I'm carrying on my mother's research into our family history. I've self-published some family memoirs & learned a lot about different eras.
Sharing Blog Topics for Genealogists
This year I participated in the A to Z Blog Challenge that comes up every April. It wasn't easy coming up with a subject to match each letter of the alphabet for my genealogy blog. To get a head start on future years, I'm collecting lots of A to Z ideas here.
If you write a family history blog and have a bad case of writer's block, you are welcome to help yourself to any of the writing prompts I'm including. Some are my own ideas and some I discovered while reading other bloggers.
Inspiration can strike at any time, so if you get an idea for a post, I recommend that you make a note so you will remember it later.
A Is For ---
Let's brainstorm all the topics that might start with the letter A. As you look down this list, keep your ancestors in mind to see if they fit one of the themes.
- adventure or adventurer
- Alaskan ancestor (or Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas)
B Is For ---
Here are some family history topics starting with the letter B.
- bachelor uncle
- best man
- black sheep
- brick wall
- British ancestor
C Is For ---
What topics come to mind for the letter C? Here are a few:
- California ancestor (or Colorado, Connecticut, Canadian, etc.)
- cause of death
- clues in an old photo
- Civil War
- coat of arms
D Is For ---
We are still on the easy letters here, so there are plenty of themes that match the letter D.
- desertion or deserter
- direct paternal (or maternal) line
Use These Prompts to Post Regularly on Your Blog
E Is For ---
- Edward (or Edgar, Elmer, Eloise and other first names starting with E)
F Is For ---
Don't forget occupational titles that can give you a hook to write about someone on your family tree.
- family secret
- family ties
- farmer (or farrier, fireman, forest ranger or other jobs)
- first (or fourth, fifth, fiftieth)
- four generations
- freed slave
G Is For ---
Here are some words to start your blogging with the letter G.
- gambler (or garbage collector, glass blower, garment worker, or other careers)
- great-aunt or uncle
H Is For ---
Think of descriptive words that might describe an ancestor that you want to write about. Were they handy, helpful, hateful?
How Do You Plan to Use the Blog Topics?
I Is For ---
There are lots of topics for the letter I. Don't forget your ancestors whose names start with I (Isaac, Ida, Ira).
- identical twins
- Illinois ancestor (or Indiana, Iowa, Iceland, etc.)
- immigrant ancestor
- indentured servant
- Irish ancestor
J Is For ---
- jail or jailbird
- Jewish roots
- juvenile delinquent
K Is For ---
- Kansas or Kentucky ancestor
- keeping secrets
- kissing cousin or kissing kin
- Korean War
L Is For ---
- Latter Day Saints
- learning about
- left behind
- Louisiana ancestor or Louisiana roots
M Is For ---
- maiden aunt
- Maryland roots (or Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana)
- meet the (insert family name)
- memories of
- military service
- miss or mrs.
- murder or murderer
N Is For ---
- Native American ancestor
- Nebraska (Nevada, New Hampshire, etc.)
- neighbors or neighborhood
- nephew or niece
- nine (ninety, nineteen hundred)
O Is For ---
Oh, we have to find some topics to use for the letter O.
- oh, dear
- Ohio ancestor (also Oklahoma and Oregon)
- old or oldest
- old maid
- only child
P Is For ---
- picture or photos
Q Is For ---
Now, we're getting to some of the tougher letters to find topics for. Let's see what we can do for Q.
R Is For ---
- Rachel (or Ruby, Ruth, Rebecca, Rosamund, Ronda, etc.)
- Ralph (or Roger, Roy, Ray, Reuben, Robert, Ronald, etc.)
- rambler or roamer
- real estate
- Revolutionary War
- Rhode Island
- Russian roots
S Is For ---
Here's an easier letter to find subjects for writing, S.
- school or school days
- Scottish ancestry or Scottish roots
- seeking or searching
- settling down
- sickly or sickness
- slave owner
- South Carolina or South Dakota
T Is For ---
I like the letter T as there are many ways to use it when blogging.
Use numbers spelled out like 10 or 12 for your topic. Example: Ten Terrible Things That Happened to My Ancestor.
- Tennessee or Texas
- town or township
- tragic or tragedy
- travel or trip
- true stories
- twelve, twenty, two hundred
Example of an A to Z Blog Post
U Is For ---
You can add "un" to many words to get a theme for this week. Don't forget to sort through the ancestor's names for a name starting with U (Ulysses, Una, Upha, Ursula, etc.)
- Union soldier
- unlabeled photos
- untold story
- Utah ancestor
V Is For ---
This can be a hard letter to attach an ancestor to. Look for some V names (Virginia, Victoria, Victor, Val, etc.) to profile for this post.
- verify or verifying
- Vermont ancestors (or Virginia)
- victorious or victory
- vintage photo (or anything vintage)
W Is For ---
- westward ho!
- what happened to ____
- WWI and WWII
- Wyoming roots (or West Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington)
X Is For ---
This is one of the harder letters to write about. Some ways around that are to use EX words like exile or excitement (also extreme, expert or ex-spouse).
- X marks the spot
- X, their mark (signing a document)
It's rare to have an ancestor whose name starts with the letter X but check your family tree. You might be lucky. I had a Xenophon who turned out to be a fascinating subject and led me to a brick wall break-through.
Example of an X Blog Topic Using a Personal Name
Y Is For ---
- yellow fever
- young or youngest
Z Is For ---
- zest for life
- zip or zip code
- Zella (or Zerusha, Zachary, Zenith, Zachariah, etc.)
How I've Used Themes for My Family History Blog
This year, I participated in not just the A to Z Blog Challenge but also tried my hand at the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. That's a blog challenge masterminded by Amy Crow Johnson. She gives a new prompt for each week of the year.
Joining this will give you plenty of themes to keep writing about your ancestors all year.
Blog Posts I've Written for the 52 Ancestors Challenge 2019
The January Prompts
Week 1 (January 1-7): First ~ THE NEW CENTURY – NEWS TIDBITS ON THE JOY FAMILY
Week 2 (January 8-14): Challenge ~ RALPH MARTIN – AIRMAN FROM KANSAS
Week 3 (January 15-21): Unusual Name - DACY RICHARDS JOY
Week 4 (January 22-28): I’d Like to Meet - MEET THE RICHARDS – A PIONEER FAMILY
Week 5 (January 29-February 4): At the Library - AT THE LIBRARY – 1860S TOWER FAMILY
The February Prompts
Week 6 (February 4-10): Surprise - A SURPRISE DEATH
Week 7 (February 11-17): Love - LOVE AND HAPPY COUPLES
Week 8 (February 18-24): Family Photo - PHOTO – SAM MCGHEE
Week 9 (February 25-March 3): At the Courthouse - AT THE COURTHOUSE – ASHLOCK/BABCOCK MARRIAGE
The March Prompts
Week 10 (March 4-10): Bachelor Uncle (as you can see, I missed a few weeks when life got too busy)
Week 11 (March 11-17): Large Family
Week 12 (March 18-24): 12
Week 13 (March 25-31): In the Paper - THE GLASS PLANT MOVE
The April Prompts
Week 14 (April 1-7): Brick Wall
Week 15 (April 8-14): DNA - DNA ALONG THE WAY TO OUR 13TH GREAT-GRANDFATHER
Week 16 (April 15-21): Out of Place - OUT OF PLACE
Week 17 (April 22-28): At Worship - R IS FOR RELIGIOUS ANCESTORS
The May Prompts
Week 18 (April 29-May 5): Road Trip - VINTAGE ROAD TRIP
Week 19 (May 6-12): Nurture
Week 20 (May 13-19): Nature
Week 21 (May 20-26): Military - Remembering a Civil War Ancestor on Memorial Day
Week 22 (May 27-June 2): At the Cemetery - AT THE CEMETERY – MARIE KENNEDY JOY
The June Prompts
Week 23 (June 3-9): Namesake - NAMED AFTER LORENZO DOW
Week 24 (June 10-16): Dear Diary
Week 25 (June 17-23): Earliest - MY EARLIEST CONCLUSION WAS WRONG
Week 26 (June 24-30): Legend - HUGH MARTIN AND GEORGE WASHINGTON
The July Prompts
Week 27 (July 1-7): Independent - INDEPENDENCE DAY 1861
Week 28 (July 8-14): Reunion - REUNION – 71 YEARS AGO
Week 29 (July 15-21): Challenging - EFFIE’S MYSTERY MAN
Week 30 (July 22-28): Easy
The August Prompts
Week 31 (July 29-Aug. 4): Brother - FRANK MARTIN AND THE OKLAHOMA LAND RUSH
Week 32 (Aug. 5-11): Sister - LILLIAN BELLE VINING
Week 33 (Aug. 12-18): Comedy - FUNNY PHOTOS IN THE FAMILY ALBUM
Week 34 (Aug. 19-25): Tragedy - TRAIN TRAGEDY
Week 35 (Aug. 26-Sept. 1): At work -MY ANCESTOR WAS A COOPER
The September Prompts
Week 36 (Sept. 2-8): School Days - GRADE SCHOOL ACROBATICS
Week 37 (Sept. 9-15): Mistake - THE RUMORS WERE WRONG
Week 38 (Sept. 16-22): Cousins
Week 39 (Sept. 23-29): Map It Out
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Virginia Allain
Diane Gould Hall on July 01, 2019:
Thanks for the ideas.
Anne on June 06, 2019:
I have participated for a number of years in the A to Z. It is always a great journey. Preparation is key but nevertheless April is still busy. Sorting out the theme in advance and ideas by letter helps a lot. You have some great ideas :)
Judith Hayes from Maine and Florida on May 28, 2019:
Great article and the prompts have given me some ideas for my website.