Family history in the news

+22 votes
in The Tree House by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (506k points)
edited by Greg Slade

"Greg," I hear you ask, "don't you have anything else to do but look through news sites looking for information about genealogy?" (Or at least, you might ask that, if you were even mildly interested in what I'm up to.)

Actually, collecting these stories takes me no time at all (although formatting these posts for posting to G2G can be kind of tedious). Years ago, a friend of mine showed me a video called "RSS in Plain English." It's a little bit dated now, as some of the services it refers to have since been shut down, but the principle remains the same: you choose an RSS reader that you like (there are a bunch to choose from), then look on the sites that you follow for news for some kind of link to an RSS feed (you may also see Atom feeds, and some RSS readers can handle both formats).

In my case, I follow tech sites for my work (and they occasionally refer to the life and/or death of somebody who is notable for their contributions to science and/or technology), and general news sites just to keep aware of what's happening outside my office (and they occasionally refer to the life and/or death of somebody who is notable for whatever reason catches the imagination of a particular reporter or editor). So in those cases, I just leave those items marked as unread in my RSS reader until I get around to posting one of these news roundup items here in G2G.

So, if you, like me, are curious about pretty much everything and everybody (or even if you're "normal", and are only interested in particular fields), but find it hard to keep up with all the news sources that are out there, you might want to try one or more RSS readers (the screen layouts and user interfaces vary wildly, so it may take you a few tries to find one that works naturally for you). I have found that it saves me a ton of time keeping on top of the topics that I need to follow (and even those that I just want to follow).

One feed that you'll probably want to start out with is the WikiTree Blog. (Sure, you could just go to the blog page, but where's the fun in that?)

And, if you end up getting tons of points and upvotes on G2G for posting genealogy-related news here, that wouldn't be a bad thing, would it?

Fellow news geek Greg!  (ツ)

If you haven't looked into it, something you might either love or hate are Google Alerts (introductory info from Google here). Any number of alerts can be individually created, configured, and managed using Google search strings and parameters for frequency of alerts, types of sources used, region of interest, etc. While the help info and creation/management screens only talk about sending email alerts, when you receive your first one you'll find, at the bottom of the message, a link titled "Receive this alert as RSS feed." Yep; you're provided a unique feed address for your specific alert. Voila!

I utilize some of that in a marginally effective news aggregation service I publish in conjunction with one of my one-name studies. It has the very catchy domain name, subtitled "Your Daily Genealogy, Genetics, and One-Name Study News."

I use the aggregation service for that, and I say it's "marginally" effective because it almost always needs some tweaking after each new edition is pushed to the Web at around 9:30 Eastern each morning. I can move, delete or add content items after it comes out. There is an option to do full curation--meaning compiling each "edition" in a draft mode before publishing--but that means every edition has to be pushed manually...resulting in much more work and variable publication times/dates.

About 10% of the content ends up being specific to the Threlkeld One-Name Study (includes pulling in a Google Alert for mentions of the surname, which also grabs mentions of the town of the same name in northwest England's Lake District), but I also pull in, as RSS sources, many of the well-known genealogy bloggers like Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Kennett and Dick Eastman, as well as a Twitter genealogy list I created that includes multiple sources (e.g., family history associations, individual genealogists, organizations and companies like ISOGG, Ancestry, FamilySearch, the National Archives, NEHGS). includes its own article-search utility that's pretty broad: it seems heuristics-based and, while you can set specific search word/term exclusions and blacklist sites, it really does reach far and wide, sometimes coming up with unexpected results. I'd say that most of the five or so minutes I spend almost every day editing aggregation is spent on things pulled in by the engine; the remainder would be from very local news from the BBC about Cumbria, England (outside of a very few, a local ambulance vehicle being out of service isn't all that interesting). The "paper" can include up to 25 different source entries, but using RSS as well as account/list targets for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube, plus the proprietary search tool, it provides a pretty eclectic breadth.

It's kind of a fun exercise and, if nothing else, it gives me my own, daily newspaper to glance through.  ;-)

6 Answers

+13 votes
Best answer
Actually, Greg, these kind of posts make it easier for me to pick and choose what I want to read on the web that’s genealogically related. Otherwise, I’m wasting time not merging, adding, profiling (in the right way!) sourcing. Ha!

Cool article on the Iceland DNA.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
selected by Rubén Hernández
Thanks, Rubén!
+10 votes
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (506k points)
+4 votes
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (506k points)
+5 votes
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (506k points)
+3 votes
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (506k points)
+3 votes
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (506k points)

Related questions

+2 votes
0 answers
141 views asked Jan 26, 2019 in Genealogy Help by Stanley Baraboo G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+9 votes
1 answer
220 views asked Oct 20, 2018 in The Tree House by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (506k points)
+22 votes
3 answers
+3 votes
1 answer
106 views asked Feb 14, 2018 in WikiTree Tech by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+7 votes
2 answers
+2 votes
0 answers
147 views asked Jan 2, 2017 in The Tree House by Living Norwood G2G Rookie (190 points)
+16 votes
6 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright