Crowdsource your genealogy question

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This is the syllabus, with additional information and links, from the RootsTech 2013 presentation given by Jean Robbins and Janell Vasquez.

Genealogy beginners naturally ask for help. But how often do we ask for help as more intermediate or advanced genealogists, when we already understand the basics? Every time we begin researching a new family in a new place or a new time, asking for help – from someone who knows – can get us started on the path much more quickly.

Link to Presentation Slides

Crowdsourcing is...

The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a group of people with similar interests through online communities and tools.

In other words, asking a group of people for help with a problem or question.

The Formula

  • Do all you know how to do
  • Show what you've found
  • Find the right people to ask
  • Ask a clear question

Who do we ask?

Find those who are passionate about genealogy:

  • Love helping, and have research experience wher eyou are looking
  • Your own family


Display your research

Find Communities

There's a difference between a Query board and a Help forum. Query boards are great for leaving a breadcrumb trail, but just don't ask for help there. Query boards will show 0 replies on the posts there.

Places where you can find good online communities:

Don't forget the offline communities like your local genealogical societies - if they don't have a session during your monthly meetings for helping each other with their genealogy, start one!

Collaborate with Family

Seven rules for asking effective questions

  1. Don’t ask for everything.
  2. Choose a specific goal.
  3. Communicate information for that one goal.
  4. Don’t assume your helper is a mind reader.
  5. Share where have you already looked.
  6. Provide good contact information.
  7. Thank your helpers.

Give back and become a helper