Thursday, October 22, 2009

10+ Things You Probably Didn't Know About This Blog

  1. I absolutely HATE the name of my blog.  I think it is pretentious, arrogant and egotistical.  It was the first thing I could think of when I created this blog so I tacked it on without much thought.  I had always planned on changing it at some point (and I did briefly, to SHBWGen and then GeneaLeah, but I thought those were even worse) but nothing better ever came.  Now that I'm involved in GeneaBloggers, the name will probably never change too dramatically- I am thinking of changing it "An Internet Genealogist" just so I sound like less of a know-it-all but who knows.  NOTE to those thinking of starting a genealogy blog: spend some time thinking up a blog title and make sure it is something you like and can live with for years to come!
  2. Most blog URLs have the blog title (in part or whole) in them- I don't.  I've had several people ask me why my URL has nothing to do with my blog title and the short answer is that "shbwgen" stands for my maternal ancestors.  See, this blog was originally a companion to my website which is all about my mother's family tree and also has a URL which contains the "shbwgen" letters.  I actually really like the URLs for both my blog and website.  It is unique and it makes it easy to find my genealogy information online because all I have to do is tell someone to type "shbwgen" into a search engine and all my info pops up.  Shbwgen specifically stands for Shinn Healey Berger Wellons Genealogy.
  3. I read and appreciate every comment I get on posts.  It may not seem like it because I usually don't respond (more on that below), but the feedback and information I get thanks to comments are invaluable to me and I just want to say "thank you" to anyone who has ever left a comment or e-mailed me about a post.  The first thing I look for after reading a comment is if the author has a blog that I can add to my Google Reader.  If you have an active (meaning that you post at least once a month) genealogy blog tell me because I'm always looking for more reading material!  Which leads me to my next topic...
  4. I think reading genealogy blogs is as addictive and enjoyable as doing actual research.  At first I had a hard time getting my head around the concept of genealogy blogs because I couldn't understand why reading about people that I am in no way related to would be interesting but boy, was I ever wrong!  Turns out those people and their stories and the blogs and bloggers who write about them are just as interesting as the people in my tree.  I've actually found that quite a few of my favorite blogs concentrate on topics and areas of genealogy which I normally don't research in like southern US, eastern European and African-American genealogy.  I like them because they really enlighten me on areas of genealogy which I am not very familiar with, something which I think is important.
  5. I usually write all my posts on the weekend and then schedule them throughout the week.  A lot of times as a post gets closer to publication I'll revisit it and clean it up some more but this is only if I have the time.  I keep a draft with post ideas that I add to and amend from time to time and when I have the time to actually write a post (usually on Saturdays and Sundays) I just use an idea from that draft.  I'll do spur of the moment posts too, like when I read something that inspires me to write or when I want to take part in a current meme.
  6. I don't write a lot of comments.  In fact, I can count on one hand the number of comments I left in the past year.  It isn't that I don't want to comment, I just have a really hard time coming up with something to say and I often worry over whether my comment is worth leaving.  It is something that I am getting better at and I do try and make more of an effort to leave comments so please bare with me!
  7. Believe it or not but my most popular posts are the two I did on Earl Derr Biggers awhile back.  I was interested in him because I'm a fan of his books and think he is an underrated author and because he was from Warren, Ohio where a lot of my father's family is from.  It started off as just a bit of fun and a way to kill an afternoon.  Since then, the vast majority of the hits that this blog gets and the correspondence I receive have to do with those two posts.  I've been approached by several authors, biographers and fans and there are even a few Earl Derr Biggers biographies out there or near publication which list me and this blog in the bibliography- something which tickles me pink.
  8. I'm sure most genealogy bloggers out there are like me in that we're all kind of inspired by each other.  Whenever I have a case of writer's block a post comes along that inspires me and if they don't inspire me directly, they do so indirectly.  For instance, the other day I was reading a post on Polish Heritage Month which inspired me to do something for Italian Heritage Month (they're both being celebrated this month).  If I had to put a figure on it, I'd say about 75% of the posts that come out of this blog are in some way inspired by other posts and bloggers.  I think that really says something about what an amazing community of writers GeneaBloggers is.
  9. All that being said, I don't participate in hardly any carnivals or memes.  It isn't so much that I'm not interested in them but that I always, without fail, seem to realize they're going on about an hour before the deadline.  Or, what will happen is that I'll start a post and then get sidetracked or hit a wall in trying to write it.  It is still my goal to participate in a carnival before the end of the year, I just got to get my act together first!
  10. For the most part, I'm happy with this blog though there are definitely some changes I'd like to see happen in the future.  Mostly, I'd like to be more of a HOGS blogger (a blogging style out of the original Hill Country of Monroe Co. blog).  I'd also like to be better about taking, scanning and posting pictures.  For some reason (laziness?!)  I'm terrible at remembering to take pictures and am equally terrible about remembering to post them.   And let's be honest, scanning isn't the most exciting activity on the planet  (but I can see how Scan Fests would help to keep the boredom at bay so I might do one of those in the near future). 
  11. I'm sure every blogger has a sense of what they will and will not post and I'm no different.  Obviously, the names and personal information of the living are no-go areas. I also like to keep a little privacy for myself though.  For instance, I won't post where I go to school, work, my address or my phone number.  I also haven't posted where I grew up and currently live but it was in the Sacramento area and my local FHC is and has always been in Woodland, CA.  Oh, and a scientist who just won a Noble Prize went to the same High School as I did (though we attended about thirty years apart) so that is pretty cool.  I also never planned on posting my last name but I kind of flubbed that when I posted my Facebook badge awhile back (oops!)... (Speaking of Facebook, feel free to friend but don't be hurt if I don't confirm you as a friend right away- I'm lucky if I get on Facebook once a month!)


  1. Leah, I've never thought the title of your blog was pretentious, just descriptive. And I wouldn't worry about "crafting the perfect comment" (I think footnote Maven said something about this in an interview); people just love to get comments. And, oh yeah, I love your blog!

  2. I can so relate to the "naming of one's blog." What about mine??? The Educated Genealogist - pretentious, arrogant and extremely egotistical don't you think?? I swear, I never thought about it like that. Because I was and still am so much an advocate for geneaological education that I chose the name.

    Don't change your blog's name - it would screw me all up and I wouldn't know who you were. LOL

  3. Sheri, I love the name of your blog! I think the title really fits because I always get educated whenever I visit. And I agree with you about the importance of being an educated genealogist, something which really comes through on your blog. I just worry about the name of my blog because it makes it sound like I'm some sort of authority when I'm really not, lol.

    Greta, you're right about "crafting the perfect comment." I think I just overthink everything I do(hence the rant about the title of my blog!) and that's probably what keeps me from commenting more. Thank you for the compliment too, I love your blog also!

  4. I like the title of your blog. And love the 10+ list. Definitely will have to borrow that idea when I've hit a wall and can' think of anything to say.


Thank you for commenting!