Family History Blog

Bob Woolner’s family tree can be traced back to the Middle Ages.

He contacted me via his son-in-law and said that he had been thinking of having a website built for a long time, but had no idea how to go about it. When I asked him what he wanted the site to be about he identified a few areas of interest: his legal practice, his smallholding in Northern Ontario, his family history and his interest in particular musical instruments. I suggested that it would be sensible to divide these topics into separate websites since they were fairly diverse in nature. An unfocused website can alienate visitors and hurt your traffic. When I asked Bob which area he was most interested in working on first he told me he’d written a book chronicling the Woolner family history.

Isaac Woolner

By his own admission Bob isn’t hugely computer literate, but took on the task of learning a new skill eagerly and quickly broke his book down into chapters which formed the categories of his blog. He chose the Coldstone theme from Elegant Themes which fits the theme of the site nicely – it has a slightly gothic feel and I complemented this with a logo created with the Blackadder font.

One of the interesting aspects of putting a book like Bob’s online in a blog format is that, as I explained to him, you cannot guarantee that your audience is going to read it chronologically. Also information needs to be delivered in “bite-sized chunks” – a lot of text on the screen is difficult to process. People just don’t read information online in the same way that they would read a book. Bob took all this in his stride and broke down the text into manageable portions, grouped by theme using blog categories.

There is still a lot of the book to be posted on the Wulfnoth site but Bob is maintaining an excellent schedule. We have conducted all of the training over the phone with follow-up emails. Our hope is that his website will help him find other branches of his family and more pieces of the puzzle.

Edit (23rd November 2012): sadly Bob recently passed away. We send our deepest condolences to his family.

Marilla Wex is the founder and owner of Wex Sites.