Build a virtual family history center

One of the blogs in the Moultrie Creek family is Moultrie Journal. It’s my scrapbook of family and local history. Here’s where I post interesting photos, stories, multimedia presentations and other bits and pieces about my family and this wonderful place we call home – which just happens to be our nation’s oldest city*.

A video tour of the Mission of Nombre de Dios presented at Moultrie Journal.

A video tour of the Mission of Nombre de Dios presented at Moultrie Journal.

Because it’s a blog I can pull in all kinds of content in all sorts of formats. It doesn’t matter what kind of digital storytelling project I create, they can all be showcased here. Often a post is nothing more than a photo with a caption. Others are embedded content like the Mission tour shown in this example. I save my photo documentaries as movies which can be embedded from my Vimeo account. PDF documents can be saved on Scribd and also embedded on the blog site. It’s an eclectic mix and that suits me just fine. Add a couple of categories and tags for each post and WordPress carries most of the organizational load for me.

Why embed much of the content? Two reasons. First, these movies, photographs and slideshows are not taking up space on the blog site (especially important if you’re using a hosted blog with limited free space allowance). Second, these media platforms also serve as off-site archives/backup for my personal archive and the projects I create with them. I have content spread out across photo-sharing, video-sharing, slide-sharing and document-sharing platforms, but the blog is the one central spot where it all comes together.

There’s loads of content from other sites too. I have no problem including photos from the Florida Memory archives – with proper credit and links of course. Should I discover a cousin who’s blogging, I’d be delighted to include posts that point to her stories. One very nice benefit of this idea is that the more you link to other sites (and, hopefully, they link to you) the more attention you all get from the search engines. That could lead to finding and connecting with even more cousins.

Chances are good your family history center will look and act nothing like mine. That’s as it should be. Fortunately, blogs are flexible enough to suit just about any style so we can each create our family’s story in our own way. Ain’t technology great?

*The politically correct description is “oldest continuously-occupied European settlement in the contiguous 48 states”.

Evernote for Blogging?

You can do just about anything with Evernote – including blogging!

Postach.io is a blog platform where you post your content from your choice of Evernote or Dropbox. Using Evernote, you first connect Postach.io to your Evernote account then set up a blog which also sets up a notebook associated with your blog. Once that’s done, you just create a note in your blog notebook. When you’re ready to publish it, just add the “published” tag to the note and sync your Evernote account. Yeah, it’s that easy.

Find an error, need to add something to your published post? No problem. Just make the changes and sync your Evernote again.

Postach.io Blog

Moultrie Creek blog at Postach.io

Postach.io offers several simple themes – each allowing a bit of customization. Any included images or formatting in your Evernote note will be recreated in the blog post. Postach.io also offers a number of shortcodes for embedding directly from external platforms such as Flickr, Instagram, Vimeo, YouTube and more. If you prefer to use Markdown when editing your note/post you can, but you should select the text in your note and choose the Format > Make Plain Text command before publishing.

Postach.io offers both a free and premium service. You can create you own blog for free. The premium service costs $5.00/month or $50.00/year and gives you multiple sites, secure sites and multiple authors. It supports Disqus as its commenting platform.

By using Evernote to create and edit blog posts, it is easy to post from just about anywhere, making this a great personal, travel or research journal. There are currently only limited organizational features and customizing a theme often requires HTML/CSS experience, but the Postach.io community appears to be active and involved and updates are quite frequent. I’m looking forward to watching Postach.io grow.

Aside

Over at The Society Journal, I’ve posted a guide discussing WordPress’s Site Stats function.