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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in bloggers-almanac (9)


    Get Ready for SCGS Jamboree with June Blogger's Almanac

    If you are a blogger planning to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank June 11-13, you might want to think about getting your blog ready for the conference too. Poor little blogs can feel abandoned when their owners are off schmoozing with other bloggers, soaking up lectures, and doing the genealogy happy dance.

    The June Edition of the Blogger's Almanac is now available and full of seasonal topics for blogging about the June favorites: grads, dads, and brides. By using the scheduling feature of your blog platform you can keep your blog fresh and active while you are off in the RW (Real World).

    Begin the month with ideas for extending Memorial Day articles honoring your military ancestors. Then turn to ideas to celebrate graduates, brides, dads, and summertime.

    A sample from the June Blogger's Almanac

    Do you have any teachers on your family tree? What did they have to do to qualify for the job?

    Name an honorary Dad. Who would you pick to add to your family tree and why?

    And here's one in honor of Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Who was your earliest ancestor to receive an academic diploma? (This might take a little digging.)

    The Blogger's Almanac is available as a FREE download. I hope you are enjoy the ideas, and invite to you to leave a link to your Almanac-Inspired post in the comments.


    April Showers Bring the May Blogger's Almanac, Free Download

    It was rain and travel, not flooding, that delayed publication of the May Blogger's Almanac until today. Thank you, Almanac fans, for your patience.

    This May 2010 Edition of the Genealogy and Family History Blogger's Almanac is now available for free download, featuring weekly themes on

    Going Postal with Postcards

    Honoring Mothers & Special Women

    Spring Is Here to Stay!

    Celebrate Outdoor Cooking with National Barbeque Month

    Honoring Those Who Served for Memorial Day

    Last month, bloggers used ideas on the civil war, baseball, and gardening to spark ideas for their own blog posts and photo features. Here are a few highlights from bloggers who returned to leave a link to their posts

    Jenna, Desperately Seeking Surnames, posted glorious photos of her garden peonies and other Alamanc-inspired stories on family baseball memories.

    Jo Arnspirger, Those Who Went Before, wrote about a civil war ancestor whose military service poses a curious puzzle, and also shared family baseball story.

    Sandra, Family Reflections: The Blog, shared her immigrant ancestor's civil war record in a carefully-sourced article featuring photographs and documents.

    Mary, Me and My Ancestors, remembered her dad gardening in New York and Florida, and favorite ballpark hotdogs.

    You can download the May 2010 Blogger's Almanac here. If you like the ideas featured in The Blogger's Almanac and use them at your blog, please leave a link at The Family Curator. Enjoy.



    Still Time to Enter to Blogger's Almanac Contest

    Just a little reminder that you can still enter to win a free copy of Roots Magic 4 genealogy software from The Family Curator. The contest is open through Friday, April 30 and winners will be announced on Monday, May 3. Anyone who uses a Blogger's Almanac-inspired blog post or writing can enter; details are posted on the Contest Page.

    I have enjoyed seeing the photos, stories, and longer features this month, and hope you will share your work, even if you don't want to enter the contest.

    Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames posted a Peonies on Parade for the gardening theme and I can't wait to see them in full bloom.


    Go Green, Write About Your Farmer Ancestors with the Blogger's Almanac

    "Farmer reading his farm paper"
    By George W. Ackerman, Coryell County, Texas, September 1931
    National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Extension Service

    First, there was the Old Farmer's Almanac, a much-used favorite in farm familes for when-to-plant advice, as well as for "New, Useful, & Enertaining Matter." But if you are looking for ideas on what to write, instead of how to plant, The Genealogy and Family History Writer's Almanac might be more helpful today.

    The April Edition of The Blogger's Almanac features a week of green-inspired ideas for blogging about farming, gardening, household tips, and "going green."

    Share your Almanac-inspired stories and enter The Family Curator's contest to win a FREE copy of RootsMagic4 genealogy software. More details and guidelines at the Contest Page. Enter early and often; contest ends April 30, 2010.


    Civil War Blogging Ideas and a Chance to Win RootsMagic4 Free

    Find new ideas for writing about your Civil War ancestors in the April edition of The Genealogy Blogger's Almanac, available for free download at The Family Curator.

    April is a month filled with momentous dates in the Civil War, from the opening shots at Fort Sumter, to the bill abolishing slavery in Washington, D.C., to the assassination of President Lincoln, to the final surrender at Appomattox. Remember your ancestors with photos and articles about their experiences during those years.

    And, be sure to enter early and often in the contest to win a free copy of RootsMagic4 genealogy software. Just list your Blogger's Almanac-inspired article at the contest page and you will be entered to win. More details and contest guidelines at


    Win a Free Copy of RootsMagic4 in the Blogger's Almanac Contest

    The Family Curator will be giving away TWO copies of RootsMagic4, award-winning genealogy software program to users of the April 2010 Edition of The Genealogy & Family History Blogger’s Almanac. Any genealogy/family history writer who uses the blog ideas can enter, you don’t even have to have a blog!

    Genealogists know that keeping track of ancestors is a vital task. RootsMagic4 makes it easy to manage  people, places, and dates on your family tree. RootsMagic4 even has room for ancestor stories and photos in the notes and media links to each person.

    The Genealogy Guys, George Morgan and Drew Smith, call RootsMagic4 “the best and easiest genealogy database software”.

    Blogger Mark Tucker’s has named RootsMagic4 winner of the “ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award #4” 

    Read the full Contest Guidelines and Rules and enter soon.


    No Foolin’ - FREE April Blogger’s Almanac Now Available

    Get a jump on spring blogging with the newest edition of The Genealogy & Family History Blogger’s Almanac, available now as a free download at

    The calendar-style printout features weekly themes for the month of April with timely writing ideas on topics from celebrating gardening to commemorating the Civil War. Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? or that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated this  month in 1865?

    Bloggers who like to plan ahead can use The Almanac to help schedule blog posts in advance with the scheduling feature of their blogging platform. The Almanac’s seasonal prompts are also great inspiration for writing on the daily themes from or for Carnival topics.

    In addition, The Family Curator will be sponsoring a drawing to win a free copy of Roots Magic 4 for readers and bloggers using The Blogger’s Almanac. Stay tuned for more details!


    March Edition of Genealogy Blogger's Almanac Now Available, FREE

    Looking for a few spring blogging ideas? You will find a month-full of new weekly themes and blog ideas in the March Edition of The Family Curator's Genealogy and Family History Blogger's Almanac available now for FREE download.

    The monthly almanac is presented in familiar calendar format featuring seasonal themes and specific writing prompts for each week. Writing ideas may be used at any time, but are directed toward seasonal events, holidays, and traditions. Traditional and off-beat holidays are also included to help insipire your own creative ideas.

    The March 2010 Edition features ideas for writing about March basketball madness, Girl Scouting, the first walk in Space, Daylight Saving Time, and even National Joe Day!

    Most prompts can also be used to help focus on specific topics for the weekly blogging prompts posted at, for Smile For the Camera Blog Carnival, for The Carnival of Genealogy, for the Canadian Genealogy Carnival, for the Festival of Postcards and other blog carnivals.

    Please send The Family Curator the link to any Almanac-inspired articles you post on your blog and be included in a round-up here at The Family Curator.

    The March 2010 issue of The Blogger's Almanac is FREE and may be downloaded by clicking on the "Add To Cart" box below. The download service appears as a "Shopping Cart" but there is no charge for the download.

    Add to Cart


    Use Blog Prompts to Jump-Start Your Writing

    It’s October, do you know what you will be publishing on your blog for the next two months? By the time “Jingle Bells” hits the department stores it is nearly too late to “plan ahead” for holiday postings, but if you start now to organize your blogging life, by late November you will be enjoying your turkey dinner without blog-induced indigestion.

    The November Issue of The Genealogy and Family History Blogger’s Almanac presents a variety of seasonal writing prompts that make it easy to plan ahead for timely blogging articles.

    In contrast to an Editorial Calendar, which is used to schedule articles, writing prompts (or themes) are specific topics on what to write. By definition, an editorial calendar is used by newspapers and magazines to schedule major features. It is used by editors in assigning stories and by the sales and circulation departments to solicit advertising. Most magazine editors know that people will start thinking about cool-weather cooking in the fall when the weather turns cold, so they schedule crock-pot and soup recipes. The savvy advertising sales department sees this on the calendar and is able to sell advertising for slow-cookers, freezer containers, and even expensive enameled cast iron soup pots.

    Bloggers may not be slating advertising on an Editorial Calendar, but they can use it to keep track of upcoming Carnivals or daily themes and to schedule posts using their blogging platform's advance posting features. A calendar can encourage regular blog updates, and help you see when you last wrote on a certain topic. It can also give a quick overview as to how your blog-life will be be impacted by real-live activities. Veteran bloggers like footnoteMaven know the value of a personalized Editorial Calendar. Her recent article Set Up a Blog Editorial Calendar gives the nuts-and-bolts for designing and using a calendar, and shares several great ideas for keeping your blog-life organized.

    Are You a Writer or a Poster?

    Teachers know the value of writing prompts in the classroom, so do college admissions boards. Each year, the University of California releases the college essay topics (or prompts). These topics are so useful in helping students fashion thoughtful personal essays that they are used by many other colleges for their student applications. Just because a student writes to a prompt does not mean he is unoriginal or not creative. Quite the contrary, when hundreds of thousands of students write to the same prompt, excellent writing truly shines. In fact, the prompt all but disappears.

    So, how can bloggers effectively use writing prompts? First, you probably know the kind of blog you want to publish. Ask yourself a few questions:

    • Is my blog a casual activity? How much time do I want to spend writing blog posts?
    • How much time do I want to spend reading other blog posts?
    • How much time do I want to spend commenting?

    In my experience teaching English and journalism, writing prompts were helpful for most students. A good prompt helped get the pen moving across the page. Students happy to settle for a passing grade would often dash off the required word-length and submit the paper. Those high-achievers (ok, bloggers, you know who you are!), in contrast, used the prompt as a starting point for something else. Sometimes they wrote two or three entire papers before they got it right, but they kept working on it. Often, the prompt helped most in giving focus and direction to their paper.

    The same thing is true every Tombstone Tuesday --

    Writers publish carefully  researched and well-written interesting stories about people and places, often complete with source citations.

    Posters publish photos and brief captions, often focusing on artistic or humorous interpretation or on personal research.

    It doesn’t matter, though, if you are a writer or a poster, writing prompts can still be helpful. Sometimes bloggers switch back and forth between the two roles. Writers get busy, burned-out, or just plain bored and turn into Posters for a while. Posters surprise themselves by becoming inspired and motivated to write a full feature article that generates comments and tweets.

    Think "Outside the Blog-Box" With a Writing Prompt

    A writing prompt can help jump-start either writers or posters. Here are a few different ways to think about using a prompt --

    from  The Blogger’s Almanac, November

    Weather Report – Do you drink your morning coffee with your local weatherman (or woman)? Do you recall their names?

    How often do we think about something so mundane as the weather report? Most of us check it when we plan our clothes or activities for the day. Will it be sunny and warm, raining, humid?

    I turn on the television and watch the Los Angeles weather report on Channel 7 ABC News with Dallas Raines. What a great name for a weatherman!  We have Johnny Mountain here too.

    Idea! Is a good name a requirement for being a weather person?
    Idea! What other weather reporters have symbolic names?

    My husband listens to the radio beginning about 5am. He gets the weather report on the air. He needs to know if it’s going to rain unexpectedly because he might have a house open and under construction. That means he has to move fast to put the the house under cover.

    Idea! How much rain usually falls this time of year?
    Idea! Have we ever had a flood around here? Are there any photos?

    Thinking about rain brings to mind rainy days when the boys were younger.

    Idea! Where are those photos of the boys in slickers and rainboots?

    What about Blog Carnival themes or the Daily Blogging Themes posted at GeneaBloggers?

    Idea! For the next Carnival of Genealogy: Your Favorite Genealogy Society, tap your local society's riches to discover your town's weather history, or research the genealogy of weather reporters in your hometown. How long has the local weather person been at the job? Who did your parents turn to for the weather report?

    Idea! For Tombstone Tuesday stretch yourself to stay in the weather prompt. How does your local cemetery handle cemetery care are during the current season? What particular issues of tombstone care are a result of your particular local weather?

    Idea! For a quick Treasure Chest Thursday article find your oldest pair of weather related gear (umbrella, rainboots, bikini?) and write a story with article about how it came to be in your closet.

    You get the idea! Combine writing prompts like those in The Blogger's Almanac with a personal Editorial Calendar and you will be one step closer to blogging through the hectic holiday season with time and space for those serendipitous moments that beg to be shared. There's lots to write and post about. Happy Blogging!

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