Answer: One bite at a time.
Ah, the New Year! A time for reflection of the last year and a time to look forward. A good time to take a look at the blog posts we wrote, lament the ones we meant to post but never did, and plan out the ones we intend to post this new year.
Blogging about our ancestors can become overwhelming. After all, there are a lot of them. But just as the answer to the popular brain teaser of how to consume an elephant is to eat it one bite at a time, the answer to how to blog about our ancestors is to take it one topic at a time. (I'd say one ancestor at a time, but even that can be overwhelming if there are many facets of their lives we have uncovered.)
So, in order to help you along your blogging way, I'll post monthly genealogy blogging prompts to hopefully inspire you to share your family stories.
Holiday Day Prompts
Blog about an ancestor (or family unit) who came through Ellis Island. If you're like me and don't have one who came through there, write about a port an ancestor did come through. What do you think it was like for them? (Or do a little Googling to find that out.) Have you been there yourself? How is it the same or different than when your ancestor was there?
Jan 3 — Memento Mori "Remember You Die" Day
Okay, this sounds a bit morbid, but we ARE blogging about dead people, right? So, run with this one by posting about an ancestor's death certificate or record. Take apart that death record (figuratively, of course) and share what all the details are in the record. And/or transcribe the details as a blog post. What about their life did you learn from the document? What did you not learn but were hoping to find?
Another idea would be to write about a favorite tombstone or cemetery.
Jan 11 — National Clean Off Your Desk Day
After cleaning off your desk in honor of this day, which ancestor was taking up all of the space on your desk? Why? If because of researching, what did you find out about that ancestor? What were you hoping to find that you're still looking for?
Jan 13 — Make Your Dream Come True Day
Blog about one genealogy dream you have you'd like to come true. Just one. ;)
Jan 16 — Civil Service Day
Have any ancestors who were civil servants? What was their job? What did they do? How did you find out they were civil servants? What did their job entail in that time period?
Jan 23 — National Handwriting Day
Blog about a handwritten document you've uncovered in your research, or just transcribe it as the blog post. If you're diving deep with it, how is it pivotal to your research? What does it say? What does it mean? Who else in your family tree does it mention or affect in some way?
Jan 25 — Opposite Day
Which of your ancestors do you consider to be the total opposite of you. Why? In what ways specifically?
Holiday Week Prompts
Pretty self-explanatory. Here's mine: Blog more about my ancestors because it's the single best way I've found to find more cousins and to help me sort out my research.
Jan 8—14 Universal Letter Writing Week
Pick one ancestor and write them a letter on your blog. Express your frustration over your research about them; communicate your utter satisfaction in finding out something about them; or simply ask them the questions about their lives that keep you up at night.
Jan 17—23 National Handwriting Analysis Week
Have a document with your ancestor's handwriting? What does it say about them? No, you're not a handwriting expert, but is it legible? Flamboyant? Or how did it make you feel when you found the document with their handwriting? Was your ancestor literate? Or did they have just their mark on documents instead of their signature?
Jan 18—24 National Bible Week
Are you lucky enough to have bible records for your ancestors? Transcribe a few of them on your blog. What story do they tell of that family? Is it legible? Do you know who wrote the entries? If not, who do you think did? Why? Were they all written in the same handwriting, with the same pen at the same time, or is it obvious it was written down as it happened? Does it answer any research questions about that family or a particular ancestor? Or does it lead to more questions?
Holiday January Prompts
Many start the new year out by getting their research in order. Share what are you doing to get organized. Are you getting elaborate with your plans, or are you going to just tweak a few things at a time? Are you getting your physical files in order, your digital ones, or all of the above?
International Brain Teaser Month
Which ancestor teases your brain the most right now? Why?
International Creativity Month
Share a creative research method you've used to help you find more about your ancestor. Or share a creative way you've shared your family stories with family members.
5 Bonus Blogging Prompts
- The best story your parents or grandparents have shared about the good ol' days.
- Answer the 5 W's (who, what, when, where, why) of a favorite family photo.
- Write a listicle (a blog post in the form of a list with bullet points) of what you know about one ancestor.
- Write a listicle of what you'd like to know about one ancestor.
- If you could travel anywhere where an ancestor lived, where would you go and why?