Share the Information

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Researchers benefit greatly from the work of earlier researchers. Often several researchers are interested in the same ancestors. Because researchers rely so heavily on the findings of others, sharing information is the way to return the favor.

Sharing is also a great way to find ancestors. Sharing leads to collaboration between researchers. Cousins will begin to contact you asking for more information. Sometimes the questions they ask will result in work that leads to new information. Once in awhile they will donate the new information directly to you.

Sharing is a good way to FIND ancestors.

In genealogical research, it may never be possible to "verify" all information, but we can have high confidence in research that is thorough and reasonable. Such efforts produce quality sources and benefit the genealogical community. Sharing your research gives your fellow researchers an opportunity to offer suggestions and add new information.

If you are using a computer program for your genealogical record keeping, be sure it supports GEDCOM (see Using a Computer for Genealogy) so that you can share your information with others.

Family[edit | edit source]

Share your newly discovered information with family members who provided information and with others who may be interested. A family reunion or family newsletter can be an excellent way to share information and help locate others who are interested in your family history.

Online Databases Like FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Another important way to share your findings is with large online genealogical databases. Some charge, others are free. For example:

FamilySearch. You can also help improve the information displayed in FamilySearch. This huge Internet database is a combination of the International Genealogical Index, Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File, and several other large genealogical databases. There are several ways to help—

  • Clean up the files already on display. This includes merging varying data entries for the same person, and getting the best data out front. At the moment, temple ordinance data is especially in need of careful merging and tender loving care.

  • Add source documentation. Now is not the best time, but eventually there will be a better way to add source footnotes to the data.

  • Contribute new information. Again, now is not the best time, but the day will come when new data will be easier to submit.

Test and Share Your DNA[edit | edit source]

Test your DNA, and share the results with public DNA databases.

Social Media[edit | edit source]

Share your genealogy on social media like Facebook.

Message Boards[edit | edit source]

Leave some family history, or a query, on an Internet genealogy message board—and repeat for several months, or until you get a response.

Self Publish[edit | edit source]

Put Up a Genealogy Web Page[edit | edit source]

Sharing genealogy on your own Internet website is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to publish your findings. Genealogical record keeping software like Personal Ancestral File can help you generate the material for your genealogy Internet site. Then all you have to do is find a web server host. For suggestions on these and other details see Create a Genealogy Web Page.

An Internet website is an inexpensive way to share your findings.

File sharing websites[edit | edit source]

Upload and share your information using document-sharing websites like Scribd or Google Docs

Write a Family History[edit | edit source]

Your family's history can be a source of enjoyment and education for your family. Writing your family history can be an effective way to evaluate, analyze, and organize your findings.

There are many helpful guides on how to write a family history, such as—

Lawrence P. Gouldrup, Writing the Family Narrative (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1987). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 929.1 G738w.

Other books about writing a family history are listed in the article Principles of Family History Research For Further Reading and in the Subject Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under—


Books. With the growing popularity of “desk top publishing,” it is becoming very easy to publish a book about your family. You can use genealogical computer programs to produce various forms, charts and text. Small-press-run publishers that specialize in family history can be found at genealogy conferences. They will help you learn about providing camera-ready copy, and help you determine how many copies you can afford to print.

The Internet can help you find publishers like which offers "free publishing" to you, but charges your readers for each copy they order. Services like editing and cover design cost you extra.

Many family members will want copies, and will usually be willing to help pay some of the production costs.

If you compile a book, or manuscript, be sure to donate copies to key libraries that may be interested in your family, such as—

  • Your local public library and the library where the family's ancestors lived.
  • The local historical society where the family lived.
  • The local genealogical society if that is separate from the historical society.
  • The state genealogical society where the family lived.
  • Major research libraries in the region where the family lived.
  • The Family History Library. See Gifts and Donations. From that page be sure to read the donation policy titled "Donations to the Family History Library," and get the "authorized gift form" granting permission for the Library to digitize or microfilm your book.

Periodical Article. If you don’t have enough information or funding to write a book, you may want to write a short article for a genealogical periodical. This is especially useful if you have solved a long standing genealogical problem that may interest other researchers, such as the birth of an ancestor in the 1700s who may have many descendants. Perhaps your solution and sources are unique and others could learn from your experience.

A helpful guide for organizing a book or article is—

Donald R. Barnes and Richard S. Lackey, Write It Right: A Manual for Writing Family Histories and Genealogy (Ocala, Fla.: Lyon Press, 1983). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 929.1 B261b.

Further information: A Guide to Printing Your Family History Wiki page.

Participate in a Family or Surname Association[edit | edit source]

Others may be searching for the same families you are researching or may have found information they wish to share. A family or surname association can be an excellent way to communicate with interested persons. Family associations often focus on the descendants of a specific person or couple while surname organizations are interested in all those sharing a specific surname. Such associations can also provide funding and support for further research. They often hold reunions or publish newsletters where information is readily shared.

Hundreds of such associations are listed in—

Elizabeth Petty Bentley and Deborah Ann Carl, Directory of Family Associations (Baltimore: Genealogical Publ., 2001). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D24benb.

Family Associations and Organizations and Surname Organizations in at [accessed 27 May 2008]. Organized by state or nation.

To begin such an association, you can advertise in a major genealogical magazine such as The Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine or in the newsletter of the local genealogical society where your family settled. For a list of local genealogical societies see Historical and Genealogical Societies of the United States.

Contact other interested family members and seek others with the surname of interest in computerized phone directories.

[edit | edit source]

On occasion it may not be possible to publish your findings. If you have a significant amount of printed or manuscript material about a family, an archive or historical society may be interested in your files. Be sure they are well organized so others can find information in the collection. If possible, index your materials.

The Family History Library is willing to microfilm (or digitize for the Internet) organized collections of material. For details see the Library's Gifts and Donations page, and read the policy link titled "Donations to the Family History Library."

Computerized pedigrees and family group records should be contributed to the Pedigree Resource File.

See also[edit | edit source]

What to do with the genealogy and family history I collected