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In Defense Of Genealogy Blogs

Well  I have to say it has been a most interesting week in the land of genealogy blogs with a big discussion as to their legitimacy and how useful they are especially for those new to the genealogy and family history fields.

For those new to the discussion here’s a brief recap:

1.  Paul Duxbury of Genmates runs a blog called Genealogy and Family History.  He made a rather controversial post entitled 5 Bad Genealogy Sources in which he maligned genealogy blogs with the broad and sweeping statment:

“. . .blogs are a good source of unreliable information simply because anyone who can type and use the internet can make a blog site especially with the ‘throwaway blogs’ which don’t involve even purchasing a domain name.”

2.  Part of my mission with Geneabloggers is to foster a community of genealogy and family history bloggers and to help promote their role within the genealogy community.  So when I see what I feel is misinformation posted about the role that genealogy blogs can play in the broader genealogy community, I have no qualms about discussing such a mission in comments and blog postings which I did here at Geneabloggers.

3.  I was not the only one that took exception to Mr. Duxbury’s post as you can see by the comments of my post.  In addition, you can see what others have said about this entire discussion here.

4.  Always looking to convert a difficult situation into a win for the geneablogger community, I started Cite Rite a source citation initiative since the lack of citations in genealogy blog posts seemed to be at the heart of the issue with Mr. Duxbury’s distate for genealogy blogs.  In addition, I created the Genealogy Source Citation Quick Reference card to educate new genealogists and geneabloggers on the importance of source citation.

5.  Today over The Genealogue there is an interesting post entitled Genealogists In Glass Houses which discusses Mr. Duxbury’s use of content purchased with “private label rights” on his blog.  You can read the comments from that post as well as well as the post at Translyvanian Dutch and its ensuing comments.

I will let you come to your own conclusions as to whether or not Mr. Duxbury should have been more upfront with his readers as to the source of some of his blog posts.  But here’s what I have to say about the whole thing:

– Mr. Duxbury seems quite upset that his house has come under scrutiny as of late.  Well this is what happens when you hold yourself out as an expert in the field of genealogy and make broad-sweeping statements that are only a disservice to the genealogy community.

– Mr. Duxbury, unlike many of our geneabloggers, does not have his name listed at Genealogy and Family History yet in turn openly accuses others of hiding behind pseudonyms (and well known ones at that – well if you knew anything about the on-line genealogy community you would know that).  If Mr. Duxbury did his homework he would know who these people are – some of them even provided a valid e-mail address and Twitter ID in their posts and comments.

– Mr. Duxbury has openly accused several of us on Twitter of defaming him by posting or retweeting links to posts he has deemed libelous.  These are pretty strong accustations yet when called upon it, he has reconfigured his updates to Twitter so that they are now set to private – at least that’s what I am now seeing.  Fortunately you can still find updates via Twitter Search.

– I’ve wasted enough time and energy on Mr. Duxbury who in essence holds himself out more as an Internet marketing specialist and coach than a genealogist.  My opinion on his web-based genealogy activity is that his blog and other genealogy-related sites are merely ways to gain traffic and possibly revenue.  This includes posts on controversial topics as well as maligning a valuable genealogy resource such as genealogy blogs.

Although Mr. Duxbury never asked explicity that his blog be listed in our bloglist (I basically discovered it a few weeks ago), I’ve opted to remove it for the time being since I feel his content is a disservice to the genealogy community.

So, onward and upward we go, shall we?  Let’s continue to work on our genealogy blogs – be they free hosted on Blogger or WordPress or seeming more legitimate with their own domain name and hosting – and see how we can help those who are new to the field of genealogy and family history, shall we?

copyright 2009 Thomas MacEntee

19 thoughts on “In Defense Of Genealogy Blogs

  1. Ah, the smell of blog fodder in the morning is tempting… I resisted since you, Chris and John have done such a good job of it!

    Is this the end of the “Era of Good Feeling” in genealogy blogging? If so, it may be a sign of maturity of the GB community.

    Non illegitimus Carborundum!

  2. I understand that you have to be cautious when using a genealogy blog as a source, because it is true that anyone who can type and has an internet connection can write anything they want. However, I’ve noticed that geneabloggers are some of the sweetest, kindest, helpful and friendliest people you’ll ever find! Everyone is so welcoming and willing to help.
    And even if you don’t use a blog post as a source on your family tree – you might learn about something you didn’t know: a new website, a new service, a new blog, a new story or little bit on history. It is just a learning experience and a great community.

    So let whats-his-name (That’s how important I consider him to be) to keep talking – because this is a free country after all. But I hope that people realize that he is not what us geneabloggers are about and from what it seems, he is not very friendly or credible.

    Great post Thomas! You are certainly doing your part for the genealogy community!

  3. Blogs are an undeniably rich way in which to present to the community. The difference is that genealogy blogs tend more to welcome additions and corrections in way of the comment ability. This blog in particular is an amazing testement of ethics and respectability. I enjoy it now and expect to for years to come!!!

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