I think you are better off publishing parts of your tree as separate articles in a blog than as a full family tree website as produced by most family tree programs. Allow me to demonstrate by searching for a name, Riley, and a place, Naigani, that I am interested in for my own family history:
The very first result in this list is a blog post:
Compare that page with this one:
Which one looks more interesting? Which one would be more likely to get the attention of someone who wasn’t all that interested in genealogy?
If I’d put a picture or two in the blog post it would be even more interesting.
So that’s two good reasons:
- A blog post about a specific person or family line will be higher in a Google search
- A blog post will be more likely to hold the attention of a casual reader
A third reason is this: I have my full family tree as a separate website as produced by Second Site, a program to turn my The Master Genealogist project into a website. Most of the enquiries I get from it are for people on the edges of my tree, people who have married cousins of my ancestors. I have no more information about these people than what is on the tree, but the researchers who find them get excited when they find the name and email me for more. Really it’s a waste of my time and theirs.
Anyone who finds the names in my blog posts is really looking for my family, and we are usually related. Over the years I would say that as many real relatives have found me through my blog posts as through my tree, although of course I can’t count the people who find my tree, grab the information, and leave without contacting me.
Blogs make it easier for them to contact me, as there’s a form for comments at the bottom of the page. When someone leaves a comment I get an email, and I can reply the same day.
So there it is. Write stories about your ancestors in a blog. Don’t just put your tree up and wait for people to find you.
Note: in case you’re wondering about the Google logo in the first image – it was the 46th anniversary of the first Star Trek episode, and Google was celebrating. And why not?
This post was first published in my blog Social Media and Genealogy in March 2013. I’m re-publishing it here because I think sharing your research is just as important as doing it in the first place.