Saturday, April 4, 2020

My 5 Favorite Genealogy Blogs

Genealogy is one pursuit in which I've relied heavily upon blogs to further my skills and awareness. There are MANY terrific genealogy blogs out there, but listing the merits of every deserving one is well beyond the scope of a single post. Nonetheless, I want to recognize here the blogs that have especially shaped, and continue to shape, my outlook. Keep in mind that these have only been the most important ones for me. I always gain valuable insight from many others as well.

Without further ado, here are my 5 Favorite Genealogy Blogs in alphabetical order (without their tag lines).

AmyJohnsonCrow.Com (by Amy Johnson Crow)

Amy is a very well-known, active figure in the wider genealogy world. The thing I really like about her blog, and about her podcast (Generations Cafe) for that matter, is that they exhibit her great gift for giving clear, unencumbered advice. She has a way of making readers quickly understand the important points in what are often some very complex methodological issues. This is not only extremely helpful for beginners, but it's also beneficial for more experienced hobbyists who need to come out of the weeds and start seeing the forest for the trees again. And she delivers everything in a most congenial manner! Amy is also the inventor of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" Challenge (see her own explanation of it here), which many bloggers have taken up. I hope to start my own such odyssey here soon.

Family Locket (by Diana Elder and Nicole Dyer)

If I had to pick a single blog that effectively relates to the novice what the standards and methodologies of professional researchers look like, it would be this one. Family Locket is run by the mother-daughter team of Diana Elder and Nicole Dyer, and it is a companion to their equally wonderful podcast, Research Like a Pro (as well as their book of the same title). When you're ready to take your genealogy to the next level, this blog is not to be missed. It is full of detailed procedures for things like finding and citing various kinds of sources, taking effective notes, and incorporating DNA into traditional research. It averages around several posts per week, and boasts a massive library of extremely useful content. Along with Genea-Musings, this is my favorite "How To" genealogy blog.

Genea-Musings (by Randy Seaver)
God blessed Randy Seaver with an enormous amount of energy. How else does one explain his daily posts of substantial content? In fact, Randy produces so much content that he has several weekly series ("Amanuensis Monday," "Tuesday's Tip," "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun," etc.) as well as other series such as "Seavers in the News" (part of his work on his own family), "Best of the Genea Blogs" (where he graciously recognizes other genealogy blogs), and news/collections updates from several of the major genealogy services. Randy also provides plenty of practical advice on how to cite sources, manage your genealogy software (particularly if you use RootsMagic like he does), and tons more. His coverage of news and hot issues in the genealogy world is second to none. If that weren't all enough, he also shares meticulously detailed/sourced research on his own ancestors in extensive posts. Again, this is all amazingly done on a frequent, regular basis. I get so much of my news, insights, and know-how from Genea-Musings that I typically visit it multiple times per day. I've bookmarked many of its posts. It is one of the great online treasures of the genealogy world, and an absolutely essential resource for anyone serious about the hobby.

Genealogy's Star and Rejoice, and be exceeding glad (by James Tanner)

Technically these are two separate blogs, but I am treating them under a single entry here. Together, they provide some of the most thought-provoking and entertaining reading to be found anywhere in the genealogy world. In this they remind me a little of Donald Lines Jacobus's book, Genealogy as Pastime and Profession, which readers here know to be my favorite genealogy volume. In addition to occasionally providing direction specifically tailored to LDS genealogists, James likes to tackle bigger issues like the following: genealogy and its relationship to technology, the nature of sources and what they can tell us, and what preserving our research looks like now or in the future. He discusses his topics with a lively wit and humor. (See here for a particularly memorable example.) You won't have to read many of his posts (or view his fantastic BYU Family History Library Webinars on YouTube) to see that he isn't afraid to be blunt...or disagree with certain bits of conventional wisdom. This makes him something of a man after my own heart. For these reasons, James has exerted a powerful influence upon my genealogical thinking.

TamuraJones.Net (by Tamura Jones)

Speaking of bluntness, we have Tamura Jones's blog. Tamura addresses research practices in genealogy with considerable success, but his special area of expertise is technology. And when it comes to what he thinks works and what he thinks doesn't, Mr. Jones doesn't pull any punches. This makes his posts extremely valuable; he's not trying to toe a company line or sell a service. He will tell you frankly, and often wittily, why a certain genealogy software program or other product succeeds or fails. He has abundant understanding of programming, and he knows how to share this knowledge in ways that don't mystify the layman. Tamura's blog has opened my eyes to a number of factors to consider when evaluating computer-based tools. (Thanks to him, I'll now vigorously avoid anything without unicode!) He also deftly addresses industry trends; I love his year-in-review posts. TamuraJones.Net doesn't offer new content very regularly, but I check back frequently all the same. When a new post does appear, I typically drop everything else and read it on the spot.


  1. They're all really great blogs, and like you, I learn a lot from them. Amy's are always so informative on a given topic, Tamura's are thorough in analysing something, and James Tanner's Genealogy Star I'm a fan of too ... he covers lots of interesting topics. - Alona from