Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blogging for Cousins? How about blogging for help?

Often genealogy and family history bloggers refer to their blog posts as "cousin bait." In other words, the blogger is trying to leverage the power of search and social media to catch the attention of potential cousins with a few well chosen keywords in their posts. It works very well, I've had cousins and other researchers working on the same family line find me through my blog and that is a rewarding feeling.

While I do hope my blog finds new cousins, I'm not opposed to leveraging the power of search and social media for some good, old fashioned help! This approach can work equally if not better than using your blog as bait.

I will post about a particular ancestor or challenge I am facing in my research and ask straight up "does anyone have any suggestions?" I can't think of one post that someone, from somewhere didn't offer to help, make a suggestion or point me in the right direction. The help doesn't just fall into your lap, it can take some time but it's usually always worth the wait.

There is no shame in asking for help, we are all in this together. Just remember to pay that help forward.


  1. I love the idea of social genealogy. We need not search in isolation and this is a great community.

    One of my most successful brick wall strategies is to walk away long enough that I can go back to the evidence with fresh eyes. Well, blogging a genealogical problem forces us to really examine what we have vs. what we don't. It requires us to lay out our assumptions and working theories for others to examine. What better 'fresh eyes' can you get.

    Great post Jenna!

  2. I like your attitude here. It's great. I routinely ask for suggestions in the comments, because I'm so new. People are so generous in offering genealogical tips, that it has bowled me over. When I started a "brick wall" series of post, several suggestions streamed right in, and one of them was absolutely KEY to dismantling my brick wall.

    As I get more knowledgeable, I'll be better at "paying it forward" -- a principle I really believe in.

  3. Rorey, fresh eyes and a second set of eyes are always helpful. Some times we get too close to the problem to view it objectively. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Mariann, while others are usually very generous with offering help, I often find that the process of developing and typing up the question is helpful as well. Thanks for commenting.