Technical Skills For Online Genealogy

Introducing the Genealogy Webmaster’s Journal aimed at explaining and advancing the technology underlying online genealogy.

Do the technical details of PHP/MySQL programming have any place on the Strong Genealogy Website? I could easily overrun our genealogy content with gruesomely technical material. This would arguably dilute our site’s focus and purpose.

Genealogy Data Collection Process

Thinking through our collection process for genealogical information

I have come to realize that this site is NOT just about presenting the authoritative Strong Family History online. Rather, this is the online presence of the Strong Family Association of America. Let me explain the distinction!

Genealogy Web Site Becomes Social Online Presence

The SFAA (Strong Family Association of America, Inc.) is transforming itself from 20th-Century thinking to 21st-Century thinking. A major portion of that transformation is this here little ole Web site. One of our major purposes has always been social interaction. These days, much, if not most, social interaction takes place online. “Web site” does not equate to “social interaction.”

Our online presence, therefore, must include social interaction. We’ve been exploring ideas and ways to make that happen. The first step is correspondence and email. I’ll be updating our SFAA Web site to make that as obvious and easy as possible. In the webmaster world, that’s called making the process as “frictionless” as possible.

Genealogy Webmasters Have Similar Technical Hurdles

Other genealogy and historical societies face the same issues. Why not, therefore, write about these issues as we work our way through them? That is precisely why I am hereby creating this series, the Genealogy Webmaster’s Journal. Part of this site will be your friendly webmaster’s blog. Part of this site will be a Strong Family History blog. Part of this site will be authoritative Strong Family History genealogy content. These are all pieces of the same puzzle, that is, the record of a genealogy society transforming into the 21st Century, so why not record the transformation for posterity?

I have decided that part of the Genealogy Webmaster’s Journal will be highly technical. Why not? There are many extremely-talented webmasters out there. Perhaps I can help others by showing how I recognized or solved some particular problem. It may turn in to a great way for me to get advice, in turn, from the larger technical community. Who knows!

Online Genealogy State of the Art

As I learn or implement something, I hope to be able to take the time to share that information as a Genealogy Webmaster Tutorial. Does such a tutorial, for example using a specific WordPress plugin or setting up a specific database query by hand, belong on a genealogy Web site? I have decided that it most certainly does. We, as 21st-Century genealogists, depend on the technology underlying our online presence. Why not help advance the state of this behind-the-scenes art as we advance the state of online genealogy itself?

The Genealogy Webmaster’s Journal is a way of saying, “Welcome to MY world.” For me, the genealogy itself, and the technology powering the online expression of that genealogy, go hand in hand. Sharing this process online won’t help genealogists using this technology, but may help other programmers and technical experts advancing the state of our art.