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

Want to Build a Family History Legacy Book

Cooking Up Content: 50 Writing Ideas to Feed Your Genealogy Blog

It’s hard keeping a blog engaging and entertaining on a regular basis. It’s like trying to think about what’s for dinner tonight. I don’t mind cooking, but sometimes you just want someone to give you an idea of what to make. After years of cooking for the family, you're just plain tired of coming up with the ideas.

Today’s post is here to help you with blog post ideas to help you flesh out your editorial calendar for your family history blog. I hope it helps you to keep the creative juices going.  We all need a little inspiration from time to time. Psst. If you don’t have a blog start a family history journal. A private journal where you can capture your thoughts about your research and your ancestors even if you're not ready to serve them up to the general public just yet. 

  1. Write about a genealogy travel experience, a trip to ancestral hometown, archives, or a cemetery. Make it descriptive and take us on the journey with you.
  2. Write about a genealogy mistake you made. We’ve all have them. Share your mistake.
  3. Write about a strong female you’ve discovered in your genealogy research. What makes her strong and why does she appeal to you.
  4. Write about a family secret. Even if you can’t share the secret, see if you can write about it without actually revealing the secret but instead express your opinion on family secrets and how it affects your genealogy research.
  5. Write about your organisational system or lack there of, ask for advice from others.
  6. Write profiles of your ancestors. (Check out our profile writing course in September)
  7. Share the story of an ancestor who served in a war. Is there one ancestor that stands out. Or perhaps you can do a round up of them all.
  8. Tell the tale of two siblings, how did their lives move in different directions.
  9. Share a story of an ancestor who chose religious life.
  10. Did an ancestor live through a natural disaster? Share their story?
  11. Share a recipe that has been handed down through your family.
  12. Do you have an ancestor who won any sports awards? Tell their tale.
  13. Share the story of an ancestor who was involved in politics.
  14. Who are the entrepreneurs in your family history? Share their stories.
  15. Take your reader back in time to the dinner table of your ancestor.  Make sure you use all five senses to bring that table to life for the reader.
  16. Invite your reader to attend your ancestor’s wedding. Bring it to life on the page for them with rich detail.
  17. Which ancestor confuses you the most and why?
  18. Who among your ancestor’s was the first to attend high school? University?
  19. Share your most recent conference trip.
  20. Interview a fellow genealogist.
  21. Review your favourite genealogy tool
  22. Write a post on how genealogy has changed since you began your research.
  23. Which ancestor is your biggest brick wall? Ask readers for their advice.
  24. Write a post about your favourite genealogy resources.
  25. Write a post about your favourite genealogy blogs.
  26. Share how your ancestor celebrated the holidays. Christmas. New Years. Easter. Etc.
  27. Share a presentation you attended with your local genealogy group. Highlight what you learned.
  28. Which ancestor do you feel most like? Why?
  29. Share your genealogy goals for the upcoming year.
  30. Interview your oldest living relative, change it up, maybe make it a podcast!
  31. Share the story of a couple in your research who you feel represent marriage well. Or did it badly. 
  32. Recruit a family member or fellow genealogist to write a blog post for you.
  33. Share your recent family reunion and advice you have for others who are planning one.
  34. Recreate the experience of one of your immigrant ancestors’ travel to the new world.
  35. Do you have an ancestor who died young? Speculate on what their life might have been like.
  36. Recreate the birth of an ancestor? What would the birthing experience had been like?
  37. Identify an accomplishment in your ancestor’s life. Share how they overcame obstacles to achieve that goal. Tell the story over a series of posts to create suspense for the reader.
  38. Recreate a family recipe, blog about your experience, how it turned out and if the family enjoyed it.
  39. Did any of your ancestors have an unusual occupation? Share what you know about it.
  40. Review a favourite book, either a genealogy reference book or story.
  41. Do you have a scoundrel in the family? Share his or her story?
  42. Is there an ancestor who went from rags to riches or riches to rags? Tell their story.
  43. Share your own memories of an ancestor. How did you spend time with them? Use a description to bring that time to the page and make them real again for the reader.
  44. Share a folklore story that you haven’t been able to prove with research.
  45. Write about the one thing you want your family to know or understand about their ancestors.
  46. What is the one event in your family history that makes you the proudest?
  47. What one event in your family history disappoints you the most?
  48. Share the most romantic story you have come across in your research.
  49. Who is your ancestor hero? The one ancestor you are most proud to be related to. Why?
  50. If you could go back in time and sit down to speak with one ancestor who would it be? Why? What would you ask them?

Do you have a favourite blogging topic you think should be added to this list?  

NYG&B and the Ontario Genealogical Society Announce Partnership

Do your New York families have connections in Ontario? 

The following is a press release from The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. 


July 28, 2017

NYG&B and the Ontario Genealogical Society Announce Partnership

Today the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) and the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) announced a new partnership offering reciprocal membership at a discount to all members.  The two societies hope that this will allow their respective members to gain access to even more records and resources. 

NYG&B President, D. Joshua Taylor noted “The NYG&B is delighted to partner with OGS. Numerous New York families had connections with Ontario and we look forward to working together to provide resources that help share and tell their stories.”

OGS President Patti Mordasewicz said: “We are excited to announce this expansion in our advantages of OGS membership for our members and to partner with the NYG&B. Our respective members should benefit greatly from enhanced access to resources for researching their Ontario and New York family histories. This is of particular importance when traditional migration and settlement patterns are considered.

To get more information on this partnership and how to sign up for membership in either organization, please visit or

About the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS)
The OGS, the largest such organization in Canada, was founded in 1961 with the vision of being recognized as the authority and leader in all aspects of Ontario related family history research, preservation and communication. The mission of the OGS is to encourage, bring together and assist those interested in the pursuit of family history and to preserve Ontario’s genealogical heritage.  OGS has 30 geographically based branches throughout Ontario together with 4 special interest groups (British Home Children, Scottish, Ireland and Irish-Palatine).  The OGS has published numerous books and pamphlets to assist Ontario researchers, provides its respected journal, Families, to its members, and publishes a weekly online newsletter highlighting events of interest to Ontario researchers. OGS Branches have transcribed the majority of Ontario cemeteries and published numerous indices which are the foundation of family history and genealogical research in Ontario.

About the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B)
The NYG&B has been helping people find their New York family and tell their stories since 1869. As the largest genealogical society in New York, the NYG&B operates, which includes digital collections, articles, research aides, and other essential tools for those researching New York State. The NYG&B has thousands of members across the globe, and publishes the Record each quarter, a scholarly journal devoted to New York genealogy and biography as well as the award-winning New York Researcher, which provides the latest news and updates for those tracing their New York ancestors. The NYG&B is also the publisher of the award-winning New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer, offering more than 800 pages of detailed resources related to New York and New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family Historians. Each day the NYG&B engages with the dynamic, fast growing, rapidly changing field of family history through accurate, thorough research and the highest standards of scholarship.


Diving into DNA: I'm No Expert But...

DNA is hot. In case you haven’t noticed. But if you’re like me it might have taken you a while to plunge into the deep waters of DNA. Or perhaps you’re still sitting on the water's edge wondering if you should spend your hard earned money on a DNA test, especially when you don’t understand how it’s going to help you in your genealogy research. That was me. But  I've been learning from some experts and can point you in the right direction. Now it’s important to me that I refer you to someone you can understand and can get down to earth advice. So here are some blogs, books and webinars that will help you swim in the deep end of DNA.

First, which test show I use? I get asked that all the time. There are 5 that I would consider. But in all reality, the experts would probably tell you to do them all. The more databases you can get your information into the higher your chances of connecting with others who share the same ancestors. Some of these tests you can take and upload to another database. For instance, I took the 23 and Me test and uploaded it to My Heritage.

The Tests or  (for my fellow Canadians) 
Once you’ve given up your spit and sent it off to be tested I can recommend a good book you can start reading while you are waiting for the results.

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy  (available in Kindle or Paperback) by Blaine Bettinger  (affiliate link)

I met Blaine and heard him speak at the Ontario Genealogy Conference in June. He’s a down to earth guy and his book reflects a down to earth approach to DNA. 

There are a growing number of videos and webinars on the Internet to help you comprehend DNA testing, your results and how to keep track of it all. You’ll notice Blaine is leading many of them. There’s a reason for that.

Another expert in the field with good reviews is: 

Videos and Webinars

There are plenty of videos and webinars available both free and for a respectful price. 

Family Tree DNA on YouTube - an extensive list of videos covering all aspects of DNA testing. 

Legacy Family Tree Webinars – 37 webinars and 123 pages of syllabus. There is also a DNA Foundations Course which includes 5 classes. If you join the yearly Webinar Membership program for $49.95 you can take your time over the course of a year to view this impressive webinar library. And you get everything else in the library, not just the DNA webinars. An incredible amount of genealogy education for the price. 

Don't forget the blogs. Always a great source of information. Here are a few blogs to follow for getting your feet wet. There are more then listed here but these ones will get you started. 


Blaine is known as the Genetic Genealogist, you can also follow his blog here.
However, it was Judy Russell the Legal Genealogist who got me revved up about DNA. She has numerous blog posts to help you to tread in these unknown waters.

Facebook Pages

If you want to start on social media here are some popular Facebook pages.

Your Genetic Genealogist Facebook Page

The DNA Detectives

DNA Tools

The Genetic Genealogist

Success Stories

If you want to read a success story on how someone else use DNA, I can recommend this book:

The Foundling: The True Story a Kidnapping, a Family Secret and My Search for the Real Me  (affiliate link)

Do you have a DNA success story? Share it with us in the comments. Or leave a link to your blog post about your success story. 

8 YouTube Channels to Improve Your Genealogy Skills

You can’t be an armchair genealogist without taking advantage of some of the incredible free learning opportunities available on YouTube. I have my favourites, but I recently scoured YouTube to see what are some of the most current YouTube channels that are happening right now that might be of some value to my readers. There are many channels offering genealogy assistance. In choosing the ones below, I looked for channels that offer relevant up to date information and are posting regularly.
When you find one you like be sure to click the “subscribe” button, so you’ll get notified of any new videos when they arrive.  

Professional Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow helps family historians with practical tips for discovering their family history. She covers a wide range of topics from organisation and preservation to DNA and breaking down brick walls.

Lisa keeps you up to date on the new technology and genealogy resources available for the family historian. Everything from using Google, to interviews with experts, DNA, behind the scenes tours and her famous Genealogy Gems Podcasts.

Even if you are not an subscriber you can still take advantage of this large library of videos. Everything to help the beginner to the expert. Videos help DNA users, they also include a Family History Expert series, along with the latest updates for their database for us faithful users.

With close to 140 videos, this YouTube channel offers plenty of videos to view on a wide range of topics including research and organisation tips, to specific areas of research. Lots of tips and tricks for improving your research.

Genealogy and Family History for Cool People by Nicka Sewell-Smith.  Nicka features episodes for her Black Progen Live group. She offers tips and tricks on narrowing down people of colour in online record sets.

BYU Family History Library
The BYU Family History Library offers an extensive library of videos on a wide range of topics for all levels of family historians.

Family Search also offers an extensive library with over 120 videos on a large variety of subjects including Irish research, heritage recipes, Rootstech videos and a variety of how to videos.

Family Tree Magazine offers over 100 videos with everything from genealogy tips, to DNA, genealogy organisation and overcoming brick walls.

Do you have a favourite genealogy YouTube Channel? Let us know in the comments.

Take a Lesson from a Professional Genealogist for less than a Cup of Coffee

Free stuff or next to free stuff doesn't come around too often so when it does it's best we make the most of it. 

Some of you may not be aware of the BCG - Board for Certification of Genealogists. While this organization provides classes that will help you to obtain your certification as a Professional Genealogist they also serve an even wider audience. They offer webinars for the average family historian looking to expand their knowledge but maybe are not necessarily ready to become a certified genealogist.  

You don't have to be seeking professional certification in order to utitlize their on-demand webinars that are available at your convenience.  Some of them are free and some will cost you a few dollars and I mean a few dollars. I've provided a sampling below of what is currently available with links to them. When you click on the link you'll get a preview before the video will stop and ask for your payment. 

The Current Free Ones! 

Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation by Russell, Judy G.

Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories by Thomas W. Jones.

A Webinar that Cost Less than a Grande Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks

And then are others which will cost you a few dollars and I mean literally a few dollars, less than a Grande Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks.

Webinars like,

Elementary, My Dear Watson! Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have by James M. Baker 

Complex Evidence What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters by Warren Bittner

'Of Sound Mind and Body' Using Probate Records in Your Research by Michael Hait

The Importance of Context in Record Analysis by Barbara Vines Little

When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records by Judy G. Russell

Black Sheep Ancestors and Their Records by Ann Staley

There are plenty more. You can find them on the BCG website. Perhaps, you'll even realize you just might have what it takes to sign up and set your path to becoming a Professional Genealogist. 
For more information about the Board for Certification of Genealogists and genealogy standards, and to view the above videos you can visit The Board for Certification of Genealogists