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Jan 13 13 5:23 AM

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If you've come to the family history challenge because you are thinking of using a family history blog to write your family stories then I've started this new thread so you can as your questions here. I noticed many are using the challenge to either write their blog posts for an existing blog or to start one. Family history blogs serve wonderful purposes and we can explore what your goal is in starting a blog because that can change how you set-up and write the blog. We have a lot of bloggers in the community who can share their advice. Please ask your questions were here to help. 

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#2 [url]

Jan 18 13 7:27 AM

Like dcarder2, I don't plan to use a blog to actually display my Story in progress, but rather as an augment to my regular website which I use to communicate status to my family members who must login to read content.  I guess I am "old-school" and value some privacy.  I have already had cases where people have taken things from my site and posted to commercial sites violating Usage Permissions.

So my Blog, which is still in progress of being recreated will replace the normal "Articles" capability I have used in the past to let family members and others know of progress.  I plan to do the same for this Writing Challenge.  But I am thinking that the story segments will be posted on my website, but require user login to access.  Still working through the details to be able to support this on my website.

I do have a question about Copyright, not that I necessarily plan to publish and sell my story. 

It is my understanding that once you publish/post material and photos online in a public fashion that you lose some of your ability to commercially publish the material in a book.  Is that a concern that others might have?


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#3 [url]

Jan 18 13 8:03 AM

I was wondering the same thing.  If you use a blog to post your book as it happens, then are you unable to publish it as a book (say, a paperback)?  I have heard that most (if not all) publishers like to have "first publishing rights", which means that you have never published it anywhere else - and that includes the internet!

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#4 [url]

Jan 18 13 10:00 PM

In response to Tom's concerns about people taking things:

1. I had one of my tribalpages family websites stolen.  I don't just mean some info but the entire website.  They put the link to my website into a form or whatever is used on Ancestry to create a "public story" so if anyone clicked to open the story, it took them to my website where they could take my copyrighted narrative.
I kept my 4 tribalpages sites public so other descendants could find and connect with me to share and exchange.  I didn't want to password protect these sites but after one got stolen, I did.
2. If you set up a website and/or blog on, there's a code you can put in the header which prevents anyone from copying or right clicking to save.  If you go to my website or blog and try to copy or right click, nothing happens.  It is the only place I will put pictures or stories, is a free server.

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#5 [url]

Jan 19 13 5:21 AM

When I first started blogging a little over two years ago, I had the same concerns. For that reason, I use my blogs as a means to organize my research and my thoughts. I never write narrative for my book as such for the very reasons mentioned above. On my site devoted to writing challenges, I plan on writing about the process...what I've done to plan, organize, archive, what I do to get the writing juices flowing...stuff like that. I will be keeping my chapters private for the most part...but perhaps I might share a paragraph here and there. My motto has always been, keep 'em wanting more. So, if I put it all out there, no one will need to buy a book later. 

But for people who don't plan on writing a book they want to have published, i.e. a self-published book for family purposes only, then a book online could be helpful for sharing with family.

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#6 [url]

Jan 19 13 6:10 AM

A follow-up.  My website for the most part is password protected except for some articles (now blogs) and a Public Genealogy Database; everything else pretty much requires login.  Unfortunately the person who lifted the photos and placed them on Ancestry, was distantly related :(

My Public Database only includes Names, Dates and Places.  No sources, no events, no photos (except a few thumbnails), and no Notes (stories).  But the public database is indexed by search engines, and through this I have connected with others also searching for names listed in it.  Often these are individuals on the perephery of my data.  

But then having a public database did connect me almost two years ago to a person in Germany who has helped me greatly in breaking down the brick walls to find details about some of my emigrant ancestors, and helping with translating documents.   So having public database for me works. Just don't steal and post commerically the details of what you find should I give you access.

In a similar vein, my blogs will also require login to read more than the beginning part of the post.  I am thinking about enabling members of this forum to access those blogs.  But first I have get past some user registration problems caused by the blogging component I installed.  The native site runs Joomla.


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#7 [url]

Jan 20 13 8:02 AM

With regards to Copyright. I'm not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that by publishing your work online you do not give up any rights. Many publishers are looking at bloggers now as sources for books. You can turn your blog into a book, of course there may be duplicate information from the blog in the book but like Deb says if this is your intention from the start, be aware of that and hold some information back. You do not release any of your rights by publishing online. If you have signed a contract with a publisher prior to starting the blog that's another matter. But since many are blogging pre-book it is not a concern. Having a blog will actually make you look more attractive to publishers because you have a built in fan base. Of course, nothing stops you from self-publishing and not having to give up any rights to a publisher. 

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#8 [url]

Jan 24 13 8:48 AM

I love to blog about writing family history--share things I've learned about the process and sometimes pieces of story. It would be hard for me to blog the whole story though because I am constantly revising and then I would want to get rid of the parts that weren't "finished." Collaborating with other family members has also been very fruitful for me. I found one cousin who had information I didn't through her blog. Even though some of what we "knew" was different, by comparing notes we saw common threads and also where we each had made mistakes. 

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#9 [url]

Jan 25 13 4:54 AM

Joy your not alone on this feeling. I believe that blogging can be a great tool to help you write that first draft. It is completely open to revision, and helps you to create some good writing habits, and to develop your skills on the way to a book. You can write in nice sizable chunks and it takes away feeling overwhelmed. You develop and audience, get some feedback all along the way. And as you suggest is great cousin bait for gathering new information. 

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#10 [url]

Jan 28 13 9:53 AM

I don't publish "all" of the content that's going in the book.  I've read How to Blog a Book, by Nina Amir,, and she explains how you publish your stories on your blog and use that as the basis for your final manuscript,  Since I've posted most of my chapters, I've already changed them around as I've felt the need in my manuscript in Scrivener.  

As soon as I started blogging chapters on my blog (and sometimes I cut the chapters down into sub-chapters, or even "scenes"), I started really rolling fast on the book.  It may not be for every writer of course.  It fits me to a T though.  An added plus, is that my cousins can read the stories, and a time or two one of them will give me more facts.  They've started sending old photos to me as well.  And I've gained new relatives!  They found my blog.

As far as publishers not picking up a book that's been on the internet, there are lots of misconceptions there.  I'm self-publishing, so I don't really care, but there have been books that were blogged and a publisher saw it and wanted it.  The How to Blog a Book book also covers this.  

Lynn actually got me started blogging my book when she started the educational series on the site, and I jumped right in.  I know I wouldn't be as far as I am right now if I hadn't done this.  Hope this helps explain a little bit.

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#12 [url]

Jan 31 13 4:29 AM

Deb just read that post. Too funny. I just inserted her video, this very one into our upcoming newsletter on plotting. I find Mary Carroll Moore very helpful and I've read her book and it's certainly one I can highly recommend. 

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#13 [url]

Jan 31 13 11:20 AM

Good work, Deb!  I love your three-act plan.  I tried to put my story in the 3-acts back when I first visited your site last year.  Still trying to figure out how to do this with a narration (me also as a character) going back to ancestors who came to US in the 1850s.  Actually finding them was part of the resolution.  I left home and thought Good Riddance Messed Up Family.  I come back a few years ago and think Why Did I Leave and Stay Away?  Finding my roots changed me.  

Maybe I just wrote my three-acts LOL.  Thanks!!  An Epiphany.   Now to get the ancestors' stories re-written to support this set-up.  I will be following your story for tips.

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#14 [url]

Jan 31 13 7:40 PM

Thanks Deb for sharing your three acts and the video. I will relook at my outline tomorrow as I start writing to see how I can incorporate this concept.


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#15 [url]

Feb 1 13 5:53 PM

I like the start of your story, Tom! Being a suburbanite, I've never had the experience of milking cows, but I could get a feel for what Clara experienced...and her revelation about how her father must have felt now that his daughter would be getting married. Looking forward to reading more!

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#16 [url]

Feb 1 13 7:24 PM

Thanks Deb for the feedback. It's a start. The trick now for me at least is how to interweave this start with my plans to write about the multigenerations of the two families being farmers and how so many, but not all, left farming in the early 20th century. The feedback from my spouse who is a voracious reader of books is that I would be better served by starting with two parallel stories about the 2 families both emigrating and how by chance the two families resulted in my grandfather and grandmother meeting and so on. I figure I will write the individual stories and then figure the most appropriate order. By the way other than pictures of me as a toddler with farm animals I would not know how to milk a cow ;)


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