Who Have You Told?
As researchers of our family history we work diligently to make our ancestors more than just names and dates. In fact, we work to colour their lives and make them three dimensional.
We share their stories and information in any way we can. Partially there is an ulterior motive in that we would love to find cousins who could give further information or lead us to that treasure trove of photos, letters, Family Bibles etc but mainly so we can give them life.
I have recently attended the 14th Australasian Congress on Heraldry and Genealogy in Canberra. It was well run and had many informative sessions and lots of Genies present. I gave four presentations and those who have attended my presentations know that wherever applicable I will use information and documents from my own family research or my Quested One Name Study to illustrate whatever lecture I give.
I met up with an unknown cousin last year by doing this and I hit the jackpot again in Canberra. I had no idea my ancestor had a half nephew who was Australian Royalty!
Mark Rollason was convicted in 1836 at the Coventry Sessions and took the one way voyage, after spending some time on the Hulks, aboard the Minerva to Van Diemen’s Land in 1838. He serves his sentence then leads a long fulfilling life with many descendants in New South Wales. As you can imagine great excitement ensued. Now I am not saying you need to write and present lectures (unless this is something you want to do) but there are many ways of getting your interests out there.
The Joan Reese Memorial Short Story competition is one way in which you could do this. The closing date for this is the 1st June. More information is available here.
Maybe you don’t want to enter a competition but you could write an article for Generation or the Family History Society Journal in your ancestors’ geographic area of interest (after all you are a member aren’t you?)
Remember journals are exchanged between societies and they also tend to stay in society libraries for a number of years ready to find that cousin. I have had a response from a family history article I wrote nine years later! Of course you still need to be contactable which is where I suggest having a generic email such as a Gmail address where it won’t matter if you change ISPs during your research life. Members Interests are also a way of spreading the word. Spread the word among the mail lists and forums, anywhere you can.
Social media is the new place that can be very successful for genealogy research.
Facebook is not just cats and what people eat or wear. In fact there are over 4500+ pages dedicated to genealogy for all over the world. Facebook is a free service. Katherine R. Willson has made it easy for us as she has made a downloadable list of the pages of which she knows and you can obtain a copy here.
Many of the groups require you to be a member of the group to post messages or photos.
Another way of getting the message out is by writing online articles about your family and publishing it on a blog. It doesn’t have to be a “War and Peace” style article. Many people put up a photograph with some details and it is a post. It is a fantastic way of sharing memories or, as Alona Tester has done with this blog Memorabilia House,
family items and their stories. As Google searches the blogs they also act as fantastic cousin bait for the day they put in a name query relating to the family.
GSQ will be running a seminar later in the year around September on Using Social Media, Blogs etc for Family History.
Who have you told and how are you getting out the word?
Great article Helen. You've set us a challenge indeed!
We often, as genealogists, hear about how to discuss our heritage in order to progress our research and rightly so, but this post is refreshing in its approach in addressing our responsibility to 'pass it on'. Thanks so much for challenging my perspective on this Helen.
They say once something is on the Internet it is there forever, lets make that work in our favour for our family history stories!
Lyndall, it is also the fact that for people like me without descendants, if I don't pass the stories on they will die with me.
Wise words Helen…different strategies maximise your opportunities.
Definitely Pauleen. Many people favour one contact method over another so you have to cater to your potential audience.
Helen, great suggestions. We are fortunate that there are so many ways to share our family history compared to even a few years ago.