Blog From Your Journal

Blogging is an easy and affordable way to document your family history and the efforts taken to discover it. Blogging makes it easy to discover research cousins and has had a significant role in building the online genealogy community that connects so many of us today. And blogging is fun.

But.

Bloggers are dependent on the platforms they use to build their blogs. As we learned last year with the Posterous shutdown, that one fact can quickly turn blogging into a nightmare.

Fortunately we have options. One very good option is to take advantage of the growing number of journaling apps that support blog publishing. Day One just announced its first steps into publishing, but there are other apps that have been doing it for some time. Two good examples are Mariner Software’s MacJournal [$33.24 at Amazon] and WinJournal [$30 at Amazon]. With these apps, you can write your articles on your desktop – complete with photos and other attachments – then publish a copy to your blog.

Setting up a WordPress blog in MacJournal.

Setting up a WordPress blog in MacJournal.

Both journal apps allow you to create multiple journals within the interface so I one have specifically for blog articles. That journal has also been set up to connect to my blog. Most blog platforms support attached files (like photos) but for those that don’t (Tumblr, for example), you have the option to set up an alternate location to upload those attachments. In the example above, you see the configuration panel for connecting to a blog – in this case a WordPress blog. Once the connection is accepted, the panel you see on the right appears, showing me the categories set up in this blog.

Now you just start writing your blog post as if it was any other journal entry in MacJournal. Once it’s ready to publish, click on the Share menu and you’ll see a menu item to Send to (your blog’s name). The options panel appears next. The options you’ll see depend on which blog platform you use. In the example below, I’m posting to WordPress so my options include the ability to choose a category for this blog. Make your selections, then click OK to send this entry to your blog.

MacJournal Publishing

I usually uncheck the Publish post immediately option so the article will be sent to my blog as a draft. This will allow me to review the article, add tags, configure social networking connections and schedule when I want the article to appear on my blog.

MacJournal also has apps for the iPhone [$4.99] and iPad [$5.99] which support blogging. The iPad version offers a lot more flexibility with WordPress blogs and has a feature to download entries from your blog to the app. Oh, and both iOS MacJournal apps support both Dropbox and iCloud as storage for your journal files. These downloaded entries are text only, but they do show where images and other embeds have been positioned within the post.

Yes, there are other desktop editors for blogging, but because family history blogging is already a very personal activity it just seems fit that a journaling app is the place to create them.