May 29th, 2017
Genealogy is fast becoming one of the best and most popular hobbies. As a result, there are thousands of people working on their own genealogies. Networking with other amateur genealogists helps your search in a number of different ways. Remember that two heads are always better than one, and when you find someone else who can help you, whether in spirit or with actual information, it can be immensely valuable on a number of levels to your research. There are a number of different ways to network with other genealogists to improve your search.
One good way to network with others is to join a genealogy bulletin board on the internet. Bulletin boards are a way for members of an online community to post and respond to each other's messages in a public forum. Instead of simply e-mailing someone, it's like e-mailing hundreds of people with the same interests you have. You never know who might turn up with what response to your problem or question. There are hundreds of these genealogy bulletin boards across the internet. Providers like America Online and CompuServe have their own genealogy bulletin boards you can post to. Other sites, dedicated to genealogy, have a bulletin board section that you might find helpful. Becoming a member of several of these might be very valuable to your research. Most charge no fee to be a member. Once you become a member, you will need to both post and respond to other's posts to be a valuable member of this kind of online community. When you get ready to make your post, the most important thing you can do is look at the kinds of things others have posted before you. You want to look at the style, language, and subject matter of the previous posts. This will help you decide on the rules of etiquette for the board you are working with. You might also want to examine the board a little. Some boards are divided by topic area. If this is true of the one you are working with, be sure to post your message in a topic area that matches your post. If you ignore the topic areas, the board moderator may have to remove your post, which can result in several things. First, no one will be able to respond to your post. More seriously, though, you may be kicked off the board. When you do get ready to make your first post, take a couple of minutes to plan your question out. Remember that most of the people on these boards have no idea about your family background, so you want to be sure to include enough information so that they can respond to your question. Names, dates, and locations are both helpful and necessary for responders. Also, don't forget to include your own contact information so a board member can get back to you. Posting your own questions, though, isn't the only important factor in being a member of a board. You should also respond to the posts of fellow board members. Check the message board for instructions, but remember, if no one responds to anyone else, a bulletin board would not be possible, so do your part to help the boards stay in business.
Other than internet bulletin boards, you could join a local genealogy society to help you network with others. There are several reasons you might want to do this. First, it can help you feel as if you are no longer by yourself. At each meeting, you will see lots of other people who are dealing with the same difficulties and problems that you are. Second, you will learn about new skills and products to help you with your research process. Third, it may help you hone some of your skills, whether they're research related or techniques for deciphering handwriting. Fourth, guest speakers may prove immensely valuable to your own research. Finally, you may find someone with the same family lines you happen to be researching. In that case, you've just opened a whole new door to information sharing.
Networking with others can prove seriously valuable to your genealogical research for a number of different reasons. Consider your options, and find the best way for you to network with others