Back to Your Roots: Blogging About Genealogy and Family History

This week, genealogists around the world are meeting at RootsTech, an annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, that explores the intersection of family history and technology. Participants — from novice family historians to seasoned genealogists — can attend a range of sessions with speakers and experts, some of whom make WordPress their online home, like the Scott Brothers, Judy G. Russell of The Legal Genealogist, and Amy Johnson Crow.

Interested in digging into genealogy or researching and documenting your family history? Here are a few sites on WordPress.com to give you ideas.


Genealogy Sisters

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Since the mid-1990s, sisters Maryann and Veronica have researched the Polish and Irish sides of their family. They publish their findings and stories — along with photos, documents, maps, and more — in a traditional blog format using the tried-and-true Twenty Ten theme.

A family photo from "Year in Review -- 2016" at Genealogy Sisters.
A family photo from “Year in Review — 2016” at Genealogy Sisters.

We are always amazed at how the past continues to unfold for us. Every nugget of information we find fleshes out the bones of the stories about our ancestors and their families.


The Family Kalamazoo

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Similarly, Luanne Castle at The Family Kalamazoo uses a traditional blog to share photographs and stories of her mother’s family (which settled in southwestern Michigan), and occasionally her father’s family (in Illinois). Her top category menu divides her content by specific family branches — DeKorn, Mulder, Zuidweg, Paak, and Klein — which is a great way to organize the site.

Luanne digs into her family background while sharing a variety of memorabilia, from postcards to newspaper articles to letters.

Finding neighbors and friends of ancestors through old postcards. Image via The Family Kalamazoo.
Finding neighbors and friends of ancestors through old postcards. Image via The Family Kalamazoo.

Genealogy Lady

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Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to set up a homepage like Deborah’s.

Genealogist Deborah Sweeney has been doing genealogical research for over two decades and compiles her work at Genealogy Lady, where you can access her books and various topics, including genetic genealogy resources and research toolboxes. Deborah’s homepage introduces her work and includes social media links and testimonials at the bottom, and you can find information on her services or explore her blog, where she shares transcriptions, World War II letters, and more.

A letter dated December 7, 1945, from the World War II Letters category at Genealogy Lady.
A letter dated December 7, 1945, from the World War II Letters category at Genealogy Lady.

The People of Pancho

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Try a theme like Revelar, Rebalance, or Orvis to make images or documents visually prominent on your homepage.

Leslie at The People of Pancho says she isn’t a professional genealogist, but she is dedicated to researching her family’s past. “I’ve always been a collector of bits and pieces (especially old photographs), a lover of stories, and a seeker of explanations,” she writes on her About page. On a portfolio-style homepage, Leslie displays columns of her posts with featured images, so she can showcase old photographs and documents from her collection at a glance.

A peek at a family passport page from "Adorable on the High Seas," The People of Pancho.
A peek at a family passport page from “Adorable on the High Seas,” The People of Pancho.

I didn’t set out to establish an archive, or take up genealogy, or write a blog, but only to satisfy my curiosity about the contents of some forlorn cardboard boxes in the back of a closet at my maternal grandparents’ house.


Paper & Roots Genealogy

The family documenter at Paper & Roots Genealogy combines a love for history and paper crafting, and the blog’s theme, Scratchpad, is a colorful design that’s ideal for a mix of post formats: text notes, documents, photos, and even video and audio.

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The custom featured images — created with family photos, little glued trinkets, colored paper, newspaper clippings, and more — integrate well with the blog’s playful, crafty vibe. Browsing the site is like flipping through a family scrapbook.


Interested in more? Dip into the GeneaBloggers community on WordPress (the blogroll alone is massive). If you’re a WordPress.com blogger and are attending RootsTech, let us know in the comments — and please swing by our WordPress.com booth and say hello!

February 7, 2017Family, History, Identity, Relationships,