google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist

Family History Blogging: Leaping into the Online World

It starts out innocent enough this family history thing. We’re just ordinary everyday people exploring our family histories. But suddenly, we realize that there is an untapped world online that we need to access. The next thing we know were writing a blog, and we have been swept into the online world of blogging.

Family history bloggers are family historians who have stumbled their way online, learned to write, share their stories, find distant cousins, and connect their families to their ancestors.

It’s a scary step, making the leap into the online world. There are new skills to learn that leave us feeling exposed and vulnerable. We need to invest time in making a family history blog come to life and for sticking with it even when you don’t think anyone is reading.

Over the past six months, I’ve had the pleasure of helping a couple of dozen new family history bloggers learn to write and develop their blogs at The Family History Writing Studio.  These family historians have found their writing voice, learned the ins and outs of creating content for their blog and bringing their family history online through our online course Family History Blog Writing. 

7 Years and Counting

I remember publishing that first post. Oh, the fear! I’m sure many genealogy bloggers can also remember posting their first blog installment, wondering if anyone would read or even comment. Last week I celebrated my 7th year blogging. Wow, time flies. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the supportive members of the genealogy industry, I would have missed it…too busy writing and coaching. But that’s a good thing. I would never have thought this is where it would lead me.
Some of the students from these two courses have taken that leap and gone on to publish their blogs. I felt it only right to give them a little shout out because I remember that day.

So, here they are some of the newest members of the genealogy blogging community.
Please drop by their blogs, leave a comment and welcome them into the fold.

New Bloggers

A Guthrie County Retrospect by Janelle Keith
The Mommy Genealogist by Camille Mecham
Behind the Cupboard Doors by Kim Chambers
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks by Margaret Demick

The Great Canadian Genealogy Summit

Have you heard of the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit? Join me in October for this new genealogy conference. Below is a press release with all the details. See you there! 

For Immediate Release

The Great Canadian Genealogy Summit (CANGEN) pleased to announce their inaugural conference, to be held October 21-23, 2016, at the Courtyard by Marriott, Brampton.

The Summit showcases Canadian genealogists who have an expertise in the record sets relating to the early settlers of Canada.

On October 21, we have arranged a day at the Ontario Archives. And better still, for those with UEL ancestors who are mind boggled with the documentation required for your UEL application, former Dominion Genealogist Kathryn Lake Hogan will be offering a workshop with the at the Archives. She will share her expertise on what documentation is required and how to access the documents at the Archives.

Our Opening Plenary speaker on Friday evening is genealogist and author Jennifer Debruin who will share with us some of the struggles of our Canadian ancestors. This energetic talk will be followed by a social time. A time to get to know fellow Canadian genealogists, to get to know the speakers better, or to browse in the marketplace.

Saturday's programming offers five streams of research. Registrants are welcome to mix and match:

·         Ruth Blair - who will talk on researching Irish ancestors
·         Mike Quackenbush - who will talk on researching English ancestors
·         Louise St Denis - who will talk on researching French Canadian ancestors
·         Kathryn Lake Hogan - who will talk on researching Canadian ancestors
·         Christine Woodcock who will talk on researching Scottish ancestors

Sunday starts with Louise St Denis sharing her extensive knowledge on Methodology. THEN she is providing each registrant with a certificate for a FREE course at the NIGS.

And we wrap up an intense weekend with Lynn Palermo who will help us to get a better handle on writing our family stories so that our work can be preserved for future generations.

Registration for the full weekend is just $159cdn ($125 usd). Registration for the Saturday only is just $119cdn ($93 usd)
All registrations include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, free access to Findmypast and admission to the exhibition hall.

Family History: From Blog to Book

Family History: From Blog to Book 

Don't miss my recent post at the MyCanvas Blog. I offer some tips on using blogging as a means to writing a family history book. 

Did Your Ancestor Have a Pet?

I hadn’t given it much thought, our ancestor’s pets. Not until about a month ago when we lost our dog. Koda was 12 years old, a chocolate lab and he was such an important part of our family. I knew it would be a difficult day, but I had no idea just how hard it was going to be. I honestly can say there is a huge void in our home. I miss him dearly; I miss his companionship but most of all I miss his personality.

The loss of our dog got me thinking about our ancestor’s pets. I can’t say my ancestor had any pets, a least they aren’t included in pictures.  But people being people I would suspect that pets were an important part of our ancestor’s lives just as much as they are today. I would, however, suggest, that today we probably memorialize our pets much more than our ancestors did and our descendants will likely have a better knowledge of our pets and their importance in our lives.

Today you can bury your pet in a pet cemetery, thereby leaving a marker for your descendants to find. You can honour them in social media, make picture books about them, and I believe they have probably made their way into more of our photos then in our ancestor's day.  Oh, and let’s not forget the millions of videos of our pets on YouTube.  Our pets will live on thanks to today's technology.

How Pets Help Our Research

But let's get back to our ancestors and their pets. Our first source would naturally be pictures, and hopefully, your photos are labeled. Why would it be important to know if your ancestor had pets? Well, first it is one more element that helps us but their life in context, it brings out a human element, to an ancestor we never met, it is one more piece in helping understand who they were. From a pure research standpoint, dogs often needed a license which means there is a record and where you find the dog you locate the owner. Dogs licenses are a record that can be one more piece of the puzzle in your family history research.

Finding A Pet Online

If you have Irish ancestors, a dog license may be the breakthrough you need. Ireland started issuing dog licenses in 1866. There are over 6 million dog licenses in a database on FindMyPast. They can place your ancestor at an address in a particular year along with the breed, sex, and colour of their dog.

Have you ever searched for dog licenses to help with a brick wall?

Do you have any stories about your ancestor’s pets? Any pictures? Do you know their names?

Who Do You Think You Are? - New Season Begins Sunday!

The two-time Emmy nominated series WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? returns this spring to follow more of today’s most beloved and iconic celebrities as they embark on personal journeys of self-discovery to trace their family trees. The series continues to deliver unbelievable stories from crucial moments in history, including a number of firsts for the series, such as a male witch hunt, and traveling to Portugal, Sweden and Ellis Island. Executive Produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky, the new season premieres Sunday, April 3 at 9/8c.

The season premiere opens with Aisha Tyler.  Aisha tracks down her 2x great-grandfather, whose story had been lost over generations, and uncovers an astonishing tale of a prominent ancestor whose struggle to keep his illegitimate son a secret made headlines.

The other contributors featured in the upcoming season include:

Scott Foley finds a relative who risked his life for one of America’s founding fathers, and an ancestor who suffered unspeakably during one of this nation’s darkest times.

Lea Michele nails down where her mysterious paternal ancestors came from, and learns of the dire economic circumstances they endured while trying to emigrate to the U.S.

Chris Noth learns his ancestors suffered during one of the greatest catastrophes in American history, and a relative who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of all time.

Molly Ringwald explores family lore of Swedish royalty which uncovers her ancestors’ harrowing lives and a brave woman who forever changed her family’s fate.

Katey Sagal is shocked to learn of her family’s Amish roots, and digs deeper as she realizes the level of dedication to their faith.

Watch a sneak peak of Who Do You Think You Are? of the upcoming episode for this Sunday night April 3 at 9/8c.