Sunday, September 14, 2008

Do You Think An Article Entitled "Geneablog" Belongs On Wikipedia?

Some of you may not know, but as an evangelist for the geneablogger community, I look into different ways to make sure that those in the blogosphere and beyond understand what genea-blogging is and why we as a community think it is so important to genealogy.

One recent effort, akin to Sysiphus and the Rock, has been an attempt to have an article entitled "Geneablog" included in Wikipedia.  In addition, I have tried to add a link to the article under the main Blog article but it has been repeatedly removed.  In addition, I have tried to add the same link to the Genealogy article to no avail.

Before you read the offending article below, and my Discussion and attempts to make a strong argument for keeping the article, please go over to Wikipedia and weigh in on the discussion page.  You will need to create a login account if you don't already have one.  It bothers me that any group, period, should have to fight for recognition.  For a long time I truly felt that Wikipedia was more than some experiment in collaboration - that it was means of building a truly democratic encyclopedia and reference source.

For now, I have my doubts as to whether or not I want to keep using Wikipedia as a link within my posts when trying to define terms and concepts.  And whether I feel they are worthy of such traffic being sent their way.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

geneablog is a blog written by someone with an interest in genealogy and family history. Geneablog authors are often researching their own family history and blog about their research projects, aspects of their family history, requests for assistance in resolving elusive ancestors and other challenges. Some genealog authors are professional genealogists documenting their services but also their research projects, both personal and professional.

Many geneablogs are specifically focused on certain areas of genealogy such as specific ethnicities (Jewish genealogy, Polish genealogy, Canadian genealogy), time periods (Colonial America), or topics (technology, photography, oral history).



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I guess I will need to make an extensive argument for non-deletion of this page entitled geneablog.

First, I am not sure what you mean by this:

"A page you created, geneablog, has been marked for discussion at Articles for Deletion, because it is a neologism with little notability."

Frankly I think that I and the rest of the genea-blogger community know what this means but I'd prefer that you say it in plain english and in a way that demonstrates that Wikipedia truly is "The Free Encyclopedia" and not some secret society of critics and elitists who feel that certain concepts or trends are not important, notable, or worthy of mention.

The argument:

- Wikipedia already has set precedent in the inclusion of the page edublog as a standalone page and as a See Also section under blog. Quite frankly, I never heard of an edublog until I read the section underblog.

- In addition, Wikipedia also has a section entitled house blog in the same blog page. It strikes me that the lead-in statement "A house blog is a Blog created with the sole intent of using it to share and chronicle a home improvement or renovation process" could serve as a model statement for geneablogwhich is already in place on the page you feel the need to delete: "A geneablog is a blog written by someone with an interest in genealogy and family history. Geneablog authors are often researching their own family history and blog about their research projects, aspects of their family history, requests for assistance in resolving elusive ancestors and other challenges. Some genealog authors are professional genealogists documenting their services but also their research projects, both personal and professional."

- Geneablogging is the same type of chronicling yet it has many more features and capabilities than anedublog and definitely more than a house blog. As a geneablog author I chronicle not only my research along my family lines, which are quite extensive and go back 10+ generations, but the mere placement of those surnames and given names in a blog enable others in the blogosphere and on search engines to connect with their own pasts. I know who these ancestors are and granted it may be quite a bit of work for me to enter their information in the form of ancestor biographies, family history stories, and other formats, but I do so not to show off my own feathers, but so that I may connect with family members and far-flung cousins. And I do so in order to encourage others to take a look at their own family history, their roots and ponder the question, "where did I come from."

- I also don't understand why the link to geneablog in the See Also section for blog was eliminated unless it was a further means of isolating the geneablog page, orphaning it into a stub, and seeking its early demise through eventual deletion.

- Enough with the questionable practices of Wikipedia monitors who seem hell bent on crafting a certain vision of topics with a criteria known only to them, and perhaps the others that might live in their mother's basement. Let's move on to the real evidence of a genea-blogger community in the blogosphere:

- those who manage, author and host geneablogs, known as geneabloggers, constitute a growing community in several social networking environments, the largest being Facebook. See

- there are currently over 200 geneablogs out in the blogosphere and perhaps more. I did have several of them listed as links on a page that was quickly deleted (and why a page of links to edublogs was not deleted? hmmmmm) here on Wikipedia and I am not going to waste my time entering all the names and links again. You'll just need to find the links yourself. Suffice it to say, some of the more "notable" geneablogs are:

Creative Gene
Moultrie Creek
Footnote Maven
Hill Country of Monroe County, Misissippi
AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors
The California Genealogical Society blog

- the site Alltop which lists some of the top blogs in the blogosphere has included a genealogy category with over 90 geneablogs related to family history and genealogy (

- Blog Action Day 08 ( coming up on October 15, 2008 so far has 4,035 blogs registered to participate. I was able to convince Collis Ta’eed, the event organizer to include a genealogy category to parse out the geneablogs from the history section.

- Google currently carries 565,000 results for the search "genealogy blog" and 24,700 results for "geneablog."

- I would wager to say that geneablogs have been around since the start of blogging since blogging is the perfect vehicle for sharing one's research with other like minded genealogists and family historians.

I'll get off my soap box and end my Julia Sugarbaker moment now and I apologize if I seem overly passionate or antagonistic. This has been a very rewarding week for geneabloggers despite their treatment by Wikipedia: we've seen great growth in our numbers, increased social networking and collaboration among our members, and we have a greater sense of purpose than ever. Geneabloggers have often been seen as the ugly red-headed step-children of the genealogy community, with several so-called experts even going so far as to toss the term "pajama genealogists" our way. While we continue to deal with that sort of treatment from our own community, I'm not sure taking on Wikipedia is worth the effort, quite frankly. We'll just come back in a year and perhaps the term "geneablog" will be more acceptable and pleasing in someone's sight.


Terry Thornton said...


Of course Wikipedia should have an entry for "geneablog" and I am somewhat distressed that they so snobbishly hauled out their claim of "neologism."

If Wiki includes photoblog, videoblog, microblog, linklog, edublog and house blog in their listings/discussions, then, by golly, they should include geneablog.

I've sent a message to Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak alerting her to Wiki's use of her name and action in their denial of your request to add geneablog at Wiki.

And finally, thanks for using Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi as one of your "notable" examples. I'm flattered.

Terry Thornton
Fulton, MS

Colleen said...


I agree that Wikipedia is being the elitist in this situation.

That said, I use Wikipedia but only as a reference for information that I have a passing interest in. If I want or need to have "reference-able" information, I generally find sites that are not user-edited/submitted.

While it's obvious that Wikipedia does some "picking-and-choosing", do they do any research to verify the information provided in the articles?

Bill West said...

I'm a bit surprised at their
elitist attitude. You should direct
them to Chris Dunham's Genealogue
and in particular his blog finder
button. I believe his list is closing in on 1,000 genealogy blogs.

Plus maybe they'll read some of Chris' posts and it will help
loosen up their attitude with some laughs.

Anonymous said...

How ridiculous that Wikipedia is doing this. They have no reason to delete the article.

Oh well - It really isn't worth the effort. If they want to be such pricks about it then fine - we are all too great of writers and of people to even WANT to be on their pickly site!

We'll just spread the word about us on other websites