A web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically - like a what's new page or a journal. They contain information related to a specific topic. In some cases blogs are used as daily diaries about people's personal lives, political views, or even as social commentaries. In other cases, a blog is an e-newsletter. The truth of the matter is that blogs can be shaped into whatever the author wants them to be.
Many genealogy-related blogs are available today, including:
Short Family Web Site web log (blog) designed to bring the latest news from the members of the Short Family and their web site to friends and family: http://www.shortfamilyonline.com/life
Matt Misbach's Genealogy News (you will need an XML RSS newsreader for this one): http://misbach.org/news.rss
RadixLog, a blog for news for Hungarian family history: http://www.radixlog.com/
Genealogy Roots Blog - for finding online records and resources: http://genrootsblog.blogspot.com/
Megan's Roots World: http://megansrootsworld.blogspot.com/
The Alter Family Genealogy: http://www.altergenealogy.net/blog
The Genealogue: http://genealogue.blogspot.com/
Random Genealogy: http://randomgenealogy.com/
Oakville Black Walnut: http://oakvilleblackwalnut.blogspot.com/
NOTE: If you know of other genealogy-related blogs, please list them above this line.
The word "blog" sounds like one of those "techie words" that describes some black magic understood only by programmers, systems analysts, and others who regularly invoke incantations not understood by mere mortals. In fact, blogs are actually very simple, perhaps even simpler than the Web page or e-mail message that you are now viewing at this moment. You can read blogs easily, even without a technical understanding of the underlying technology. The purpose of this article is to help de-mystify the word "blog."
Blog is short for "web log." The web site Blogger.com defines a blog as "a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically - like a what's new page or a journal. They contain information related to a specific topic."
In some cases blogs are used as daily diaries about people's personal lives, political views, or even as social commentaries. In other cases, a blog is an e-newsletter. The truth of the matter is that blogs can be shaped into whatever the author wants them to be.
The roots of blogging can be traced back to the mid 1990s although they did not really take hold until 1999. The original "weblogs" were personal commentaries full of links to other Web sites. Today, however, blogs have evolved into news sites and other Web content.
Blogs come in several formats. They can be written as normal HTML pages like any other Web page. In fact, this newsletter has been a blog in HTML for years. However, in the past few years, specialized software has been developed which simplifies creation of blogs and also allows easy "syndication" (republishing of articles elsewhere). You may not recognize the names of the tools, but then again, you don't need to know much about them, not even if you want to create a blog of your own. You may see programming terms like XML, RSS, RDF or Atom bantered about, but as a user, all you need to do is open a Web browser.
Most blogs will let you read their documents either as text in a standard Web browser or by using special "newsreader" programs. Newsreaders take the best of two worlds - Web ease and email familiarity - letting you read the news you want simply and quickly. In most cases, the newsreader will download new blog items the same way your email program downloads new messages; you can then read your blogs offline at your leisure, something that dial-up users will especially appreciate. Unlike e-mail programs, however, these readers are not subject to spam messages or spam filters since they do not use mail servers. Also, even though the blogs are a kind of Web page, newsreaders let you choose the information you want to read; you are never bothered with unwanted advertising intrusions from third parties, pop-up windows you never asked for, or mazes of Web pages that make you forget where you started.
There are many newsreader programs available today for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux systems. Many newsreaders are available free of charge. Some come bundled in with other software; for example, Opera, an excellent free Web browser and e-mail program for Windows and Linux, already has a built-in blog XML reader. Finally, there is even an online blog reader.
You can find a list of blog newsreaders on Google. Note that many of the blog newsreaders are available free of charge.
One free RSS (blog) newsreader is Web-based: it requires no software installation in your computer and works equally well on Windows, Macintosh, Linux and other operating systems. BlogLines is very popular, probably because it is so easy to use. For more information, look at http://www.bloglines.com. To read Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter's blog in BlogLines, go to http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2004/06/bloglines.html.
Most blog newsreaders also allow you to look at several news sites that are publishing in XML now. It's hard to imagine the speed and ease of displaying exactly what you want, but people who try out a newsreader seem pleased and even relieved with its simplicity. It only takes a mouse click to quickly move between a genealogy newsletter, world news, stock market info, and your favorite comic strip, all in one application that is as easy to use as your present e-mail program.
Blogs are becoming popular among genealogists, both for news and for keeping journals of research activities. They obviously work well for newsletters. Family societies are discovering that blogs are also excellent methods of coordinating research among several members.
For directories of genealogy blogs, look at