Digital Project Draft: Homegrown History

At this time I’ve got my family history blog, tentatively titled “Homegrown History,” up and running with some basic information about the blog, its intent and scope, and its first few posts. As mentioned in my original proposal, the scope of this project is essentially to provide a resource for people looking for information on how to get started in writing family histories. Based on feedback I got in class, and from conversations I’ve had with friends, I opted to take an approach with two components. The blog is one part a personal experience/reflective log about my own ongoing efforts to get into this style of history, and one part educational resource, with planned posts on basic research methods, resources available to users who do not have access to academic facilities/journals, as well soft and hardware tutorials.

What’s Next?

  1. Finish rolling out my Interview Preparation post. Even though it now seems I will be unable to actually publish an interview piece, at the very least the preparation post is still feasible.
  2. Finish my post on using census records, both in terms of the source and the platform you use to access them. I’ve already got most of the screenshots/documents I need.
  3. Create a Using Secondary Sources to Augment Family History post.
  4. Create a Resources and Suggested Reading tab.

Some Issues

The biggest issue I’m facing at the moment is that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the two family members I was planning to interview next weekend for a few blog posts are no longer available to do so before the semester ends. (They’re fine don’t worry).

There is also the issue of the title. I’ve never been particularly good at coming up with snappy titles, and I’m even less familiar with doing so in the context of brand-building. Does “Homegrown History” work/send the right message?

The other issue is that, the site, to put it frankly, is pretty ugly. The free version of WordPress seems to be fairly limited in what you can do to customize things without knowledge of CSS so I’m at the mercy of their editor/customize tool. If anyone has any tips about spicing up a free WordPress site I’d be happy to hear them. I have been reluctant to start dropping images into it, which would really help with the visual interest component because I’m not sure how image copyright works when posting to a blog. Also not really sure what images to even use. You can only use so many stock images of a family before it gets weird and I would rather not upload pictures of my own family onto the site. I lack the artistic skill to draw a site logo as well.

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