from your family tree. 
    Find out more about the Guild of One-Name Studies here.
    Delve into communities for one-name studies in social media here.

    Plan to write a series of blog posts about one family name.

  • Storyline 8: Ancestor Profiles – focus on short stories to include the basic details about each ancestor.
    Lyn Palermo from the Family History Writing Studio offers advice on getting started with ancestral stories profiles: getting ready to write in her upcoming free webinar:
    Ancestral Profiles: Getting ready to write

    This strategy is idea for writing a series of ancestral blog posts as ancestor profiles.

  • Storyline 9: Events – align your family history story blog posts with significant events in social history.
    Tremily has put together a list of top 10 best genealogy blog ideas that they think are best for beginner bloggers.

    Write an ancestral story set in the context of the era and the social history.

  • Storyline 10: Family History Books – write your family history blog posts as the structure for a family history book.
    The Creative Historian, Prudence, advocates this process in her recent blog about ‘Is Blogging the Best Way to Share your Family History?’

    Consider your blog posts as chapters in your next Family History Book.

  • Storyline 11: Family History Website – focus on setting up a blog to share your research on ancestors. Divide your blog pages into repositories of details discovered about your ancestors in your research.
    Patrish shares her family tree research this way here. She designed her blog so her family could find her and her research by using the family name as the blog domain name.

  • Build a website as a blog for your family history research.
  • I have used this style of blog site structure for sharing my ‘other’ stories of fantasy and magic, here.

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