Monday, May 26, 2008

Promoting My Family History: Engaging Relatives

I'm at a loss as to why I have found so few relatives researching common ancestors. I often feel I am the only one doing so. A large part of the information I've received from others has been from generous contributors wholly unrelated to me.

Here are some of the ways I present the family history seeking information and collaborators:
    • I've sought contributions from those relatives for whom I have contact information.
    • I established a private site at MyFamily.com in 2001.  The site initiated much sharing in the beginning, but has been dormant for several years.
    • I've made numerous queries on message boards.
    • The family tree has been online since 2004 and has been growing with a collaborative effort on Geni since 2007.
    • I began contributing family history documents to Footnote and have made many annotations.
    • I started contributing photographs and information to Find A Grave.
    • I have had hundreds of family history documents and photographs available online for public viewing since 2006.  All will be shared at Flickr with dates, descriptions, sources, geotagging, and tags.
    • I have numerous detailed family history entries on this site. Several receive a lot of traffic, but I am rarely contacted about them.
    I feel genuinely appreciative to everyone who has contributed to the family history up to this point.  So many seem reluctant to volunteer information feeling their lives, or that of our ancestors, weren't remarkable enough to document.  How can I impress upon them that is definitely not the case?  We each have a life story to tell if someone will listen.  I'm definitely here to listen.

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