Probably, by the time you read this post, I will have published over 5000 posts on my Genealogy’s Star blog. If I include the number of posts on my other blogs, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad… and Walking Arizona, as of the date of this particular post, I have published 9,958 blog posts. If I include the number of posts of some of my short-lived other blogs, I have easily written over 10,000 blog posts. In addition, during the same time these blog posts have been written, I have authored or co-authored over 25 books on genealogical research. By the way, if I continue to write at my present rate, I will shortly have over 10,000 blog posts from just my three current blogs. You can also add in over 100 genealogy videos on the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel and innumerable handouts for classes and presentations.
Blogging does have a history. Here is a short overview of the Wikipedia article on the “History of blogging.”
While the term “blog” was not coined until the late 1990s, the history of blogging starts with several digital precursors to it. Before “blogging” became popular, digital communities took many forms, including Usenet, commercial online services such as GEnie, BiX and the early CompuServe, e-mail lists and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). In the 1990s, Internet forum software, such as WebEx, created running conversations with “threads”. Threads are topical connections between messages on a metaphorical “corkboard”. Some have likened blogging to the Mass-Observation project of the mid-20th century.
During the past couple of years, I have written about the decline in genealogy blog posting. Numbers don’t tell everything. There is still a lot of information being put online by individual bloggers as opposed to institutional or commercial bloggers. There are some very active and very impressive new additions to the international blogging community. But notwithstanding those observations, much of the online communication is now going through Facebook and its subsidiary, Instagram.
This topic brings up my own present participation in the online community. As I mentioned recently in a blog post, my wife and I have been called as full-time FamilySearch missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in the Washington D.C. area for one year beginning in December 2017. The calling process actually involves us volunteering to serve and then being officially “called” so it is not a surprise or anything like that. We will be serving as record preservation specialists helping to digitize original genealogically valuable records for FamilySearch.
There is some uncertainty about whether it will be possible to continue to write at my present level simply because of the time commitments of a full-time mission. But on the other hand, there is always the consideration of the time commitment to writing almost every day, day after day for years. Most recently, I have been relying on voice recognition software, Dragon Dictate on my iMac, to transcribe much of what I write. Although voice recognition software facilitates entering information, there is a trade-off in the increased number of typographical errors caused by the inaccuracies inherent in voice recognition. Additionally, I am accustomed to proofreading and rewriting as I go along. Right now, it is a matter of waiting to see exactly what the requirements will be in the future as to how much writing I will be able to if any at all.
One thing is certain, when I return to Provo I will have a lot to write about.