|Sears Catalog home, 1908-1914|
Five years ago, I started writing the Boston Genealogy Examiner column at Examiner.com. I didn’t have specific deadlines to meet or assigned topics to cover. I could be my own boss and write about what I love. The premise seemed easy: The more you wrote, the more followers you collected, the better your payday. I knew I could never be as prolific as Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist, or Heather Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy, but I knew I had something to contribute.
I had so many story ideas that at first it was hard to concentrate. I had my niche—Boston, though I broadly defined that as all of New England since no one was encroaching on my territory—and genealogy was one of the most popular topics on the Internet. How hard could it be? I wrote articles and I learned how to tweet and stumbleupon and post story links to Facebook. The pennies slowly started rolling in.
While the Examiner site grew into a “dynamic entertainment, news, and lifestyle network,” my little column was lost in the channel shuffling. You needed to follow me on social media to find my posts or have telepathic powers to Google my latest topic. And then a funny thing happened. A couple of months ago, I stopped writing my Examiner column but continued to post news and events on its associated Facebook page—and in a short time, my number of “likes” multiplied. I had that aha! moment where I realized I had built a genealogy community outside of its original home and found the real people I wanted to reach.
Over the last couple of months, I have posted 120+ of my Examiner articles to my Genealogy Ink blog. In the process, I widened my scope , updated storylines, and checked links for what I’d call my “evergreen” articles, plus written new ones. I hope you join me on my new adventure.