Friday, 29 November 2019

10 years on

10 years on

On Monday 30 November 2009 I wrote my first blog post about the generosity of librarians who curate and share a wide range of resources. Ten years later and now retired, I still find much to read and share from those in the librarian sector. My posts are irregular but the beauty of blogging is in the longer form of content, more than a tweet, more than a picture on Instagram, less fleeting than Facebook. My original title Library Currants reflected my idea of providing small bites of hopefully useful information. Over time this blog has morphed more into a random collection of articles that I think might be of interest to others usually with a touch of “did you know about this” or “did you know how to do this.”

The world of blogging has connected me with a wide range of people throughout the years many of whom I continue to follow and learn from their wisdom. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge from Richard Byrne’s friendly advice at Free Tech for Teachers and Tim Sherratt’s explorations of the possibilities of digital collections. Dozens of other bloggers continue to  inspire. I use Feedly to gather the blogs and sites I want to read.

My family history interests have opened up a world of genealogy bloggers who share their tips and tricks. Just this week a referral from Dick Eastman’s Online newsletter sent me to a previously ‘unknown by me’ tool on Randy Major’s site. His most recent post Have you tried AncestorSearch on Google Search for searching for ancestors (or living people) lately? makes clever use of Google search advanced features. The tool AncestorSearch compiles a range of possibilities for the names that are input. Head over there and do try it out.

I used AncestorSearch to look for great grandparents Edward Smyth and Margaret Byrne. Yes, I already have quite a lot of information about them but was interested to see if anything else would be revealed. When the full Google search is run, the first result is a blog post I wrote on my family history blog over at Earlier Years.

No surprises there, but further down the results page is a Flickr reference to a stained glass window in their memory. While I have a similar photo taken with my phone, this one is so much better but I would never have found it by searching on Flickr.
Smyth memorial window - Tarlee Catholic church
Detail from Smyth memorial window - Tarlee Catholic Church (my version)
In the Flickr album photographer aquilareen has added all the photos of the windows in the Tarlee Catholic Church and some details of the families that can be found in Trove. In the comments section of these photos I have now added the links to my blog posts about some of those families the windows commemorate. So from a blog referral to a tool to a picture and back to my family history blog.

10 years on, still learning, still blogging. What joys has blogging brought to your life?

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

An essential tool for family history bloggers

Is your blog print friendly?

If you have a Blogger blog consider installing a Print Friendly button for those who wish to save your posts or indeed for you to save your own posts to PDF.

Not all browsers have a reading mode to remove the annoying distractions found on many blogs, and not all readers will have a PrintFriendly extension installed on their browser. Many bloggers use Adsense to generate some income. The PrintFriendly button allows your reader to save a post without that extraneous content. It also removes the sidebar and any gadgets contained therein.
  1. In the Layout mode from your Blogger dashboard choose the area where you want to insert the Print Friendly button. On this blog, I have chosen to insert it at the bottom of the post in the Footer area.
  2. Add gadget - choose the HTML/Javascript gadget

  3. Head over to and choose the style of button you want to add.
  4. Select the features you require, decide whether to allow click to delete sections or not, then copy the code generated into the blogger gadget and save.
  5. Save the Layout and choose a post from your blog to view. It will now display your chosen button.
Here's how the heading of a PrintFriendly page appears from one of my recent posts. Notice the choice of text size and image size. Image size can be set to 0 to remove all images.

Once the PrintFriendly page has been generated, hover over individual paragraphs or headings to reveal the bin to delete any sections not needed in the print or PDF version. This only works if you made that selection before copying the code. I have it disabled on this blog.
Do experiment and test what works best for you.

To view an alternate PrintFriendly button head over to my family history blog, Earlier Years or view the PrintFriendly button inserted in the sidebar in Just at Tarlee.


  • If the button is installed in the footer area of the page, it displays at the bottom of all the posts you have chosen to have display. To determine how many posts show on your main page go to Settings | Posts and Comments | Show at most and select the desired number.  It will always display when an individual post link is selected.
  • If the button is installed in the Sidebar it is always visible, but will print all the posts you have chosen to display.

For your own use, consider installing the free PrintFriendly extension for Chrome and simply click on it when you visit one of those annoying sites with dozens of advertisements.

This post first appeared on

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Email subscriptions to blogs

Checking out Feedburner

A reent notification from Google had me scurrying to Feedburner to check out my email subscription settings on my blogs. The Blogger platform uses Feedburner to manage email subscriptions.
To check out your email subscriptions head to

  1. Click on My Feeds at the top of the page 
  2. Choose from your blog list to view the dashboard for that feed

From here you can see when and from which country your email subscribers accessed your blog.

From the Feed Stats Dashboard I chose See more about your subscribers. This indicates 0 reach on June 28 as there was no blogpost on that day. One can select the last 7 days, or month or all time to view the email reach.

At the bottom of the next screen choose Feedburner Email Subscriptions then Manage your Email Subscriber List

It was here that I found dozens of dodgy email addresses many subscribed on the same day or within 2 or 3 days. It is a tedious process to delete them one by one.

This sample was from 2017 and there were more instances of these type of subscriptions recently. 

You can also see the incomplete subscriptions, so if family members were confused by the process of subscribing by email, there is an opportunity to explain to them that the email they received from Feedburner was a legitimate step to follow in signing up to your blog.

Do you know who is subscribing by email to your blog?

This post first appeared on