Puts Family History Research Tools in the Beginners Hand.
Distant Cousins Aid the Family Historian
by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist.
As my search for ancestors in my family tree has progressed, along the way I have been helped by distant "cousins" who are researching the same or collateral lines of my family. Their input has boosted my research and sent me much further forward in the quest to build my tree. There is some pleasure to open my email program and find the subject line includes a last name, from one of the various family branches I'm researching. You may be wondering how you could start to get your own fellow researchers to contact you?
1.Enter your ancestors into a family tree on-line. I have used the facility at websites such as TheGenealogist, GenesReunited and Ancestry to upload some of my ancestors into the family tree facilities provided by these sites. A benefit here is that you don't have to give out your email if you don't want to, as you get messages via the website that allows you to decide to contact the person or not.
2. Set up a simple website. This has been my most effective way of receiving contacts. Initially I signed up for a free website hosting and simply purchased the domain name for a few pounds/dollars a year. I then got a free website builder that didn't need me to know any HTML code as it worked in a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get manner. I posted a page with a few facts and some photographs on each branch and added a picture of my very minimal, at least that time, tree. As I grew more proficient I split the lines into several pages, one for each branch. When I went visiting the areas, where my ancestors had lived, I took photographs of houses that they had lived in, work places, schools that they had attended and so on. Next I published some pages in a short narrative about the trip. I then posted links to my site on a few websites that allowed me to do this, for example some forums will if it is not a commercial post.Eventually the Google search engine found my website and so now it has become easier for surfers to find it when looking for Thorne, or Stephens or Hay families. So what about the threat of spam to any email address that is published on the Internet? In order to prevent my main email becoming bogged down with spam I set up a separate email on my website domain, e.g name @ mydomain. com and then added a new identity in outlook express. I now have two email addresses so keeping my private one away from the spammers.
3. Get blogging. I chose to set up a Wordpress blog on my existing website as an add on, but Blogger is an alternative that I have seen used. You may decide that, instead of adding a blog to a website that you go down the route of a blog on its own. To many this is the simplest way to get a web presence. You are able to host it on the blog provider's platform. Better still, as you retain the copyright for anything you publish, register a domain name of your choice and get some web-hosting. Now all you need to do is set up the blog on your own hosted website. You don't need to have other pages on the site if you don't want to.
4. Join social networking sites.
Ancestral Maps is an exciting new website that allows family historians to plot events and locations relating to your ancestors' lives on maps. The idea is to then share these with others who are members of the website. It sounds like it could grow into a most useful site as it attracts new users.
So if you want to speed up your research and make contacts with distant cousins then I can't recommend enough these strategies. The bottom line is that the world wide web has made it much easier for us to make connections with fellow researchers but to do this you need to set up a means for them to find and contact you.
A word of warning: Never take what is shared and publish it without asking. If someone has put in 20 years research on their family and shares with you the benefit of their work, for you to go and add it to your website without their permission is a recipe for ill-feeling and perhaps legal proceedings.
So a distant cousin's research may well propel you along to find ancestors more quickly than if you were plodding along yourself, but remember that a good family researcher will check the primary source of any information given and will not take it as gospel until they have tracked down the births, marriages and death or census records themselves and then cited them properly in their tree.
If you've been searching for your British Isles ancestors, as have I for several years now, then you too have probably hit some brick walls.
You probably concentrated you efforts on all the easy connections in your family tree and put aside all the frustrating ones to do later. I know how you feel as I continuously came up against all sorts of brick walls when I do my own family history. In the beginning I didn't know how to get past some of them, even though now I realise that they were relatively easy to crack. It is annoying as I missed out on a lot of leads that I would otherwise have found and followed sooner.
That is why I have published the
Family History Researcher English/Welsh course:
I don't just sell my valuable information... I also give it away!
You can access to some of my Free stuff here.
To start off take a look at the podcasts to the right... and then the video: Brick walls
Also, there are Articles added all the time to my Blog: "The Nosey Genealogist".
If you sign up to my Free tip of the week, at the top of the page, I'll send you weekly some useful advice and recommendations, so scroll up there now and fill in your name and email address. I never spam and I will not sell your details to anyone else.
To listen now press play.
Podcast: 1.Five Golden Rules.
Podcast: 2.Stumbling Blocks.
Podcast: 3.Non Conformist in the Family?
Podcast: 4.IGI and Using Hugh Wallis' site.
To download to your computer, right click on the named link (e.g. 1.Five Golden Rules.) and then "save target as"
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