25 Nov 2018
By Vicki Ruthe Hahn
SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter (a self-designated description of what I do!)
Four and 1/2 years ago I created the Blog “StatelineGenealogyClub.Wordpress.com”. The Beloit Public Library management assigned this to me as one of my work duties June 15, 2014. It was a way for me to inform the people that come to the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library, (which I founded April 13, 2012), and to connect with the wider genealogy population in the Illinois Wisconsin stateline area to let them know about the great genealogy program and resources that the Library has. Three supervisors had me continue this BLOG.
(Anyone who comes to the Stateline Genealogy Club is a “member”. There is no cost or obligation. The Library pays me to facilitate their genealogy program.)
It was decided that I communicate this as a BLOG rather than as a Facebook page. It was certainly an interesting learning experience to create a BLOG. My first trial version was using a GOOGLE BLOG, but it was too frustrating to have to incorporate their standard (at that time) of concentric “circles of friends”. This is my second “Theme” using wordpress.com. I will continue to improve the layout and usability of this BLOG as I have time to learn even more options.
However, that is the problem. I will have less time to work on the BLOG for awhile. (Some of my family responsibilities have taken a lot of my time, but will be the material for lots of BLOG postings in the future.) And:
Recently new Beloit Public Library management has decided that, “going forward”, doing this BLOG will no longer be one of my work duties under a new service model . I will not be able to work on my BLOG during work hours.
This BLOG has become important to many people in the Stateline Genealogy Club, and to others. So I have decided to volunteer my own time to continue writing this”StatelineGenealogyClub.wordpress.com” BLOG.
I continue to be assigned to oversee the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library, and the overall Local History/Genealogy Program, collections, Library microfilm requests, and volunteers at the Library. So I will still be able to assist you in the Library, or you can contact me through the Library -“firstname.lastname@example.org” for those.
The “BeloitLibrary.org” homepage has a link to the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library through a link to this BLOG. Click on “Resources”, then:
Stateline Genealogy Club offers resources and support to those doing research on their genealogy. Programs are held regularly on the second Friday of each month from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The surprise is how widespread this BLOG is now viewed. I receive posting ideas from many genealogy and history sources – other’s online BLOGS, links to government sites, emails from Club members, newspaper clippings given to me, news reports, family suggestions and experiences, etc. I always source my material and give full credit and links back to other’s work.
Since 2014, I have posted 667 postings, there have been 21,341 views, and 14,209 visitors. There are 69 “followers”, 15 wordpress.com Bloggers, and 54 email.
The BLOG became much more helpful and popular after I added a tab (“Page”) in 2016? for “Genealogy Links and Helps”. You can click on the Genealogy Links and Helps tab at the top of the BLOG. The links are organized by topic. I started that Page as a way for me to gather all of the many useful on-line genealogy links (and forms) into one place for myself, and realized it would help all of you too. I continue to add (mostly free) links there frequently.
The value of those links is that, even though I was not able to post as many times this year as in the past three, the views have increased. There were 1,018 in October 2018. That lets me know that I am on the right track.
Some email followers have discovered that they miss the links on that tab by only relying on reading the emails they get when I post. It helps to go to the actual BLOG once in awhile. One member told me, “Oh, I am just going to live on this (Genealogy Links and Helps) Page!”
The StatelineGenealogyClub.wordpress.com BLOG has been recognized by Cyndi’sList.com as a Wisconsin Genealogy resource, by Ancestry.com who contacted me to ask if I would add their military link. My favorite is an after-school group of students (from I don’t know where!)
“History at Home: A Guide to Genealogy” – a Special Site Shared with Us by the After-School Students doing a Family Tree Project
who found my site while doing a genealogy project and asked if I would let them use the BLOG, and also asked me to share the genealogy links project (that they had gathered) with you – https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/guide-to-genealogy/. So much fun to see their (young) enthusiasm for a hobby we all enjoy and share!
StatelineGenealogyClub.wordpress.com BLOG has proven to be a boon to many genealogists throughout the world. At last count, people from 122 countries have viewed the StatelineGenealogyClub BLOG. Granted, some of those are only one or two views, and some may have been spam/hacking attempts, but I am still amazed at the variety on the list. (P.S. – wordpress.com does a great job filtering out any problems, so no worries for you or me.)
I think it goes back to “genealogy is the most popular hobby in the United States, until the summer, when the most popular hobby is gardening.” The same seems to be true of the world. It is due to our innate curiosity is to learn more about ourselves and where our families came from.
I am destined to specialize in being the generalist genealogist, rather than specialize in any one region/topic. So I know a little about a lot of things.
My ancestry is American – Scottish, Irish, Welsh, English, German, French, and (by way of DNA testing) Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal). My children have the addition of at least Bohemian and Native American Indian.
I received my college degree in anthropology with a history minor, my Masters Degree in Library Science, and have worked in almost every role in public libraries – Page (book shelver), Assistant Clerk, Children’s Librarian, Head of Circulation Librarian, Library Director; as well as stints doing cataloging, academic and specialized libraries. March, 2019 will mark my 26th year working at Beloit Public Library, WI. I also substitute taught for two years – and, of course, any subject, any grade.
Communities from central western Illinois to southwest Wisconsin have been my home, and I enjoy traveling and learning the local history of wherever I am.
This BLOG has also sparked another way for me to reach out to let the stateline community know about the Genealogy program at the Beloit Public Library. My postings on local topics have caught the attention of several organizations in the Illinois Wisconsin stateline area. I have been giving genealogy presentations at libraries and genealogy/history societies in the area for the last 2 years.
The BLOG statistics jump each time that I do a Genealogy Club or an outreach presentation because I always refer to this BLOG as a great bibliographic genealogy resource. The highest stats in one day was the 72 views by 50 visitors on November 10, 2018.
I create 2 – 4 new programs each year that I also present at the Stateline Genealogy Club. I will be adding another tab at the top of this BLOG about my “Genealogy Presentations” so that you can learn more about their content, reception, and my scheduled events. The best on-going way to contact me about presentations, questions about my BLOG, and general genealogy questions is at my BLOG email – “email@example.com“.
I invite you to continue sharing my genealogy-related explorations as I follow my innate curiosity and quest for learning. Let me know if there is anything about the BLOG that can improve it. Happy sleuthing.