Julie's Genealogy & History Hub

Julie's Genealogy & History Hub -

Reevaluating Life: Why ‘Friday Finds’ Series Will Be Discontinued Beginning January 1


2015 has been the year from hell (sadly, it’s been the case for many, too many, people).  Sometimes when tragedy strikes, we are forced to reevaluate our lives and priorities.  I’ve gone through a number of tragedies this year and have been doing a lot of soul searching as a result.

I’ve realized that there are other things I need to be doing in my already limited hours (due to health).  Things I once valued and treasured have been put on the back burner, and continue to gather dust year after year.  I need these things in my life, one of which is to spend time on my own genealogy research on a regular (and more frequent!) basis.

Other things that I once found important, I no longer view as must-do items.  One of those things is following and reading 600+genealogy blogs.  Several times this year alone, I have fallen behind to the point where there are 2,000+ posts backlogged in my feed reader at a time.  Even when I do keep up, I have to admit that I barely read actual posts anymore.  I skim through the titles/previews and if a post applies to my interests or sounds intriguing, I’ll stop and read it.  (Those that I enjoy get flagged for my Friday Finds series of posts that I want to share with my readers.)  Even though I don’t do genealogy research on a regular basis (if at all, these days) my interests have changed to the point where there are maybe a handful of blogs that apply to those interests.  That being said, I have, after years of contemplation, decided to clean out my blog reader to remove blogs that do not fit my current interests.  I want to apologize to the bloggers who will be sacrificed in my selfishness—it’s not you or your blog, it’s me and my new priorities.

This of course all leads to one of the reasons I have decided to no longer publish my Friday Finds weekly series, beginning January 1.  I started the series to share interesting blog posts or other online articles with my readers.  I also wanted to help introduce my readers to new genealogy and family history bloggers, while giving these new bloggers some much-needed recognition.  I also included a list of new resources I’d come across in my research journey, but since I don’t do much research these days, the list rarely has any items.  Since I’m a huge advocate of education, I also included a list if helpful and interesting articles I’d read in print publications.  Eventually this series grew to include a list of upcoming free webinars and new (to me at least) books and references tied to genealogy in some way.  Recently I added a section to share good deals I’d come across (previously these would get their own blog post, and since I’d become very lax in posting this year, I decided to make a list in Friday Finds to save time and still share).

While many readers comment and email me that they love my weekly roundup, it’s time for me to call it quits.  As previously mentioned, I am usually behind on blog reading, which was always the main purpose of this series—to share my finds.  Additionally, since I will be reducing the number of blogs I follow, this list will likely be much shorter.  Pulling the posts for the Friday Finds series can sometimes be time consuming, and at this point I’d rather use that time for other priorities on my list (which include getting back to writing my own educational and research-based blog posts).

I really hope you support my decision and understand my reasoning.  And I won’t leave you completely in the dark.  If I find something spectacular, I’ll write a blog post about it!  Also, there are plenty of other ways to get the information I share in the Friday Finds series.  Here’s a breakdown by section:

New-to-Me Blogs

Probably 75% of these new-to-me blogs come to me via Thomas MacEntee’s New Genealogy Blogs posts that he publishes every Saturday.  The rest come from those I stumble across on my own.  Jana Last also does a Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds post that includes new blogs.  And you can always check out Thomas’s Genealogy Blog Roll as well as Genealogy Blog Finder curated by Chris Dunham.

Online Articles

There are plenty of other weekly roundups, two of my recommendations being Randy Seaver’s Best of the Genea-Blogs posts and Jana Last’s Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds posts.  Additionally, for items that I would include in this section, I will instead share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, so follow or friend me in these venues to discover my finds as I find them.

Print Articles

I still think this is an important element.  I included this section to first make my readers aware of great articles out there, so they could pull that publication out of their stack and read it right away.  It was also to let people know what types of articles and other materials were being published in various outlets so that maybe it would spark some interest to subscribe to a publication or join the society where the publication is a free benefit, or to explore these publications further at their local public or society libraries.  I haven’t quite decided how to handle this one.   I may do periodic posts listing some good reads, or I may post a blurb on Facebook and Google+ as I read them.


I added this section when genealogical mysteries starting making the big-time and I was sucked in.  In this section, I also included genealogy resources or any other relevant resource, and occasionally, historical fiction.  Any book I have read, am reading, or plan to read are cataloged in Goodreads.  Shelves that may be of interest to you include:

Become my friend on Goodreads to follow along or use these links to check back periodically (a full list of all my shelves, which includes many more genealogy-related shelves, can be found here).  There is also a way to follow a specific shelf using an RSS reader (scroll to bottom of shelf list and click the RSS button).  I also share these items on Facebook, write reviews for this blog, and maintain a list of genealogical mysteries.

Websites &Resources

Every online resource I find gets cataloged in Diigo.  You can follow me there, set up a feed for my main library (everything in my Diigo account is related to genealogy/history), or check the real-time feed located at the bottom of every page of this blog.

Good Deals

I may revert to creating individual blog posts for these, or I may post details to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+; I haven’t quite decided.

Upcoming Free Webinars

I derived my list from the following:

Additionally, you can visit the GeneaWebinars blog/calendar to find many webinars (note that not every entity takes advantage of this tool and it includes fee-based webinars and myriad other events that are not technically webinars).

Again, I hope you understand my reason for discontinuing the Friday Finds series.  Take advantage of some of the other resources listed above and join me via social media venues to get much of the same information that I would typically round up for this series.

Here’s to 2016!  May it be a better and productive year for all of us.

  • Miriam Robbins says:

    I’m sorry it’s been such a tough year for you, Julie, and I will miss your Friday Finds. I have scaled back on blogging for several years now. It used to be my “escape” from an awful marriage. But after my divorce, I worked longer hours and in addition, I’ve had a lot of shoulder and knee problems that required physical therapy, surgeries, and more exercise to fix…all requiring more time. Also, the pain from these problems has caused a lot of exhaustion. When I have time to research and blog, I’m usually too tired to think straight.

    Anyway, I completely understand and support your decision. We have to do what we must to keep or improve our health and other situations and many times blogging and research are the “victims” of those decisions.

    I wish you the best as you move forward.

    December 4, 2015 at 9:36 pm
    • Julie Cahill Tarr says:

      Thanks, Miriam. I hope to get back to my true blogging roots and catching up on research once things (hopefully) settle down around February.

      December 4, 2015 at 10:20 pm
  • Cathy Meder-Dempsey says:

    I’m not sorry you’ve decided to discontinue your Friday Finds. Before reading this I could only imagine the amount of time you spent reading other people’s blogs. I follow about 175 blogs and very often read only the ones which attract my attention when scrolling through my reader.

    Very often we cannot say no and keep adding to our plate. I think it is wonderful you have made and explained your choice to get back to your “true blogging roots and catching up on research.”

    Thank you for mentioning several of my posts during the two years I’ve been blogging and for the traffic that came from your Friday Finds to my blog.

    You know where to find me when you get stuck on your Luxembourgish roots. Wishing you all the best in the New Year.

    December 5, 2015 at 5:15 am
    • Julie Cahill Tarr says:

      Thanks for understanding, Cathy. I’m glad I was able to get the word out about your fantastic blog! I certainly know where to find you, and I hope to start working on those fabulous Luxembourgers in 2016 (I miss them!).

      December 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm
  • Jack Coffey says:

    Julie; I will miss your weekly visits, but I can understand what you must do. Although it is 10 years since I retired and you have helped this old guy who is getting “long in the tooth”to explore and learn new things to do my own genealogy research I appreciate what you have taught me and helped me advance my own knowledge. I hope you will keep all our e-mail addresses so when and if you do find something of interest you will be able to send it along to all of us. Thanks again.

    December 5, 2015 at 7:28 am
    • Julie Cahill Tarr says:

      Thanks, Jack. I’ll still be here, but I hope to spend a little more time writing educational blog posts, which is at my core, to contibute to the community in a more effective way. I feel like I’ve lost sight of that over the last year.

      December 5, 2015 at 11:14 am
  • Elise Wormuth says:

    Julie — I completely understand your need to pull back. Please take some time for yourself and only take on what is comfortable for you in the future.

    December 5, 2015 at 11:10 pm
  • Craig Manson says:

    I can relate, Julie. I’ve struggle d for five years with health problems that stalled my blogging and nearly brought my research to a halt. Fortunately, now i think I’m on my way back. Wishing you a balanced and happy 2016!

    December 8, 2015 at 6:48 pm
    • Julie Cahill Tarr says:

      Thanks, Craig. Happy to hear you’re doing better and getting back on track. Here’s to what will hopefully be a wondeful 2016 for all of us!

      December 8, 2015 at 8:05 pm
  • Diane Boumenot, One Rhode Island Family says:

    Julie, sorry I missed this when it was posted. Of course it will be a loss to the rest of us, but I completely applaud your decision to re-prioritize and do what works best for you. Of course that’s the great thing about blogging, we are the CEO of our blogs and we get to set the priorities and steer the ship. Happy steering, and I’m sure you’re making a very wise choice.

    January 2, 2016 at 5:27 pm
    • Julie Cahill Tarr says:

      Thanks, Diane. You’re right! We are the CEO of our blogs…I hadn’t thought of it that way before and that sentiment gives me some much needed encouragement.

      January 2, 2016 at 11:20 pm

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