Blogging…Why Bother?

For more than two decades, I have researched my and my spouse’s families’ histories. Initially, I did this for myself and my children—to connect us to the past through our ancestors.

Over time, my tree has grown. New branches have sprouted for the in-laws’, step-families’, and others’ families. Currently, nearly 12,000 people inhabit our combined family trees.

As a butterfly
Beating its wings,
Yearning to be free,
Tales flail in my mind,
Ready to fly.

A little over eight years ago, I decided that I should share the stories of these people with a larger audience, so I began this blog. Some of the tales I tell are inspiring, some are action-packed, some are tragic, and some are appalling.

The problem is that very few want to read my posts, especially my family.

I speak, but no one hears.
I write, but no one reads.
An author without an audience,
I tell tales that
No one wants told.

I swear I feel just like the little child showing off his/her latest drawing who, instead of receiving a pat on the head or a standing ovation, is told, “Who cares?”

Seriously, what does a girl need to do to grow and engage her audience, especially when her own extensive family, who should be her biggest cheerleaders, refuses to even read what she writes?

I know some bloggers possess the secret to success because I have read genealogical websites that garner dozens of likes and comments per post. Heck, there are even genealogical bloggers who post a picture and nothing else who get more thumbs-up than I could ever hope to attain.

According to my stats, the most likes I have received are for my book reviews. Granted, I love reading books and then providing reviews for potential readers, but these reviews take significantly less time and effort than the research and writing of our ancestors’ stories. So again, I ask: “Why the heck am I doing this?”

I have tried everything to engage readers. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are saturated with my posts. Although I do gain likes at these social media sites, it has not grown my blog audience. So, what more can I do? Do I keep writing on, or do I put hang up my keyboard? Hmmm…

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, This Is My Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Blogging…Why Bother?

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  1. I am sad to say, after reading all these comments, that many family history bloggers experience the same dilemma that I am. Well, at least we have each other! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can relate to this and I only started blogging about my family history three months ago, lol. I do really enjoy reading your blog, so I would be happy if you continued!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is encouraging and very, very sweet, Jamie. Thank you. Perhaps you can convince my kin that they should read my blog too? lol

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You’re actually one of the bloggers I look to when I need inspiration; your writing is eloquent yet accessible, and reading one of your posts makes me want to start writing again! (Plus, the posts you’ve written about our common ancestors/common hometowns has always really helped my research.)

    It’s tough, but as long as blogging makes you happy, keep doing it. I tell myself that if it becomes a chore, I’ll stop. Until then–keep writing!

    It’s not the same as having your family read your posts, but I hope this is a little encouraging–we all still want to keep up with your family’s story if you’re willing to stay a while longer!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you, Alistair, for these suggestions. I know that anyone trying to grow his/her following will definitely benefit from your sound advice.

    My introverted self is less concerned about building a huge following of non-family members and more disheartened by my family’s refusal to read my posts.

    For example, in my immediate family, only my spouse is a follower. My parents and siblings could care less. My father is one of ten children; however, only two aunts have shown an occasional interest. From my dad’s nine siblings, I have two dozen first cousins, several of whom blog themselves. None of them like or comment on my blog posts when I share them on Facebook, but they expect me to like/comment on their own blog writings. It hurts, to say the least.

    Thankfully, there are people like you and the others who have chimed in on this post. Your encouragement keeps me writing. For that, I say thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I will keep writing, as it is as necessary to me as breathing. I just wish my relations would at least pretend to be interested. Sigh…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. If you enjoy blogging keep doing it. You could make someone’s day who stumbles on one of your posts through a search engine. You could help a fellow genealogist years down the line.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Don’t give up. You have a great blog and you’re obviously an experienced researcher.

    However, if you really want more traffic, I’d suggest tweaking some of your posts a bit. Genealogy hobbyists are searching the web for advice and information, so if you can make it clear what they will learn from a post, you might get some more views. For example, your interesting post about Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, could be changed to “How I found my medieval ancestors” and then use it as a case study and talk about how you got this far back. Most people get stuck with their research in the early 1800s, so they are always looking for tips to get further back.

    I’d also recommend building up a mailing list which I think is key to genealogy happiness; just ask Dick Eastman with his 75,000 subscribers.

    And I’m sure you could get more traffic from Pinterest with a few changes. Feel free to drop me a line, I’ll tell you what I’ve learnt about Pinterest.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Recently, I said something similar to my spouse when discussing how I am always researching and writing. I must write, I said; otherwise, the words would just beat about my brain.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. We write because we have a story to tell. We hope that it will find a big audience but it is more important that it finds the right audience. It is up to you to write and promote as best you can. If you still have a story and you still enjoy telling it; why stop?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thanks, Eilene. So it’s not just me whose family who would rather have teeth extracted than read family history posts? 😉 And thank you for preferring my genealogical posts to my book reviews. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Please keep on with blogging. Even my closest friends don’t read my blog, and family? Well, the more distant the connection, the more likely to read – go figure. It’s about learning to tell stories for me, as well as sharing my research. I always try to make it interesting for someone who isn’t related to my subject.

    You have lots of fascinating tales on your blog. Funny, but book reviews are something I don’t read. 😁

    Liked by 5 people

  13. I really like the idea that long after we are gone, our genealogical findings and stories live on. 🙂 I want to thank you, Aquila, for being a longtime reader and for your continued support. It makes me happy that you and your spouse appreciate the articles about our shared ancestors. And his thanks to you for giving him his “real history”… priceless.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you, Jane. Although I know that there are people “out there” who want to read what I write, the “talk to the hand” treatment I receive from family when I try to discuss genealogy brings me down. Because genealogy is my passion, I want to share what I love with the ones I love. Oh well…

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I find myself in the same situation concerning the family not bothering to read what I’ve written about our ancestors, plus I’m very erratic about posting. However, since nothing disappears from the internet, at least those posts will be available for those future famiy members. I have gotten a few messages about further information from more distant family members who happened on the blog and actually contacted me. I figure it’s worth keeping the blog so the information stays out there for others to find. I’ve also got a huge number of various family members (I think I’m up to around 17,000 but I haven’t really checked lately). I rarely miss one of your posts and for those ancestors my spouse shares with you and your family I find most helpful. I also do the research for the descendants, who as they age may be more interested in their ancestors. I figure it’s worth the effort even if no one reads anything now. And, yes, pray for the generations that follow as those before prayed for us. We never know when someone might just find those blog posts and have some questions answered or find they do have a history that’s interesting. I know that while my spouse wasn’t exactly interested in his ancestors before I started researching his paternal lines he certainly is now because to quote him, “you gave me my real history, my connections to the events that my family members contributed to, my true stake in this America we live in and how much those people before me, my family, gave to make this country a great one.”

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Keep doing what you’re doing. Just because it seems family aren’t interested now, you never know what the future holds. And for me blogging isn’t about likes & shares etc. It’s about honouring those who have gone before; the sense of achievement each post brings; pulling together various family history strands and maybe spotting gaps or new angles; and writing down/evaluating and improving my research. If it informs or inspires one person that’s a bonus.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. So glad to hear that I am not the only one whose family does not share her genealogical passion. Thanks, Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Linda Stufflebean

    My family is mildly interested in family history, but I blog because I enjoy it and because distant and not so distant cousins have found me and we’ve been able to share information. Do what makes you happy.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Thank you, Carol. What wonderful words of wisdom: “Pray for the generations that follow as the generations before prayed for us.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Carol Radowenchuk

    My family doesn’t care about our history either. I guess some of us feel the connection to our ancestors that others do not? Standing over graves of ancestors that I met for the first time had a feeling that I am not able to describe. A friend once told me that we should pray for the generations that will follow us as the generations before us prayed for us. I would like to think that my greats said a prayer for me. Just keep doing what makes you happy.

    Liked by 3 people

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