Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Are We Nearing the End of Genealogy Blogging?

What a relief. No more blogging. A recent post by Julie Cahill Tarr on her blog "Julie's Genealogy & History Hub" has been gaining some traction in the online genealogical community. The post is entitled, "What Happened to Genealogy Blogging." After coming back to blogging after a hiatus, Julie notes the following:
Out of the 350 blogs found in my reader that hadn’t had a post in over 30 days, 63% hadn’t been posted to within the last 12 months! Of the blogs that had been posted to within the last 12 months, just over half had been posted to within the last 6 months. What’s more, of those 350 blogs, over half hadn’t seen a post in over two years. Here’s how the numbers look:
A while back, I made some of the same observations and had a huge amount of blowback from genealogists who took my observations as a personal insult. So, I will refrain from mentioning any blogs or bloggers. But I am even more convinced now than I was a couple of years ago that Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have basically killed blogging. Sure, I get hundreds of blogs clogging up my reader. Today I had over 1000+ blog posts to deal with. But very few of those turn out to be substantive genealogy blog posts. Almost all of the numbers come from commercial enterprises. So how did Julie Cahill Tarr avoid the dreaded blowback from the genealogy bloggers? Statistics.

She sat there and counted how many bloggers had not posted and provided a chart to prove her point. OK, we can fairly easily divide the genealogy bloggers into two camps: those who have an economic stake in their blogs being online and visible and those who blog either because of enjoyment or compulsion. I will leave it to you to decide what category I fall into. I don't see the commercial blogger backing off any from being visible online. So is there really a fallout? Is genealogy a dead blogging subject? Have I just not looked around and found out that I am the last man standing?

Well, for one thing, genealogy as an interest or passion isn't going away. But the basic methodology of genealogy is changing rapidly. You can only repeat stories about your ancestors for so long until you have to do some really heavy duty research and you can do research or you can blog. So why am I still here? That is a really good question. I did go down through my list of blogs and found that there was a significant number who had not posted in years, but I did not take the time to count through approximately 300 blogs. My impression is, however, that blog posting in general except for clearly commercial enterprises is way down.

For me, the clincher is my family's blog posts. Our family has twenty established blogs. Only seven of those blogs had been posted in the last six months or so. Many had not been active for years. But most of my family posts regularly to Facebook and Instagram.

What does this mean for blogging in the future? I will spend some time thinking about it. But I will have to take into consideration that two of my blogs are at or near their highest readership in their history.


  1. Personal blogs have 2 to 3 advantages over Facebook and other Media. 1. They are more conducive for family stories and pictures and you retain ownership of your material. 2. They get indexed and can be found on the search engines and thus can be used as relative bait. Possibly 3. is that for most blogs, you can download your posts and retain a backup, because you never know when those online services - even Facebook, may shutdown or lock or lose some content.

  2. I agree that genealogy blogging has slowed. I am not sure that means it is dead. My personal blog does not get written as often as I would like but it is not because I am posting my research to social media. For me, it is trying to balance 2 kids and everything else. I feel there is also having to prioritize my genealogy adventures:writing, active research, analyzing and documenting, education, etc. and now DNA. I plan on still writing blog posts but just at a slower rate than when I started.

  3. Other forms of social media might be cutting into blogging, but I blog mainly to find new distant cousins. I'm retired and am surprised that when I get a lead on a new relative, I can't find any presence on social media. When I have no idea who their children might be and the surname isn't rare, it becomes a dead end. Yet, I have been contacted by numerous new cousins who have found my blog.

  4. This could be said with any niche blog. It'snot just genealogy. I have other blogs, in various other niches and blogging is not completely dead, but it needs a revival. Frankly, I love reading blogs and following active blogs. It always saddens me, when I follow a really good blog and then they just stop.

  5. I agree with Louis. I think we all go through phases where blogging takes a back seat to life, but I find that it's helpful to me, and my research, to articulate my discoveries....a form of thinking out loud whether anyone else is madly interested or not. Luckily many Aussie genealogy blogs are being archived by the National Library's Pandora offshoot so hopefully our descendants will be bale to find them in the years to come.

  6. James,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  7. I liken this reduction in genealogy blog posts to any fad. Like collecting cards or stamps or writing a diary, hula hoops or the frisbee. Things are popular and then less popular. Some have a revival. Others popularity can be cyclical.
    So I don't worry about how popular something is or not if I want to do it. So there are numerous reasons I will blog until I find another hobby.
    I like the technical side of blogging, things like finding how to make my blog do something, I like trying to write better, cousin bait, sharing my trips with friends and cousins, sharing snippets of research, documenting my family, blogging helps support my work skills and there are probably more.
    So cars replaced carts and horses, squash used to be very popular, permed hair was the in style. Times change. Does it really matter? Should I be thinking about this or doing my assignment due next week?

  8. I have said this a number of times - I don't know how a blogger can turn out even one blog day after day. I have a blog that I liken to a journal of yesteryear. I write it when I'm on a trip for geocaching. I've returned from 39 days away. I managed to get half the trip done while I was away. I've yet to do the rest. It is difficult to put everything into a life. Bravo Zulu (flag speak for well done) to those who can do it regularly.

  9. It's been a really interesting discussion. I'm actually surprised at how many people felt the need to weigh in with their own reasons and observations. This actually helped me jumpstart my way back to regular blogging, and I've seen others who were in similar positions also stick their toes back in the water. Thanks for sharing your thoughts too, James.