Two years ago today, I published my first article in this blog. As you might guess from that stinker, I had no real idea what direction the blog would take. I was just going to type, and hope to be struck with inspiration. After all, no one was going to read my blog, anyway.

In the beginning, I think I assumed that I would be a “mommy-blogger.” I was (and still am, to some extent) an isolated, stay-at-home mom. I was looking for a way to express myself and communicate with others who shared my interests. You moms out there know what I mean: sometimes we just need to talk with others without using the words “num num” and “poopy” for an entire conversation.

But despite the fact that I love my kid, and I love talking about and showing off my kid, I wasn’t sure that all I wanted to write about was my kid. Blogging wasn’t going to be much of a “break” for me if I was still being a mommy while I was doing it. Besides, I still had other interests, didn’t I? Like, say… genealogy. And wine (although not necessarily together).

What I didn’t know at that time was that there was this amazing group of people out there who shared my passion (read: obsession) for genealogy, who were already blogging about it and sharing their knowledge. I accidentally stumbled across this group one day when I Googled my way onto Bill West’s blog, West in New England. Bill had just posted “49 GENEALOGY USES FOR A FLUTAPHONE ON PARADE!” and had issued a challenge to his fellow genealogy bloggers to design a virtual float for the “Genealogist’s Parade.”

I’d had a frustrating few days (years) of researching my Delaneys, so I decided that – what the heck – I could design a float for Bill’s parade… even though I was a newbie blogger and had never met (virtually, or otherwise) any of the genealogy bloggers out there.

Kind of brave of me, when I think of it now.

My float was The Mother Ship. Yep, I’m pretty sure my people really were beamed here by aliens and then mysteriously removed, leaving absolutely no trace.

Be honest: you’ve thought the same thing about your own family at one time or another, right?

So I left a comment on Bill’s blog pointing him to my article. Sure, he’d probably think I was nuts, but since nobody was actually going to read my blog, I didn’t care.

Before I knew it, people were leaving comments on my post – which meant they were actually READING it – wow! They were supportive and encouraging. In particular, an amazing, wonderful blogger named Apple had taken the time to look up – and find! – information that I had overlooked dozens of times in Ancestry.com.

I was stunned. And hooked.

I’d found my genea-soulmates.

***

Much has changed in the past two years. Genealogy bloggers have adopted the moniker “geneabloggers,” and the online community has virtually exploded. Genealogists – from newbies to seasoned researchers – are creating new blogs every day, as is evidenced by the 719 members (!) of the Geneabloggers group on Facebook.

“Geneablogging” is being taken seriously at conferences, with how-to workshops and classes being offered at local and national events.

But what hasn’t changed is the people. They’re still the most wonderful, caring, helpful folks you could hope to find anywhere… not just on the world wide web. And they’re, FUN (especially in person)!

So my point – and I do have one – is this: if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, and haven’t had the courage to do it yet, be brave. Do it! You’ll meet some incredible people, and you’ll be amazed at the rewards. I know I was.

Who knows: you might even meet a new cousin!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Elizabeth is a professional genealogist, writer, and consultant. Likes: long walks in the cemetery, and the smell of old courthouse books. Dislikes: people who copy stuff off the internet without giving credit, and county clerks who can't tell the difference between Eastern and Pacific time zones. Secretly hopes her daughter will one day develop an interest in family history (but no luck so far).

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