Colleen Greene’s Genealogy Snapshot

Colleen Greene wrote an easy to follow guide on how she adds her Genealogy Snapshot Boxes to her blog and shared the post with the Genealogy Bloggers group on Facebook yesterday.

Colleen
WordPress for Genealogy: Adding a Lineage Snapshot Box to Blog Posts About Ancestors, Part I

I have little experience with html and am always glad for any help I can get. My blog is on Worpress.com and not self-hosted so I can’t do the nice box that she has. I’ve seen this on several of Colleen’s posts (such a cool idea) and wanted to do something similar. I didn’t want to steal her idea but when she posted her how-to I had to try it out.

First I changed the name to Genealogy Sketch and since I can’t use a box I added a short row of symbols to separate it from the upper part of this blogpost: 52 Ancestors: #52 Levina DOSS – Another Unmarried Mother and How She Helped Me Bring This Challenge Finale to an End with a Bang!

sketch
Screenshot from my 52 Ancestors: #52 post from 2014.

Colleen wrote, “You are welcome to copy and paste my code into your own blog to try it out and keep using it if you want.” Thank you Colleen. If you want to try doing your own or Colleen’s version visit her blogpost for instructions.

I am going to be adding my Genealogy Sketch to the new 52 Ancestors posts this year and when I have a few moments I’ll go in and add them to the ones from last year.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

How I write my 52 Ancestors posts in 4 easy lessons (4)

Schalene Jennings Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees and I made a deal. I would write about how I keep everyone straight while writing my 52 Ancestors post and she would tell me how to find a book on the minutes of the annual conferences of the Methodist church.

Part 4 – Pulling it all together

I was joking in part 3 about sending the post to my editor.
It isn’t ready for anyone to see – yet.

Most of the writing is done. Before reading through the entire post for the first time, to be sure it flows the way I want it to flow, there are a few things I do first:

  1. Images: choose size, position, add captions, and check the box to open link in another window/tab
  2. Sources: edit the sources generated with the timeline and add any new sources used while writing
  3. Links: add links to online information and other blogposts (children or parents)
  4. Format: check to see if the text format is consistent
  5. Tags: add surnames, places, etc.
  6. Preview: use the preview feature to check images, sources, format, tags in post and test all links

saveThe post now looks the way I want it to look but does it read the way I want it to read?

splitFor the first read through of the post I have two tabs open (split screen) – one for the editing window and one for the Preview version of the post. If I stay in editing mode I keep rewriting or will go off searching for something to add. In the Preview version I stick to reading, only moving to the editing tab/screen if there is a spelling error or a sentence needs to be fixed.

The second time I read through the blogpost I try to read it outloud (in my head). This forces me to read each word and helps me to notice the little typos or mistake that are missed during speed reading. I know that I’ve been mumbling the text when my husband asks, “Aren’t they doing what you want them to do?” or “Who’s giving you problems now?”

One last read through and it’s ready to publish.

publishI hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how I write my 52 Ancestors blogposts. I’d love to hear what you might do differently.

Part 1 – Preparation
Part 2 – Gathering my eggs
Part 3 – It’s time to write
Part 4 – Pulling it together

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

How I write my 52 Ancestors posts in 4 easy lessons (3)

Schalene Jennings Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees and I made a deal. I would write about how I keep everyone straight while writing my 52 Ancestors post and she would tell me how to find a book on the minutes of the annual conferences of the Methodist church.

Part 3 – It’s time to write

When I was in high school (Spirit of ’76) we were taught to draw up an outline, keep notes and sources on index cards, and use both to write. There might have been more to it but that’s what stuck.

Everyone has their own way of writing. I’m not saying mine is better, only that this is what works best for me with the 52 Ancestors posts.

For this particular challenge my blogposts on my ancestors are quite long as I want to include everything I have about their lives. Several family members are hoping to see it in book form when the challenge is over.

The way they are planned I know that I will be doing the wife of the ancestor the following week so I have to decide what I want to include in the first and what to save for the second. Depending on which spouse lived longer I might concentrate more on the children in the post of the spouse who lived the longest.

The timeline is my outline and, being in chronological order, I can work my way through the ancestor’s life without losing tract of the time period. Before I begin to write I choose the images I want to include in the post and add them to the rough draft of the timeline. Seeing the images helps keep me focused on what I want to write.

notes
Screenshot of part of the timeline with notes that have been added to the draft for Week #37
image
Screenshot of some of the images (thumbnails) that I plan to use in my Week #37 post.

 

When I begin to write I don’t necessarily start at the beginning and work forward. Instead of shuffling index cards, I write a few thoughts or sentences for the major events in the timeline. Adding muscle to the bones.

bullet
Draft of my blogpost for Week #37 with bulleted list of siblings.

The siblings of my ancestor are secondary characters and to highlight them I sometimes use a bulleted list for their births. This way they are listed together and can be easily referred to when mentioned later in the narrative. While I’m writing I might decide that I want to include more or less on the siblings. It all depends on how I feel they influenced my ancestor.

saveI don’t write my posts in one sitting. When I’m writing I find questions cropping up that need to be answered. I save my draft (I do this often, just in case) and search for whatever is bothering me. If I find something new I add the link in the text or note the source in the list that was generated with the timeline.

If I get stuck or frustrated about how it’s going I switch gears. I might check on the images I want to use in the post or make screen shots of this or that document. Or I’ll do something else, away from my laptop.

saveOccasionally I have problems writing a post and I’ll ignore it for a day or two. This is not a full time job although sometimes the ancestor may think otherwise. I try to plan several blocks of time during the week prior to the deadline so that I can work on my posts.

When time starts to run short, I switch gears again, and hope that nothing will get in the way of the speeding train. I work good (or is it well? – need to check the grammar while writing) under pressure and deadlines are an incentive.

saveParts of the timeline are deleted as paragraphs are written and finally the post more or less flows. And then it’s time for my editor to join in on the fun. 

Part 1 – Preparation
Part 2 – Gathering my eggs
Part 3 – It’s time to write
Part 4 – Pulling it together

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

How I write my 52 Ancestors posts in 4 easy lessons (2)

Schalene Jennings Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees and I made a deal. I would write about how I keep everyone straight while writing my 52 Ancestors post and she would tell me how to find a book on the minutes of the annual conferences of the Methodist church. I found the book on my own but I’m sticking to the deal.

Part 2 – Gathering my eggs

Once upon a time, I worked for an American bank’s branch office in Luxembourg. First in the back office and later as a credit analyst. The skills I developed while working there have benefited my genealogy research. Organization had top priority, always. Much time was spent filing “things” as soon as they hit the desk. I did a lot of copying and pasting – before we had computers. Although I enjoyed the work, I no longer want to keep paper files unless absolutely necessary. The discipline I learned helps me keep my digital genealogy research organized.

Before I begin to write I gather all my eggs in one basket! This means being sure that everything that has been researched has been inputted into my genealogy software, Ancestral Quest 14. Legacy, Family Tree Maker, and Rootsmagic have similar features. I’ve used AQ for over 10 years and am very happy with what I can do with it and what it can do for me.

individual
Family view on AncestralQuest 14

I check the ancestor’s parents and siblings for any missing information. Then I do the same for his wife/her husband and children. I want all events covered for the three generations before I can go on to the next step. I have to admit that I do not use the full potential of AQ when it comes to Events as I have favored the Notes section (below) for census listings, etc. for many years. [I’m working on this!]

notes
Notes window in AncestralQuest 14.

I then generate a timeline which includes parents, siblings, and children with their events; notes* for the main individual, notes for marriage, and sources. The genealogy software will allow you to choose how much or how little you want included in the timeline.
*I’ve always kept notes for all individuals in my database are in chronological order – similar to a story line.

timeline
Timeline view on AncestralQuest 14

AQ14 gives me a choice between a pdf or a text file. I copy the entire text of the pdf and insert it into my blogpost. The notes, which are at the end of the timeline, are then moved up into the right time period on the timeline. Sources can stay at the bottom for the time being. [Did I mention that I used to do a lot of copying and pasting?]

Part 1 – Preparation
Part 2 – Gathering my eggs
Part 3 – It’s time to write
Part 4 – Pulling it together

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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How I write my 52 Ancestors posts in 4 easy lessons (1)

Schalene Jennings Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees and I made a deal. I would write about how I keep everyone straight while writing my 52 Ancestors posts and she would tell me how to find a book on the minutes of the annual conferences of the Methodist church. I found the book on my own but I’m sticking to the deal.

Part 1 – Preparation

When I started the Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks I had a plan. I decided to do only my paternal line; working my way back – starting with my father, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. They are all scheduled – to the end of the year.

paternal

#1 Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY

maternal

The first thing I did was to start a post for each ancestor. Title [#, name, years born and died], the blurb about the challenge, and the image I use:

 

blurb
Blurb about the challenge and my image

When I begin writing about the ancestor who is next in line, the draft is ready and waiting.

Part 1 – Preparation
Part 2 – Gathering my eggs
Part 3 – It’s time to write
Part 4 – Pulling it together

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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