Category Archives: Blogging

A Decade Old: Empty Branches 10th Blogiversary!

A decade has really flown by, in spite of all that has happened in the world during the past ten years. Actually, blogging has been a terrific hobby to have since quite a bit of time was spent at home!

I rarely look at my blog statistics anymore, but I do have favorite blog posts to share. As much as I love telling the stories of the ancestors in my family tree, I also get excited when I find new resources and share methodology hints.

Here are a few of my favorite posts from 2023:

Using City Directories in Family History Research

Are you Leveling Up Your Genealogy Research?

Mail Call! Our Ancestors and the Post Office, Resources, Part 2

50+ (Mostly) Free Essential Resources for Genealogy Research

Genealogy: 20 Facts That Might Be Found in Land Deeds

A series of posts that I spread out over many months were the abstractions of St. Dimitry’s Church books from Udol and Hajtovka, Slovakia. I know they wouldn’t be favorite reading for most people, but there are literally thousands of descendants of villagers who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century.

I spent months abstracting all the baptisms, marriages and burials in a century of records and wanted to make my work available to all those distant cousins who might be looking for information on their Rusyn roots. I have heard from a number of people who have thanked me, so the time I spent on that project was well worth it.

I have added a new tab on my home page – Carpatho-Rusyn Resource Toolbox. It contains a lengthy list of resources for those who want to learn more about, or research, Rusyn heritage.

Thank you to all my regular readers and the occasional distant cousins who find my blog and take the time to leave a comment and make a family connection.

Empty Branches 9th Blogiversary!

I find it quite remarkable that I’ve completed NINE years of fun blogging. My husband not only said that he didn’t think I’d keep with it, he also can’t believe that I still find ancestors and genealogy tips to write about.

Instead of sharing blog statistics or lists of favorite posts, I’d like to encourage anyone thinking about starting a genealogy blog to just jump in and do it.

I am not a techie type person and just bought a couple of books on Word Press. I browsed them and then set up my blog, using the books as references when I had questions. It wasn’t difficult – it really wasn’t.

I decided early on that I wanted to self host because I wanted to maintain control over what I wrote without the interference of ads. That meant that I did, and do, pay for my hosting service and for several plug ins.

However, there is a free version of Word Press and Blogger, owned by Google, is also a free blogging platform.

I choose to, and am motivated by, posting something new every day. I don’t get stressed about getting posts done because I have a very healthy, lengthy number of posts in my queue, waiting to go live each day.

That provides a buffer for me. If I don’t have time to write a post on a particular day, or I am busy on some genealogy project that isn’t ready to have anything written up, I know there is a post in the queue already.

My original goal when I began blogging was two-fold – to share both ancestral stories and genealogy research and resources tips – and that remains my primary purpose.

The ancestral stories have been found by MANY readers and the tips and tricks have also brought reader comments. In fact, over 4,200 comments have been left by those who have found my blog and wanted to share information or ask for help.

I occasionally respond to comments with a comment of my own on the blog, but, most often, I directly contact the reader to thank him/her, to answer questions or to offer suggestions.

Therefore, if you are thinking about it, I highly recommend blogging as a way to share your own family history.

As for this 9th blogiversary, I’d just like to thank everyone who has visited and hope that you find something of interest in my future posts as I head into my 10th year.

Thank you, Readers!

Empty Branches – 8th Blogiversary!

It’s one day early, but Empty Branches will celebrate its 8th blogiversary tomorrow. I have to admit that 8 years have flown by and I’ve loved every minute of it.

  1. I’ve posted 2,812 articles, including at least one every day since September 2014.
  2. My best one-day total views was 831.
  3. I’ve had 378, 484 page views.
  4. Readers have taken the time to leave 3,802 comments. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to do that. While it may look like I don’t respond to many of them, I actually privately email readers.

I’m not one to spend much time patting myself on the back, so instead of sharing my “best” or favorite posts, I’d like instead to guide you to the tabs underneath the header photo above.

Over the years, I’ve added to and expanded links in each of those categories. Please take a few minutes to check out:

County Histories – links to thousands of digitized county histories for all 50 U.S. states

Education & Methodology – dozens of links to MOSTLY free resources to sharpen one’s research skills

GeneaGems – links great websites that I’ve come across on a wide variety of topics and places

Genetic Genealogy – Just like it sounds – free resources to learn more about genealogy & DNA

Maps and Land Records – self explanatory!

Non-U.S. Links – also self explanatory, but mostly covering locations to which my own research has led

Reference Tools & Organization – self explanatory!

U.S. State & General Links – links to resources in all 50 states, at the state level

Lastly, I’d like to thank every person who has taken the time to read my blog. I’ve heard from so many distant cousins and made many new virtual friends who I someday hope to meet.

Another wonderful benefit that I’ve found in blogging is that it has forced me to learn so much more about my ancestors’ lives, their cultures and the times in which they lived. I’ve enjoyed every new discovery.

When I started Empty Branches 8 years ago, my husband never thought I’d stick with it because of the technology end of things. Well, I’ve managed to learn just enough to make me dangerous, but I’m cautious enough to look for help with issues arise – like a couple of days ago when a new Jetpack plugin update broke my site! Thankfully, the tech support I have fixed everything and problems don’t really happen very often.

I’m looking forward to another fun year of sharing stories, tips and resources. I tell everyone my blog is my baby and I’m loving what I’m doing. 🙂