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The Absolute Power of Collaboration!

13 Jan

Can you imagine if you were working on your genealogy all by yourself? Maybe some of you are thinking, “I am working on it alone. No one else in my family cares about this stuff. So, Brian, mind your own business…”

Ok, suit yourself. But I doubt anyone is working on their research alone. According to this nice little graphic from Pinterest, there is little chance I am working on my family lines alone:

genealogy chart

So if you’re working on your great-great-great-grandparents, there are lots of descendants, and surely one of them is doing research. And if not a direct descendant, a cousin. Somewhere. Doing something. Right?

I recently discovered some great information about my ancestors through “cousins” who are working the same line. Since I’m a pretty inexperienced researcher, there are certain “stories” that would take me months, if not years, to dig up. Here’s how I found it.

I was on FamilySearch just looking up a little info on John Pearson (1821-1914). I don’t have much outside of what is already on FamilySearch. I do have his daughter’s short personal history, so that’s something. But I noticed that someone had recently updated some of John’s information on FamilySearch/tree. And when I clicked on the username that was responsible, it brought up an email address. So, of course, I shot off an email:

Hello,

I am doing some family history work and am wondering what you may be able to share regarding John Pearson (b. 1822). I am directly related to him and am just trying to find some biographical information about him and his work in Logan Utah…

Thank you,
Brian M.
And here was the reply:
Brian,
I am so glad to hear from you. I am wondering how you got my name. I am descended from John Pearson as well. [she gives her line info] to John Pearson.  Who are your parents, grandparents and great parents? I do have some information on John Pearson I am willing to share. What information do you have? I would like to add to what I have. I will pull some things together after Christmas for you. Do you live in Logan?
And it begins. My new “cousin” and I exchanged a few emails and then she sent me an email with the following:
  1. Birth certificate
  2. Marriage certificate
  3. Death certificate
  4. John’s second wife’s obituary
  5. About 10 good pictures of John and his family and home

JohnPearson

Yep, he’s obviously related. The beard is a dead giveaway that he’s my blood relative…(if I had a beard).

I could not have found these things myself. Well, maybe I could have, but I don’t even know where she obtained the pictures. I was able to add the autobiography of John’s daughter, which our family has, to an email and send it to her.

We both win!

Then, I noticed a second person adding to the John Pearson FamilySearch page. He is related to John through a different daughter than I am. So, I emailed him. He sent me a short biographical sketch containing things I didn’t know regarding his first marriage and his second wife’s first marriage. And when I had a question on some of the data, he quickly sent follow-up information to help my research. So, of course, I sent the little autobiography.

The power of collaboration! How has collaborating with others helped your research?

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