Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Get Connected!

Orion Matthias Judd (1st cousin 3x removed) and wife Daisy Smith
Fresno, California - 1949

This morning I received a wonderful email from a new genealogy friend. She located seven death certificates that I have been hunting for several months. In the email she stated they were "beautiful" which made very happy.

When I told my husband he commented "this makes you more excited than jewelry". Indeed the gratification received from having another piece of the family puzzle out weighed any fancy bauble.

After calming down a little and responding to my friends email I started thinking about the genealogy community. In the past year the overwhelming kindness, generosity, and friendships that I have received is simply amazing.

With the simple act of connecting with this community the benefits have exceeded any possible expectations. As I catalogue the assistance received over the past year from these wonderful people the list is impressive.

*Connecting on Ancestry - I have written several posts about our "cousin" Steve and the photographs, letters, and information he GAVE our family on our Judd family line. The above photograph is just one of the originals he sent for our collection. Just by connecting on the website I now have a wonderful friend out in California.

*Find-A-Grave - For many years there has been great confusion about one of our family surnames. Was it Gaphardt? Was it Gephardt? Sometimes this research would make my head spin! Finally I decided to place requests for both surnames on Find-A-Grave to see if we could solve this riddle.

The following week I again received an email from a new genealogy friend. Margot sent the message she uploaded the requested headstones. She then went on to ask if I wanted the additional ones she discovered. What do you think I said?

Immediately I responded thanking her for all her efforts and confirming any additional information would indeed be appreciated. With this simple "angel" act we are on the way to solving the Gaphardt/Gephardt mystery.

Yet another new friend helped with this family surname quandary. Barbara supplied assistance looking up names in the city directories. There we finally discovered the family had used both names at various times.

*Message boards - Searching for my husband's ancestors residing a distance from where we live has proved a bit challenging. Reading several posts about message boards gave me the push to investigate their use in locating information.

A more seasoned genealogist gave instructions writing a query in the hopes of contacting possible connections. Not long after we recieved a message asking for more details. Because of this tip from a friend we have garnered important facts linking to the correct family line.

*Online networking - This winter I jumped into the deep end of the networking pool! Facebook, Twitter, and webinars. The "virtual" friends I meet along the way have not only been generous with their knowledge, but provided encouragement during each confusing step. Attending the offered webinars by genealogy experts has given me access to the larger community of family historians.

*Connect with the genealogy blogging community - What can I say about this group of people? They are fun, insightful, helpful, and sometimes a wee bit crazy! I have started following many fellow bloggers over the past year. Each morning spending a hour reading their posts has been the best way to start the day. Also, the many opportunities offered such as GeneaBloggersRadio, Scanfest, and GeneaBloggers post prompts.

*Genealogy groups - This brings us back to that wonderful email received this morning. Our local library has a genealogy discussion group which meets once a month. About six months ago I started attending these meetings on a regular basis. The best decision by far was locating a group of like minded genealogy enthusiasts! Our group leaders have provided wonderful learning opportunities with guest speakers, member presentations, and field trips.

Here is where I meet my friend Carol, who generously supplied the needed death certificates. The friendships themselves have proved to be instantaneous and comfortable. Just the common goal of preserving our families history makes us feel like kindred spirits.

Today's tip? Get connected! Go in search of the wonderful community of people called genealogists!


  1. A library genealogy group sounds great. Wish our local library would do that.

  2. Ditto to the above comment. Sure wish there were others here I could connect with but I'm the only person I actually know that cares a hoot about genealogy! I look forward to checking out more of your blog:)

  3. Nancy & Cheri,

    The group started when several genealogy enthusiasts booked the library meeting room & the rest was history. You would be surprised how many like minded people are in your community. Give it a try!