Friday, 10 June 2011

Why are you doing this?

I read a fascinating post written by Marian of Marian's Roots and Rambles, in which she discussed her three top bits of advice for blogging.

She first asked: what is your goal in blogging? (for instance, to attract clients, share  your knowledge etc).  This made me think.  Why am I blogging? Why am I doing this? is it just to give myself another excuse to beat myself up at the weekends when I realise I haven't posted even once during the previous week?

No, I'm not trying to attract clients.  Nor even distant cousins.  I am happy to demonstrate my knowledge of a particular area, but don't for a moment imagine that anybody reads it.  So why am I blogging?  When I set up GenWestUK, it was just along the lines of "it seemed a good idea at the time", and "everybody else is doing it".  What I found was something quite surprising.   When you have to post about a time, an ancestor, a type of occupation, and so on - it focuses you tremendously!  Although for years I have been warning beginners against the scattergun approach of trying to research all your ancestors at once, I have not followed my own advice.  This sees me "doing family history" like a butterfly, zooming from the same ancestor to another same ancestor - you know, the brickwalls that frustrate you every time.  So many of my ancestors are missing out on my attention.

Blogging has changed all that.  In order to write a decent post, I have been forced to sit down and concentrate on one th (oh, look! a bird) ing at a time.  And this has opened up new horizons for me - gosh, new vistas.  I had never slowed down and stayed in one place long enough to realise that my great-grandmother, Annie Marian BUCKINGHAM, saw the first horse-drawn tram in Plymouth, travelled to Ireland, lived through the invention of the car and plane, then went to Australia! or that a great great grandmother, Eliza ELLIOTT wasn't just a dressmaker- she made fancy frocks out of damask and brocade. 

I look forward to learning more about my forgotten ancestors, now that blogging has made me sit still in one place...

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