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The October 1, 2009 posting was entitled “A ‘To-Do’ List for Genealogists”.
This posting will discuss:

#4. Go for help from many, many people

I have found Genealogists to be an enthusiastic, helpful and sharing group of people, male and female. I have also found genealogy research to be both fun and an intensive amount of work. What follows are a few basic suggestions to reduce the research effort and increase the fun.

I tell my students they must build over time a list of 2-300 colleagues who appear to be researching the same surnames they are. I then add that if they are really serious, the numbers should be 5-600 colleagues. The question of course is, How?

Start with all of your siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles. Send them an e-mail, letter or telephone call and tell them what you are after – that is, anything they have in their attic, their parents attic or elsewhere which has to do with your common ancestors.

Next, you probably use one or more of the on-line databases such as: http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com or http://www.gencircles.com/
or another of the many available sites.

Nearly all of these sites provide somewhere on each page the name and address of the person who provided the data. Most often the person’s address is “grayed” out to make it hard for the web robots or spammers to capture the address. But you can. Everyone of these persons is somehow or other interested in your searched-for surname. Capture the name, address, surname found and send them an e-mail asking if they will exchange with you.

Spend some time on www.rootsweb.ancestry.com and you can similarly locate hundreds of colleagues. There you will find Mailing Lists, Surname Lists and County Lists for most surnames. Sign-up and you will find yourself among those especially interested in what you are doing. Dig deeper and you will find 10-12 years of past queries, signed by hundreds of fellow surname researchers.

Full disclosure: Some of these people will have changed hobbies, changed e-mail addresses, determined they are no longer interested or just plain dropped out. But I will promise you, if you go find 2-300, better still 5-600 people interested in your surnames, you will advance your research farther and faster than doing it as a sole practitioner. And think of the nice people you will meet.

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