Notes from the past…


#31WBGB: Analyze a Top Genealogy Blog

31 Weeks ButtonI have been participating in Tonia’s 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog challenge, and it has been great fun! These exercises have really energized my writing and my genealogical research. This is Week 4 of the challenge, but it is not too late to join the fun!

This week’s task is to analyze a top genealogy blog.

The obvious choice for me is Denise Olson’s Moultrie Creek Gazette, my very favorite genealogy/technology/history blog.

Blog? Oh, my!

More like The Wall Street Journal of genealogy blogs! I have a blog; Denise has succeeded in creating a vast, all-inclusive online geneatech portal.¬† Blog, newspaper, review, journal, tutorial, expos√© (not really!)…anything having to do with family history and genealogy-related technology can be found at the Moultrie Creek Gazette.

What does exactly does Denise do at the Gazette that makes it so appealing and successful? Let’s dissect this little slice of genea-heaven:

The look of the site, the theme itself is well-designed, open and airy, the font is pleasing to the eye and easy to read, and photographs or illustrations accompany most articles. Denise is also a talented photographer! All sections of the Gazette are accessible from the home page, just click and go.

Links abound to the various sections of the Moultrie Creek Gazette, but are not overwhelming. How do I explain this? I have been to some websites that contain so many links, and are so “busy” that I get antsy just trying to read the page! At the Gazette, the links are clearly differentiated, yet blend nicely into each page.

The content includes discussion of her own family history, and stories and images of the St Augustine area of northeast Florida. Founded in 1565, St Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States. The history of the United States of America literally begins in Denise’s back yard!

Denise has amassed an impressive knowledge of cyber-technology as it relates genealogy. She is the go-to girl for information on writing tools, photo management and digital scrapbooking. And the Moultrie Creek Gazette reflects this. Denise is also arguably the most knowledgeable person (outside of its creators) of the massive genealogy wiki, WeRelate. She has written an entire tutorial series about WeRelate.

All of this information can be found at the Moultrie Creek Gazette.

Monetization appears to be minimal. A couple of non-intrusive affiliate ads appear on the home page and only a single add on other pages. One section, Creekside Outfitters, is devoted to her Amazon store where genealogy-related items are available.

Simply put, I believe the Moultrie Creek Gazette has set the standard for today’s online genealogy/technology news magazine. Denise’s work here has inspired the development of my own newsletter, and when it grows up, it wants to be just like the Moultrie Creek Gazette!

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My research wiki

For several months now, I have been methodically reviewing my database, updating each person and adding sources. In some cases, people that don’t belong have even been deleted.

This task is progressing fairly well. I am now over halfway through the 13-page list. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

What will I do when I complete the list? Well, beside dancing, that is…

Do to time constraints, the majority of my research has been done online. In most cases, that has yielded satisfactory results.

But with my direct-line ancestors, I want to dig deeper. I want to know more about their everyday lives. And there’s only one way to do that:


Gonna have to turn away from my computer screen and pick up a pencil and start writing letters (I guess I could use OpenOffice for this :)).

I’ll also need to make more trips to the library and court house and to the local FamilySearch Center.

In short, I’ll have to do my work the old-fashioned way: LEGWORK!

In order to keep up with this more meticulous research, I have set-up a wiki site at PBworks. I am gradually creating pages for my direct-line ancestors. This wiki is open for viewing by everyone and if we have an ancestor in common and you would like contribute, please let me know. I welcome the collaboration!


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A bit of remodeling….

Since I began participating in Tonia’s 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog challenge, I have really been looking closely at this blog. At the behind-the-scenes action, if you will.

And what I have realized is the obvious: I need to post more often.

But there are also other things that could be done to spruce this place up a bit…

To that end, I have spent quite a bit of time on Facebook in the past couple of days. I edited my personal profile, “filling in the blanks”, sharing a little more of me with the geneasphere. Maybe you will find it interesting.

Also, Ruth’s Genealogy blog now has it’s one Facebook page. I even created my own logo! Simple but effective, I think. Please drop in and say “Hi!”

Here at home, I did a bit of renovating, too. I added my Twitter feed and a link to said Facebook page, both now found in the sidebar to the right. There is also a link in the main navigation bar to my research wiki.

Time to rest from all this carpentering work! Supposed to be 106 in Fort Worth today, don’t wanna over-exert myself in all this heat… :)