My recent post (6 Types of Genealogical Collaboration) received a few comments that prompted this follow-up post.
Heather Rojo reminded me of a rather basic reality, “there would be no genealogy for me without lots of collaboration.” Collaboration is endemic to the genealogical process. Greta Koehl elaborated on that idea suggesting that, “[even when] I have no one with whom to collaborate, the genealogy blogging community fills that role by providing feedback on my research posts” The genealogy “community” is present in geneabloggers, software user groups, local/regional/national genealogical societies, surname groups, professional associations, and many more forms.
Randy Seaver asked a probing question “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.” (Engineers ask good organizational and structural questions!) I did not include online family trees and wikis because I have not yet shared my data in this manner. (I am in the process of provide source citations so that, when shared in one or more online projects, my data will demonstrate some level of reliability.) This necessitates expanding my 6 Types by adding a 7th –
7. One-to-Many / Many-to-One Collaboration (we share in a research project that is bigger than any of us) Online family trees and wikis are collaborative research projects. They accept input from whoever chooses to register. Much conversation continues in the genealogy blogosphere about the validity and value of the un-sourced data that is provided. Of course, the key to any genealogical collaboration is the validity and value of the shared data. Hopefully, this concern encourages two responses: 1) ensure that you have validated the data you share and provide a means (source citation) for others to check it out and 2) don’t accept someone else’s data as “gospel” unless you have checked it out. As I said in my first post on Genealogical Collaboration, I do not believe that genealogical research is necessarily done faster if done collaboratively. In my experience, collaboration tends to slow down the process. The benefit, however, is that collaborative genealogical research will likely provide a result that is of higher quality.