Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It’s a Google+ of Genealogists!

You know...like a flock of birds, school of fish, or stealth of ninjas. Google+ is only in the trial stage right now and genealogists are jumping on the bandwagon at an amazing pace! 

Having been a little slow to adapt to social networking, I wanted to get in on the ground floor of this most recent opportunity. Because Google+ is not open to everyone, I asked a friend to send me an invitation to join. I created my account this morning, poked around a little, created some circles, found some of my genealogy pals and added them to circles. I think I’m going to like it! 

Several genealogy bloggers have posted their thoughts about Google+ and genealogy. Here are a few links: 

DearMYRTLE has hosted a series of four FREE webinars about Google+ the last one is this evening. Google+ users and wannabe users discuss various features, what they like and don’t like, and offer tips and tricks. The post about the webinars includes a link for registration.

I hope you’ll consider joining the rest of the "Google+" of genealogists. If you need an invitation, send your email address to me at denise (dot) spurlock (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with Collaborative Genealogy

Two heads are better than one, right? That’s the basic concept behind collaborative genealogy—that, if we work together, we’ll all learn more about our family history.

For years, I’ve had a family tree on RootsWeb’s World Connect project, and I have a public member tree on Ancestry.com. From time to time, I’ve had people contact me about information I have posted. Sometimes it’s to ask a question, sometimes to provide me with additional information.  

The message boards on RootsWeb and Ancestry have been helpful. Posting queries and searching through boards have provided information and clues to follow up. I even met a cousin through a message board who really helped advance my research on the Spurlock family. (RIP, cousin Ernie, I miss you!)

FamilySearch has an excellent collection of genealogy lessons, location guides, and discussion forums all providing opportunities for sharing and learning about genealogy. 

A few months ago I took the plunge and uploaded my GEDCOM file containing some 9,500 names to WikiTree with the hope that it would open new avenues of research. And it has! I love it! I’ve met some distant cousins (virtually) and our combined knowledge of our family connections has increased. 


A couple of times in the last few months I’ve been poking around on other sites looking for information and discovered that people have just copied one of my WikiTree profiles, pasted it into a word processing document, and posted it as a “story” attached to their trees. Aarrgghh!  

These folks are missing the point! If we don’t make the effort to communicate with the individuals who have posted information, it’s not collaborative genealogy. And we miss an opportunity to expand our collective knowledge. 

I believe collaborative genealogy is one of the keys to solving our brick wall problems, and I will continue to post information on my trees and on my blogs. But we still have to communicate with each other to get the results we want.

For more information about working together, check out the Geneabloggers’ BlogTalkRadio episode on Collaborative Genealogy and the Legacy Family Tree webinar “Leveraging the Power of WE” (available free for a limited time under archived webinars).

© 2011 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research