Saturday, June 28, 2014

Eight Great Years of Blogging for “The Accidental Genealogist”

Where does the time go? I can't believe it has been eight years since I started this blog! In some ways I find it hard to believe it was so long ago, but in other ways I still feel that the experience is brand new because I am always learning more about the process. Blogging and this blog have come a long way since 2006. I started out not knowing anything about blogging, what exactly I would blog about, or if anyone would be interested in reading what I wrote. Over time (some 796 posts to be exact), I found my voice, my audience, and I made some changes including a move from being hosted just on “Blogger” to acquiring the "Accidental Genealogist" domain name (you can read why I chose to do so here). 

During my eight years as a blogger, I haven't always posted as much as I would have liked, but I I have enjoyed the blogging experience. That said, I would like to take the opportunity today (on my Blogiversary) to share some of my personal highlights from the past eight years.

1. Blogging about what I know.  My blog provides a forum where I can write about my two favorite subjects:  Genealogy and Writing (see “The Accidental Genealogist,” posted on July 2, 2006.). I have been extremely fortunate to have combined my two “passion” into a career as a writer, lecturer and instructor.

2. Sharing stories about my favorite ancestors. Over the years I have been able to write about my Slovak and Rusyn ancestors, and my research successes and obstacles in the quest to learn more about them.


Family photo collage created by Lisa A. Alzo

3. Meeting fellow bloggers. Through online interaction and meet-ups at genealogy conferences, I have had the pleasure of meeting other bloggers, many of whom have become some of my closest friends. The Genealogy Blogging Community is a close knit group (really, a family). [Time for a shout out to Thomas MacEntee, whose GeneaBloggers site has been instrumental in connecting and inspiring us.] 

4. Cousin connections. One of the biggest benefits to having a blog is that it greatly increases your chances of connecting with cousins and long-lost relatives, and I have done both many times over the years since I started my blog.

5. Support and encouragement. When I first started to write my blog I had absolutely no idea if I was on the right track or if I was floating alone out in cyberspace. Very soon after my first post, I received welcome messages from blogging pioneers such as DearMyrtle and Randy Seaver of Genea-musings.

6. Sojourn in Slovakia. One of the highlights of my time as a genealogist was being able to visit my ancestral homeland of Slovakia (twice)! Having the blog provided a way to share my experiences.  (See "Sojourn in Slovakia" and "Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel").

7. Fearless Females. I especially enjoy researching and writing about the women in my family tree, and I give presentations and teach courses to help and inspire to do the same. As an extension of this instruction, I run the Fearless Females Blogging Prompt Series on my blog every March in celebration of National Women’s History Month. (The series started in March 2010).

8. Loyal readers. Most people write a blog in hopes of informing, inspiring or interacting with others. Building a blog is something I don’t actively focus on.  Nevertheless, I am grateful to have readers! I don’t post every day, and sometimes I go for long periods of time without writing anything at all, but I appreciate every single person who follows my blog, and in particular, those who have written to me or have told me when we meet in person how much they have enjoyed it whether it was because of a story or tip I have shared, or to thank me for running the Fearless Females series.

So…What’s Next?

I don’t really know. I’m hoping to share additional research finds and write more about how my ancestors influence and inspire me every single day. I also plan on announcing some exciting new concepts and projects I have in the works.  So stay tuned.

Thanks for sticking with me. I look forward to many more years of blogging bliss!

~ Lisa