Jul 212011
This week I participated in DearMyrtle’s webinar on Google+. I particularly liked the collaborative style of leadership that Myrt demonstrated, inviting participants to become presenters (that is,. having their screens available to the rest of the participants while they demonstrated something they learned about Google+). Since I recently wrote a post about doing my genealogical research in collaboration with my son, I began to wonder about the differing ways that we collaborate as genealogists / family historians.  Here are some my favorites:
  1. One-on-One Collaboration  (our collaborative research benefits both of us)  —  My introduction to genealogy came through collaboration. Before I was interested in genealogy, my 1st cousin, once removed, allowed me to copy his Brenner Notebook.  When the genealogy “bug” bit me, his work laid a foundation for my research.  Early on, my brother-in-law and I shared data back and forth.  He provided most of the initial data for my wife’s lineage.  In the past couple of years, I have been able to collaborate with a number of people; my thanks to them:    Mary Anna and Miriam Bode (telling the stories behind Dana’s Brenner Notebook); John Boyer (Weaver, Gregg, and Boyer research); David Brenner (Brenner and Van Fossan research); Arlene Manale (Brenner research); Deb Williams (Messerall family Bible); Ernest Schumacher (Venninger research); Allen Frederickson (Cole research); and, of course, my son, Russ (the focus of my post, “Collaborative Genealogy”).
  2. Insight Collaboration  (I glean ideas from others that spark new ideas for me)  —  I regularly scan 94 genealogy blogs, picking up ideas and suggestions that inform my work.  a couple of weeks ago, I read a post that directed me to Tonia’s Roots blog.  She issued an invitation: “Then join me as I spend the next 31 weeks putting into practice tips and tricks from ProBlogger, Darren Rowse.”  She provides a summary of ideas from Rowse’s ebook and suggests a challenge task for the week.  This blog post is a part of response to week’s 3’s challenge:  “#31WBGB: Promote a Blog Post.”  
  3. Reflective Collaboration   (your thoughts + my thoughts can lead to better thinking)  —  Reflective Collaboration is more interactive than Insight Collaboration.        Comments on blog posts and social networking (Facebook, Google+, GenealogyWise, et al) all provide ways of sharing ideas. Sometimes focused on solving a particular problem;  here brainstorming can help break down brick walls.  There has been a lot of Reflective Collaboration in the past couple of years about source and citations.  One benefit of having a tech-savvy son, is that we regularly think through the intersection of genealogical research and technology.  Our private research WIKI has helped us map out our priorities and goals.
  4. Teaching/Learning Collaboration  (I learn from your experience as it informs and shapes my practice)  —  my skills have been sharpened and expanded by many within the genealogical community.  As a user of RootsMagic 4, I have appreciated Bruce Buzbee’s webinars. They have expanded my understanding and use of my RootsMagic software.  I have just started the NGS American Genealogy: Home Study Course.  (Actually, I have purchased it and have it loaded onto my computer; but I haven’t proceed beyond lesson one.)  I subscribe to Michael John Neill’s Casefile Clues.   (They provide insight into high quality genealogical research and decision-making.)  Thomas MacEntee’s “Building a Research Toolbox,” provided me with help in organizing my Google Bookmarks so as to provide quick links to important online research sites.  Genealogy conferences (I attended last year’s Midwest Family History Expo and am bummed that I will have to miss out of this year’s event.)
  5. Professional Collaboration  (your research becomes me)   I have not yet used the services of a professonal genealogist.  The time is coming near, however, when I will probably avail myself of such research services.  The TV show, Who Do You Think You Are has provided a brief glimpse into collaboration with professional genealogists.
  6. “Pay It Forward” Collaboration  (your “grunt work” facilitates my research)  — a significant amount volunteer work is done by genealogists for other genealogists.   RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness) provides free genealogical research by “volunteers [who] take time to do everything from looking up courthouse records to taking pictures of tombstones.”  Last month I decided to “pay it forward.”  I signed up to be an indexer for FamilySearch.  Today I indexed my 1300th name  (records include: US Census, Church of England baptismal records, county marriage records in 4 different states, WWII draft registrations, and will books).  I not only feel good about contributing, but I suspect I may be a little more tolerant when I find that one of my ancestors has been inaccurately indexed.  I heartily recommend indexing records as a way to “pay it forward.”

 How do you collaborate with others?  What does your genealogical collaboration look like?  I’d be interested in hearing from you. 

      5 Responses to “6 Types of Genealogical Collaboration”

    1. Great post, there would be no genealogy for me without lots of collaboration. I started 30 years ago, and collaborated with distant cousins by snail mail, swapped information with folks by classified ads, and graduated up to internet bulletin boards, Facebook, FindAGrave and RAOGK. I love collaborating with folks on my blog, too, when other bloggers find out they are my distant cousins, or casual readers have objects and stories to share. The genealogical community is so generous, it's hard to imagine research anymore without embracing the whole community.

    2. I love collaborative genealogy. Even for family lines for which I have no one with whom to collaborate, the genealogy blogging community fills that role by providing feedback on my research posts.

    3. Where would you classify collaboration through a wiki like WeRelate.org or WikiTree.com? It could be many people contributing one or two things each, so it's not necessarily one-on-one.

    4. Great post – very thoughtful and thought-provoking. I wish I could have participated in DearMyrtle's webinar, but it didn't work into my schedule.

    5. Thanks for the reminder. I'm a solo flier, but know the value of collaboration. Will make a bigger effort to push myself in these areas.

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