Category: Writing for Genealogy

And the Work Proceeds…

I’ve been incredibly busy since my return from New England while trying to incorporate all the new “stuff” I found and figured out while I was gone. I’ve got several blog posts planned – just haven’t had time to write them!

I’ve gotten some parts of the book pinned down and having decided on a structure (which still may change before publication), I now have a partial table of contents that I can release for those who are interested.

Since I’m formatting and typesetting as I write, the decisions are being made on the fly but I believe I’ve created an arrangement that will allow me to deliver the genealogical information in a format that will be easier to follow than traditional genealogies. After all, what I want is something that folks can read – while not having to figure out where in the world they are at the same time. (I haven’t had readers to test this out yet – and I will need readers before it goes to print. If you are interested, please contact me.)

In general each of James’ children get one chapter. Some of their children get their own chaper. There are two chapters that tell some great stories about two Mainers who went south, one to Virginia and one to Florida. I also give strong weight and a chapter to my third great-grandfather and the families of us second and third cousins, the ones I found during this journey.

The table of contents are in a PDF format so you can download it or read it online.  You can view the Wilson book table of contents here.

Scholarly Writing on the Web

I have an English degree. I have written a grammar book. I taught English for many years. I have been a web developer since 2000. I have written blog posts for almost that long. And, oh boy, this blog is a challenge.

The most important thing a genealogist can do is document. I'll say it again: the most important thing a genealogist can do is document.

So that means footnotes. No problem. I had to do a brush up on footnotes and the like because it's been a really long time since I had to obey style guides. And then it gets even trickier. There are recommendations; there are requirements – possibly differing requirements – by associations, certification boards, the Chicago Manual of Style. It's all enough to make one dizzy. 

I've bought books and laminated cheatsheets from Amazon but I'm planning on certification from The Board of Certification of Genealogists. They recommend Chicago Manual of Style as well as a book that was just published last year – after I bought several others – and a book that costs $60 bucks in print but free edition exists online as an entire website.

So mastering the basics was what I did in the first 100 hours of the Wilson project. Writing required keeping one or more of the resources on hand at all times. Then there are footnotes online.

I can find literally reams of resource material for genealogy, for citing online resources, but most genealogists aren't writing for the web. Newsletters and magazines are still in print (yes!!) but when posted online, they are in the PDF format. Most folks aren't blogging and giving away info for free. (Note to self: don't tell all!)

There has to be a balance of HTML, readability, navigation and proper citations online. Now that's complicated. I found several pages, blogs, question and answer forums that addressed this. As usual, everyone on the internet has an opinion.

So in the end I've decided to follow the format of wikipedia.org. Of course, due to the complicated nature of WikiPedia's style sheets, not all info was accessible. So I experimented; I got irritated. WordPress balked. The WP editor didn't do it the way I wanted. So back to old style, creating HTML and pasting it into the editor in admin.

I really hate it when I cannot bend a javascript editor to my will. Alas, Xinha, I miss you! Geez, even the website for it is gone. So goes the way of the internet. They come and they go.

Now back to your regularly sheduled program…