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Researching with a partner

By Victoria Advocate
Oct. 20, 2009 at 5:20 a.m.


Recently I encouraged readers to mark Oct. 9, 2010 on their calendars and plan to attend the Victoria County Genealogical Seminar with featured guest speaker George Morgan.

I have attended three genealogical conferences in which Morgan presented excellent sessions that were well organized, informative, and centered on timely subjects of interest to the audience.

During question and answer sessions, he was personably willing to share his wealth of research experience when replying to questions both simple and complex.

Morgan is the author of the 2nd edition of "How to Do Everything: Genealogy, The Official Guide to Ancestry.com," and hundreds of articles on genealogy. Also, he is a weekly columnist for Ancestry's newsletter.

This past week Morgan wrote Collaboration With Other Researchers. I encourage genealogists and family historians to follow of his suggestions because they can make research much more rewarding, accurate, and pleasurable. Often a note or bit of information from a fellow researcher can open doors to a whole new field of ideas helping us to leap over a brick wall that has troubled us for years. Besides, two heads are always better than one.

From personal experience I find that contacting and working with relatives who live in the area where my ancestors resided is a great help, especially when I need cemetery dates, courthouse records, newspaper clippings, and library look-ups. They have saved me many trips and countless research hours by checking for the information I need.

I share my findings with them because I want my research to be in more than one place in case of fire or water damage. Caution: Always make numerous paper copies of your research and share them with relatives. Never trust your years of research to a computer program or a CD.

How Can I Locate A Research Partner?

Morgan suggests, "Genealogical and historical societies provide some of the best collaborative research opportunities available. Membership in a local society provides many benefits you may not have considered.

"First, societies are made up of people from many locations with lots of different backgrounds and research experiences. Membership in the society provides many opportunities to meet people, discuss research challenges, and share suggestions for furthering your research. You may actually meet people in your own society whose ancestors knew your ancestors."

In addition, you can go online to the Ancestry.com Message Board and Message Connect; or the Rootsweb mailing list. Also, you can search on Google your surname and see if others are researching your family. In most cases, the researcher will include his or her contact e-mail address.

The Texas Tracers have found distant cousins within our own group. As Morgan reminds us, group research trips are fun and help form great relationships with other members. He encourages us to volunteer for projects such as indexing records, digitizing documents, and canvassing cemeteries to create camaraderie and foster discussions about one another's research. Who knows, we may meet a distant relative along the way.

Send e-mail genealogy queries to mjones@vicad.com. VCGS members will research queries requiring extensive study.

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