Friday, September 10, 2010

Talk To Me People!

After spending some time earlier this week reviewing blog stats (something I rarely do) I became somewhat frustrated. Why do people who land on this blog because of a search for a specific ancestor leave without saying a word? In addition to the comments feature, a link to my e-mail address is right there in the sidebar along with a link to my website which has links to my e-mail address all over the place. It's not like I'm hard to find (although I have now moved those links a little higher up on the page just in case that was a problem).

I'm not talking about the people who searched for Celia Owens, Eliza Hopkins, Finney Genealogy, the Goodloe's of Spotsylvania County or even Albert Elvie Hankins. Granted I have matches for them but maybe not the person they wanted.

I'm talking about really specific searches like these:
1) "Troup County 1850 Census Lewis Bennett" and "Lewis H Bennett marriage to Teresa Garrett." There is no doubt they were looking for my 3rd great-grandparents, Lewis H. and Teresa (maiden name unproven but possibly Garrett) Bennett of Troup County, Georgia.

2) "Dorothy Waller or Dorothy * Waller or Waller, Dorothy genealogy or ancestry 1754" and "Thomas Allen Goodloe or Thomas Allen * Goodloe or Goodloe, Thomas Allen 1754 1812." They had to be looking for my 5th great-grandparents, Thomas Allen Goodloe and Dorothy Waller. Thomas was born in 1754; his will was written in 1812 and probated in 1813.

3) "John Covey WarJack Howard." My 2nd great-grandfather was John Covey Howard and his father was John "War Jack" Howard. Some say War Jack's middle name was also Covey but even though I'm not so sure about that, there's little doubt he is the person they wanted.

4) "Henry Goodloe + Kemp." Almost certainly they were looking for my 6th great-grandparents, Henry Goodloe and Frances Diana Kemp. Or possibly they were looking for their grandson, Henry Lewis Goodloe who named his oldest son Thomas Kemp Goodloe. Even though this search happened on a different day, they might have been the same person searching for Henry and Frances' son, Thomas Allen Goodloe. If so, they made 3 searches that landed them here. 

5) "Emma Taylor Hopkins, Loyall KY." That is my grandmother for crying out loud!

Does this happen to other bloggers? Does anyone have suggestions for enticing people to make contact? (I know, probably a good suggestion would be don't rant about them in a post but I really am just confused.)


  1. Linda I have been frustrated over this same thing. The "specific" posts that make you KNOW these people HAVE to be a cousin. I had one that used specific full names and places together and kept returning over a period of two weeks. I could only hope. Nothing. I feel certain they only copied information. (I also have a program that tells me how often content is removed from my site.) I think they may be similar to the name collector people...there are those out there interested in collecting the information as fast as they can and don't really have an interest in making contact. It's too bad really.

  2. Linda - I too have this same frustration! I even have a 'welcome mat' on my blog that says "If you landed on my blog because you searched for a name that's here, please contact me" email address is listed and yet, I see searches for 2nd great grandparents, my own father and grandmother, and no messages. VERY frustrating to know that a potentially close cousin was on my site and didn't say a word! Rant on! I'd like to see more contact from these folks as well! Now that you've done a post about it, maybe the next time they search they'll see it... maybe that is.

  3. Linda, good questions, and I have no answers, just one wild thought. Maybe someone FOUND your blog with one of those specific searches, wants to revisit (maybe a lot of times) and just uses the same search parameters instead of saving your blog to "Favorites" ??????

    I'll be watching to see if are other ideas, or answers.

  4. Happens all the time. I figure they are looking for an "instant" genealogy and can't be bothered with a original record researching snob like me. Maybe it is because they have nothing to share, even though their genealogy is "all done". Or perhaps they can't solve the CAPTCHA, and don't know who an e-mail link works.

  5. Maybe you should do your own google search for these search terms and see if you can find these cousins right back and contact them directly. Chances are they are probably people you have already been in contact with and maybe they are just checking back in to see if you've posted anything new. I have tons of family who look at my blog and none of them have ever left a comment before!

  6. Great observations Linda as well as those making comments. Part of the problem is the blog mechanism itself. Many folks unfamiliar with blogs don't fully understand the social media and interaction aspects of blogs. Even with encouragement via sidebar notes and graphics, some people are hesitant to make comments.

    While there will always be those "collectors" who swoop in and take what they want, we need continued education in the genealogy community as to how a blog differs from a website and that it is okay to interact with the blog owner and others.

  7. Happens to me, too. GrannyPam has a point about the "instant genealogy crowd." For people who don't want to leave comments on my blog, or can't figure out how to do it, I've listed my email address on the top right side of my blog. Still, I get visits from people who are clearly interested in my ancestors and not a peep out of them.

  8. The ones who "click & claim" really could care less about making contact or getting sources. They just come, click what they want, claim it and put it in their files. They really do not care about anything else. They don't need to contact you because they don't care how or where you got the info. The minute you posted it - from their perspective it was all done for THEM.
    Just my take on it!

  9. Linda, I have the same problem and frustrations. But don't give up. I have had several cousins contact me privately by email after finding my blog.

  10. Thanks for all the comments. I've got some comments and questions but don't have time right now. My Internet service has been out since Friday at 1:30. It' back on this morning but I have to be gone all day. If I have a connection, I'll get back here late tonight.

  11. I too have the same frustration! I wonder, how much more does one need to do on the blog to try to convince folks to leave...a comment? I think Thomas and Karen are right tho, and some folks just won't ever leave a comment.

  12. Great comments! Thanks everyone.

    Lisa - I want to hear more about this program that tells you when content has been copied.

    I agree with the consensus that it's probably people who just want the info and aren't interested in interacting with others researching the same families. That's too bad in this time when it's so easy to make friends with your distant cousins who share a common interest in the family history. It seems odd to me that someone could have an interest in the family history but not the family present.

    I'm sure some people are just timid about contacting someone they don't know. I don't know how to convince them but it should be relatively obvious that anyone who has a genealogy website or blog wouldn't have put themselves out there if they didn't welcome hearing from someone with a connection.

    I have been contacted by quite a few people since I 1st set up my website in 1/2007. I don't have any kind of stats set up on that site and this situation with the blog stats makes me realize that for every person who e-mails me, there may be dozens who don't.

    Just a couple of weeks ago I was contacted by someone who is descended from a man I believe is the brother of one of my gg grandfathers. Her ancestor is definitely the son of the man I think may be my gg grandfather's father. We have decided to work on this family together to see what we can figure out. I guess the "click & claimers" will never understand the value in making that kind of connection.

  13. Having recently returned to family research, I'm interested in a connection to this Bennett family. My ancestor Francis Marion Pitts lived in the Antioch area and married (no proof yet) Eliza Bennett. Their first son, born December 1852, was named James Lewis Pitts. I'm descended from Hillary Herbert Pitts, as listed with this household on the 1860 census of Chambers County AL, post office West Point GA.
    I have loads of questions about the Bennett and Pitts families of Troup County. Your effort to document location of the cemetery at Rock Mount is appreciated.

    Alan Pitts

  14. Alan, If you are following these comments, you have e-mail.