Confession time. I was nominated for the Liebster Award a few months ago by Hillary at 918 Plate. I totally didn’t understand what that meant until my friend Amy at The Gifted Gabber blog nominated me today!  I guess I am still pretty new to the blogging world to not know exactly what that meant!  The Liebster Award is a way to promote and discover new bloggers. Thanks to both of these talented ladies for following my blog and nominating me! They both have impressive culinary skills of which I am highly envious. Because of them I am excited to participate and nominate some great bloggers as well!

I follow a lot of bloggers, from genealogy blogs, to social/political commentary and to both mommy and daddy blogs. It is a rewarding endeavor and is definitely not as easy as it looks. A lot of time, effort and planning goes in to creating content and writing.  I commend bloggers that put energy into something they love and enjoy doing, even if the only reward may be the satisfaction of writing something that makes them proud.

Major Award- Leg Lamp
A little award humor.
Let’s get on to the questions that Amy has tasked me to answer!

1) How has your blog evolved since it was first created?  When I initially created a blog two years ago, I really didn’t have a focus.  I wasn’t a cook, gardener, fashionista, or even a writer, but I enjoyed writing and the creative process.  I didn’t stay engaged with blogging for long without a specific niche to write about.  As I started delving more into my genealogical research, something I have dabbled in on and off for years, I realized that is what I should be blogging about! Since then, I have learned a lot about the technical side, page layouts, widgets, etc. I am not 100% happy with the look of my blog, so I imagine it will continue to evolve.

2.) What is the most time-consuming area of blogging for you?  The family research. I started off with several stories and ideas for future stories. Because of the nature of genealogical research, sometimes you hit a brick wall which means you may not have any story to tell! Sometimes your kid is sick for three weeks and you don’t have time for research or blogging or grocery shopping!  Genealogy research is not for someone who needs immediate satisfaction. It takes some time, sending off and waiting on documents from archives if they even have the document you are looking for.  Often trips are required as well, which is time consuming.

3.) What is your favorite blogging plug-in or tool? Hmmm….really, I don’t have one! I do get a kick out of seeing what countries my views come from on the stats page though!

4.) What is your greatest strength as a blogger? That’s a hard one! I am still new to it, so I don’t know if I have identified one yet.  I think the fact that I am a “younger” genealogist may be beneficial in appealing to readers who may think that it is something you wait to do in retirement. Hopefully I am exposing and engaging an audience that is new to genealogy and re-framing the way they think of genealogists. Family history is relevant and interesting at every age.

5.) How did you come up with your particular blog niche? I had been thinking about doing a blog on genealogy for awhile after being inspired watching some great genealogy shows like Finding Your Roots, and Genealogy Roadshow. There are also a TON of genealogy bloggers that I began to follow once I started to consider writing my own. Then, Crestleaf issued their 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds Challenge to write a blog each month. I decided, why the heck not!?  It has been fun having something to motivate my continued research as well as learning the technical aspects of blogging.

6.) What are some things you do to network with other bloggers? I have joined both the Arkansas and Oklahoma Women’s Blogger groups. I may live in Oklahoma where some other fabulous bloggers live, but I was raised and lived the majority of my life in Arkansas and still have a strong connection there to people and places. My roots go back five generations on several lines. I will always be an Arkansan, so joining the Arkansas Women’s B11014618_873975152670376_8993196671800019689_nlogger group was a given and I hope to network with them more in the future. Participating in the Crestleaf.com challenge has also introduced me to new bloggers especially in my niche. Finally, my favorite group that I am so thankful exists is The NextGen Genealogy Network. I wish this group had been around when I was first interested in genealogy in college. It is a group of genealogists under 50. Some blog, some don’t, but the group has its own blog and I have found them all to be welcoming and extremely helpful. Community is important in fostering growth!

7.) What is one goal you have for your blog in the next 12 months? To still be blogging!  HA! It’s hard finding time when I work a demanding job, and have a family life. My goals are two fold- to both expand my family history research experience and knowledge base, explore my own family history further but also to help other start on their own family history research and to share those stories on the blog.

8.) What kind of writing experience did you have prior to starting your own blog? Starting at an early age and through grad school I was consistently told that I had a knack for writing. After being the editor of my high school paper for two years, I went to college as a Journalism major. I learned to write in that format, but later as a history and political science major I wrote a copious amount of research papers. My graduate work in public administration also required a great deal of writing, all analytical and nothing truly creative.

9.) What is your favorite social media platform and why? For my daily personal use I prefer Facebook. However, I have discovered that there are many social media savvy genealogists from across the world on Twitter. For my blog, I believe the scope of reach is greater on Twitter. Several weeks ago, I was tickled when my tweet with a link to my blog got re-tweeted by a French Genealogist/ blogger, Sophie at La Gazette de Ancestres. It’s amazing how quickly you can reach people across the world through social media!

10.) Name one of your favorite blogs.

I really have enjoyed the Legal Genealogist. For those unfamiliar,  Judy Russell is a genealogist with a law degree and her goal is to help people understand “the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history.”  She blogs and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics and I always find her blog posts to be very informative.

Liebster AwardNow!  Onto my nominations for a Leibster Award!  I have five! I am nominating three genealogy blogs and two other non-genealogy blogs.

First, is Melanie’s Homestead Genealogy blog. I have gotten to know Melanie through her role as volunteer coordinator with the NextGen Genealogy Network.  She has been very welcoming and helpful in engaging newcomers like me and helping the organization’s overall recognition among young genealogists.

My second genealogy blog nomination is FinleyFamily.org by Melissa. She’s a graduate of Brigham Young with a degree in Family History-Genealogy and has been searching and learning about her ancestors for 25 years. She also has a home & garden blog, Homegrown Habitat.

The Ginger Genie is a genie blogger after my own heart. She’s a ginger!  She’s also participated in the 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds Challenge and I have enjoyed reading her challenge posts.  As she’s Canadian, I have also enjoyed seeing family history stories from a non-Southerner like myself.

My friend Kathleen just launched her new blog, Between the Rock and a Fun Place.  Her blog is a place where she will share information about great affordable family friendly activities and discounts in the Little Rock, Arkansas, area & beyond as this girl loves to travel!  The “About Me” section of her blog page says, “I may be poor in my bank account, but I am rich in experiences.” I love this philosophy!

Over at One Flew Over My House, friend Adam writes about the roller coaster ride of fatherhood and parenting.  It is really nice to read about parenting from a guy’s perspective. His perspective, humor and his children’s antics will make you laugh and warm your heart.

For their Liebster Award challenge, I present them with the following questions to answer on their own blogs.

1. What motivated you to start your blog and how long have you been blogging?

2. Where do you get the ideas for your blog posts?

3. Do you ever get “writer’s block,” and, if so, how do you deal with it?

4.  What is the best advice you can give your fellow bloggers, especially new ones?

5.  How do you network with other bloggers?

6. What is the best feedback you have ever gotten on a blog post?

7. What kind of writing experience did you have prior to starting your own blog?

8. What is one goal you have for your blog in the next 12 months?

9. What is your favorite blog?

10. Who is the one person (not related by blood or marriage) that has influenced you the most.

I now challenge them to nominate at least three up and coming bloggers for a Liebster and pose their own questions!

Have fun & enjoy!

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