Thursday, August 27, 2015

Don't Be Afraid To Wander Around

Once again I am going to remind you that you sometimes need to get out of your comfort zone and explore the world a bit. There are so many things to find and much of it can be helpful.

Today I stumbled upon a website called which is full of books, software, tips and tools to make a family historians job easier and more productive. I found it by accident and thought some of you might find it useful.

Starting next month I am taking a five-week course on blogging your family history. After much research and thought I have decided that blog-to-book is going to be the vehicle for writing my family history narrative. I won't go into all the reasons for that decision, but when the blog is up and running, you will all be invited to come along for the ride. In the meantime, I am doing a LOT of preparation for the course and building the framework for the blog (our "summer" homework). That means I have been wandering the internet reading blogs and looking for "stuff" that will help me build and populate my own blog. I am curious about how others approached the same type of writing project; what kind of blog they built; what kind of material they wrote about; what kind of visual aids they used.  Many of them are very engaging.  I want my blog to be engaging, too.  How do they do it?  How can I do it? I wander around a lot, read a lot, and take a lot of notes. My Evernote inbox is bursting with links to stuff I want to go back to. You may think that is wasted time, but it has had tremendous pay-offs for me.  It's how I find a lot of very useful "stuff".

At one time in my life I was a collector of books. I was a voracious reader and made it a point to always buy hard-cover, first-edition books whenever possible. One day, my plan was to retire and run a used bookstore in Paris. I was building an inventory. Some of my best stuff was procured while spending hours wandering around used bookstores, climbing ladders and finding what was hidden behind what was obvious. I have re-tooled those skills and now apply them to the Internet.

You never know what you will stumble upon. There are hidden treasures everywhere - and the more curious you are - the more questions you ask - the more you will find. There is always someone out there who already did what you are trying to do. There is a lot to be learned from them.  You never know who or what you will stumble upon.

So don't be afraid to wander around out there!  You don't have to get dressed up or even get dressed at all!

--submitted by Denise Doyon

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