Category Archives: Blogging

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. 🙂


Empty Branches – 7th Blogiversary: Genea-Gems for All!

Yet another year has flown by and Empty Branches is now 7 years old!

I’ve rarely paid attention to stats in the last few years, but I am proud of several.

  1. I’ve posted 2,042 articles, including at least one every day since September 2014!
  2. My best one-day of views was 825!
  3. Readers have taken the time to leave 2,439 comments. Thank you. While it may look like I don’t respond to many of them, I actually privately email each reader.

Thank you – readers and newly found cousins – for 7 fun years!

Many bloggers share past posts that are favorites, have the most views, etc. I’ve decided to share my Genea-Gems, discovered during the past 7 years. They are always popular and, because of the varied topics and websites, there is something here for everyone to explore.

The list has gotten quite lengthy, but here they all are:

1. State Library and Archives (Posted 24 Sept 2014)
2. Historical Societies (Posted 25 September 2014)
3. State Genealogical Societies (Posted 26 September 2014)
4. Ethnic Societies (Posted 27 September 2014)
5. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) General Land Office (GLO) (Posted on 14 Jan 2015)
6. Boston Public Library (Posted on 18 Mar 2015)
7. United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization (1791-1906). (Posted 18 May 2015)
8. Kentucky State Tax Records  (Posted 14 June 2015)
9. FamilySearch Wiki (Posted 22 June 2015)
10. Oklahoma WPA Project (Posted 28 June 2015).
11. WhatWasThere (Posted 9 July 2015) – website linked to Google Maps that allows you to upload historical photos and overlay them in current neighborhoods. There is a fade in-fade out feature on the photo to compare present and past views. Free to register and use and lots of fun!
12. Genealogical Newsletters and Periodicals (Posted 22 August 2015)
13. Masonic Membership Cards Online (Posted 11 February 2016)
14. Moravian Church Records, North Carolina (Posted 23 April 2016)
15. MyHeritage Digital Book Collection for Free (Posted 28 May 2016)
16. ArchiveGrid (Posted 21 June 2016)
17. Book Review: Elements of Genealogical Analysis by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG (Posted 30 June 2016)
18. Book Review: Organize Your Genealogy by Drew Smith (Posted on 27 July 2016)
19. BSO Alert: Brad Lyon’s Exploring Family Trees (Beta) (Posted 13 September 2016)
20. Missouri Probate Records on FamilySearch (Posted 22 October 2016)
21. U.S. State Digital Collections (Posted 1 November 2016)
22. 1866 VA Census of Children of Ceased Cohabitation (Posted 2 November 2016)
23. Revisiting Stephen Morse’s One-Step Web Pages (Posted 14 November 2016)
24. DPLA & Family History Research (Posted 18 April 2017)
25. The Gateway to Oklahoma History (Posted 19 April 2017)
26. Oklahoma School Records 1895-1936 on FamilySearch (Posted 10 October 2017)
27. Tips & Quips for the Family Historian (Posted 19 November 2017)
28. Google Play and Genealogy: New GeneaGem (Posted 2 January 2018)
29. New GeneaGem: PhotoTree (Posted 10 January 2018)
30. Chronicling America Tab – U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present (Posted 5 February 2018)
31. GenGateway (Posted 21 June 2018)
32. Some New Research GeneaGems – Archives & Library Aids (Posted 15 December 2018)
33. History of American & Canadian Funeral Customs (Posted 12 January 2019)
34. GeneaGem: Oral Histories of Aroostook County, Maine (Posted 16 March 2019)
35. New GeneaGem: American Panorama (Posted 16 May 2019)
36. New GeneaGem: American History & Genealogy Project (Posted 28 May 2019)
37. New GeneaGem: FamilySearch Wiki Page – U.S. Libraries and Archives (Posted 26 June 2019)
38.New GeneaGem: Genealogy Village (Posted 13 August 2019)
39. New GeneaGem: Mapping the Nation (Posted 9 October 2019)
40. New GeneaGem: NARA Record Group Explorer (Posted 27 January 2020)
41. New GeneaGem: Digital Library on American Slavery (Posted 19 February 2020)
42. New GeneaGem: NARA Prologue – Genealogy Notes (Posted 8 September 2020)