Saturday, 2 April 2011

Open Thread Thursday - Collaborative Genealogy

The internet has done wonderful things to enable to us to share data and meet with our genealogical cousins.

When I first began researching in the mid 1980s the most technological bit of kit was a telephone! and a fiche and microfilm reader. Now more than 20 years on I have an online presence; this blog, Face Book, Twitter and a family tree loaded to Genes Reunited. All of which are available via computer and even mobile phones.

I have connected to cousins using Face Book, but most of my online success has been through either Genes Reunited or from posts to mailing lists. Mailing lists are less popular than they once were, but it is important to retain or use an email address that is going to be accessible at some time in the future.

In the early days we probably all made the mistake of using the email address provided by the ISP. As we became more confident with the internet we possibly changed ISPs in search of better access or a bargain, or upgraded to broadband and more than likely the email address changed. Facilities such as Google and Gmail have helped us be able to maintain our email address, along with perhaps purchasing a domain name in which we can set to divert email and web addresses to anywhere we choose.

Over the years my tree on Gene's Reunited has been updated and as a consequence of that I have made a quite a few connections.

Some of those are researchers with whom we share data and perhaps keep in contact with for amendments and questions, others do not reply at all or are slow at responding because life gets in the way or there have been those who have shared data reciprocally and then keep in contact with the trivial data of life and have become good on line friends.

Indeed, I have a friend with whom I first received a letter as a result of listing my genealogical interests in a Family History Magazine. The letter provided some genealogical details, but the question was did we have a connection? Actually we didn't, but more than 20 years on, we are, despite the 10,000 miles between us still in contact. More regular than we once were thanks to Face Book.

I recently was contacted via Gene Reunited. We knew from the data that we were connected then an oddity was noticed. Had I made an error? Further research shows that I had in fact made the error, as have the 10 other people who have accessed my tree and not checked the information. That particular line had been on the back burner for a while. I would have eventually revisited that particular line and would have noticed the error I made. More importantly, the error does not replace a whole line of ancestors, that would have been a disaster. The error was simply that I had misread something and not noticed!

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