Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2014

I'm still very new to blogging, but it occurred to me that I'm coming up on my fourth blogiversary and I've never looked to see which of my posts people had found the most interesting, based on the number of views.  These are my ten most popular posts for 2014.  I have to admit, some of the results surprised me a little.

Would you have guessed that transcription could be a popular subject?  Well, #10 on the list is my commentary about the episode of Antiques Roadshow when we finally saw an appraiser suggest on air that a guest transcribe his important historical materials.  Sure, the guest wasn't excited about the idea, but baby steps, right?  At least genealogists know that transcription is important.

Now, a story about a bride I definitely can see generating interest, especially when a mystery is attached.  #9 in popularity is the story of Sheri Fenley and her family's search for a photo of Jeanette Augusta Meir wearing her wedding veil.  (The best news about that story is that a photo was found, a great Christmas present for the family.)

It appears that forensic genealogy is interesting to a lot of people, as my review of the sessions in the Advanced Forensic Evidence Analysis track at this year's Forensic Genealogy Institute came in at #8.  I'm particularly happy to see this, as I am a proud member of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy and want people to recognize the difference between real forensic genealogy and merely matching the edges of photographs.

Another surprise for me is that a family photograph I posted for Wordless Wednesday was the #7 post of the year.  It's a nice photo of part of the Sellers family, but I don't know why this one caught people's eyes more than any other.

These four posts were all relatively close in the number of views.  The top six had significantly bigger gaps between them.

Speaking of forensic genealogy, I was not at all surprised that my post about how Dick Eastman declined to approve my response to his item came in fairly high, at #6 to be specific.  This post also had the highest number of shares that I could track.

Many people have told me that they enjoy reading my write-ups of Who Do You Think You Are?, so it makes sense that three of those posts placed high:  Cynthia Nixon at #5, Jesse Tyler Ferguson at #4, and Valerie Bertinelli at #2.  It's no mystery to me that the McAdams sisters didn't do as well, as I didn't think the episode was that compelling, but I thought Kelsey Grammer would have been up here also.

Another surprise for me in the top numbers was that #3 is a post about the new newspaper links I had added to the Wikipedia page I regularly contribute to.  It's gratifying to see such interest in newspaper archives, but none of the other newspaper update posts during the year came close to this one.

And at #1, with 25% more views than the next closest post, not Who Do You Think You Are?, but the Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown episode that was part of of CNN's "Roots:  Our Journeys Home" series.  The surprise for me about this is not only that it came in at the top, but that it continually adds significant numbers of new views.  That's interesting, considering how little genealogy was actually in the show.

What did I learn from this?  First of all, I noticed that half of my top posts are about television programs.  To me, that indicates the recent explosion of programs about genealogy really is a great way to connect with other people who are interested in family history.  I hope people who come to my blog and read those posts stick around and find other interesting material.  Second, the only other topic with more than one post in the top 10 is forensic genealogy.  It's hard to say how much of a groundswell of interest that indicates, but I'll take it as a positive thing.  And third, as with the family photograph, you never know what will pique people's interests.

While I was looking at these numbers, I also figured out my top post in the past four years.  Would you believe Lionel Ritchie on Who Do You Think You Are?

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