Why Should You Build a Family History Website?
There are four VERY good reasons to create such a website:
- It is fun.
- It enables you to document interesting family stories and photos that will be preserved for future generations (as long as the website remains active).
- It is a way to keep your relatives involved in what's happening with your research and enables you a way to share your discoveries.
- By having it on the Internet, it is a terrific way to find other relatives. This is often called "cousin hunting" or "cousin bait"
Cousin Hunting and Cousin Bait
During years of research prior to 2009, I had found several people with the last name of "Braunhart". At the time, I called them "stragglers", because I did not know how they were related to me.
Only because of placing their names on my family history website, in the past two years I have found two remote cousins who were able to connect the stragglers to my family.
The first, a woman who lives in New Jersey, is the great granddaughter of Alexander Braunhart, who was the younger brother of my great great grandmother Sara Braunhart Bernstein. As it turns out - all of the "stragglers" were either sons, daughters or grandchildren of Alexander. The puzzle pieces now fit!
The second, who lives in Berlin, was the great granddaughter of Alexander, and her grandfather, Philipp, who stayed in Berlin while many of his brothers and sisters emigrated to America. All of his ancestors remained in Berlin. I now had a connection in Germany. What a great surprise!
This happened ONLY because I had created a family history website and they had Googled the name Braunhart and found the site. They submitted comments on one of the posts and I was able to connect with them.
THESE CONNECTIONS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED IF I HAD NOT SHARED MY RESEARCH AND FAMILY STORIES ON MY WEBSITE.
They are now the most prolific providers of information to the family history, and I appreciate them both very much.
So start a family history website - it's easy and will produce many wonderful results, I guarantee it.
Free Website Builders
I personally have used Google's Blogger and Weebly for two of my sites - but there are many others. Word Press is quite popular. I will not engage in a discussion of the pros and cons of each. But the following are links to discussion of the pros and cons of free hosting sites. You can read these yourself and draw your own conclusions:
- 7 Best Online Website Builders To Create Free Websites - Opensource, Free and Useful Online Resources for Designers and Developers
- 15 Best Free Website Builders - It's become very popular nowadays to use website builders to create your own website
- 12 Best Online Website Builders To Create Free Websites - 12 Best Online Website Builders To Create Free Websites
- 45 Web Builders to Create an Insanely Awesome Free Website - Become A Better Web Designer!
Let's Build Your Site
The first site I have entitled "Braunhart Mania". It contains stories and many other documents, photos, and artifacts that the reader can access. I built it using the Weebly platform, and right now I find it to be the easiest by far to use.
It is located at Braunhart Mania
Go through the site and you can get some ideas as to what to include in your site. In another article I will be discussing the components of a successful family history website.
If you have chosen weebly as your platform, I would highly recommend visiting YouTube and watching these free videos. Although they are geared to a Weebly based site - there are lots of great ideas in them and if you choose Weebly as your platform, you can't find a better tutorial.
Building a Family History Website Using Weebly
Another one of my other family history websites can be found below. Please browse around it to get some ideas. It is based on the Google Blogger platform.
You now have the reasons to build your family history website; and you have some platforms to build it on, and some examples of what should be included.
I will be writing further articles that go further in depth as to what components should be added to make your family history website attractive, alive, and popular!
So get started and have fun.