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Genealogy Do-Over – Week 12, Cycle 3: 18-24 September 2015

Genealogy Do-Over - Month 12:

The Genealogy Do-Over - Week 12 Topics: 1) Sharing research and 2) Reviewing research travel options

Click here to download this article in PDF format.

Previous topics in the Genealogy Do-Over:

[Editor’s note: Much of the text below is unchanged from the original Week 12 posting on March 20, 2015, except for my personal updates.]

Topics: 1) Sharing research and 2) Reviewing research travel options

As we enter Week 12 and cruise towards the end of the Genealogy Do-Over, we discuss sharing our research with others in the genealogy community as well as how to prepare for a research trip. The skills developed in both of these areas will serve you well as you progress with your genealogy research.

And remember that when the current Genealogy Do-Over cycle ends, on 1 October 2015, I’ll be restarting with Cycle 4, Week 1 on Friday, 2 October 2015 and it will run through 31 December 2015.

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Sharing Research

Sharing your genealogy research with others should be a “no-brainer,” right? But if you’ve been doing genealogy for a number of years, you know that it isn’t always as easy as it should be.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Collaborating and Sharing

Here are some ways you can not only benefit from collaborating and sharing with other genealogists, but also repay those researchers who provided valuable information for your own search.

  • Be nice. The world is a small town. The genealogy community is really a small place and you realize that more and more with the advent of social media. Rude genealogists are duly noted and their reputation will precede them. Kindness offered to others is often returned ten-fold.
  • Ask for attribution and give attribution. If you want your work to be credited, make sure you are walking the walk on attribution. Drafting the text, sending it to the researcher, and getting their approval is a nice gesture. Also don’t be afraid to set some reasonable rules when providing your research and always ask for attribution. Again, providing the ready-made text that credits your work not only makes it easier, but can also help educate the other researcher if they are a newbie.
  • Don’t give to get. It can be difficult to embrace an abundance model, but once you start to share with others, you get the hang of how it works. Don’t fall into the “tit for tat” game, but don’t be a sucker either.
  • Track your work. Use Google Alerts to track your copyrighted content. One trick: create a unique phrase for each document or intentionally misspell a word in a phrase and use them as your search string.

You think it would be simple especially since the genealogy community is generally known as a dedicated and intelligent group of researchers all focused on a similar goal: finding our ancestors. Yet researchers are people, and as such, little things, like the ego and even misinformation or lack of knowledge, can be like sand in the gears of the genealogy machine.

  • What I Plan to Do: I’m big on sharing, and with the Genealogy Do-Over I am making it clear as to what is sourced genealogy research and unsourced. This may mean marking an entire tree on Ancestry as “unsourced” and include a disclaimer in any descriptive text. I don’t want to ever stop sharing, nor do I want to remove old trees, but I do want to make sure others can be confident in my research.
  • “All-In” Participant Options: If you have any trees or items you’ve shared prior to embarking on the Genealogy Do-Over, consider following the same course of “warning” others especially about unsourced information. Realize that you aren’t calling out your mistakes . . . you could even give a nice plug for the Genealogy Do-Over in your explanation!
  • Modified Participant Options: If you have the time (and the energy) and you are correcting your research, consider doing the same for any online trees or messages or other information you’ve shared with others.

Reviewing Research Travel Options

While I travel quite a bit delivering genealogy lectures, I always try to squeeze in some research during a trip. It could be a visit to a local genealogy society library, a cemetery or a historical site. And if I get a chance to take a personal vacation, chances are it will involve genealogy research?

Sponsored Research Trips, Genealogy Cruises and More

While you may have been doing genealogy for years, you may not realize that organized genealogy research trips sponsored by genealogical societies as well as individuals have become very popular. In addition, a genealogy cruise is a great way to take a vacation yet still get a solid genealogy education.

  • Genealogy Society Trips. Most organized research trips don’t include the actual travel expense of arriving at the destination – that is your responsibility. But once there, your accommodations and some meals are covered as well as consultation sessions with professional genealogists. Check out the upcoming trips at the National Genealogical Society (http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/research_trips) including Washington, DC (November 2015) and Salt Lake City, Utah (January 2016). American Ancestors (aka New England Historic Genealogical Society) offers organized research programs (http://www.americanancestors.org/education/research-tours-and-programs/). Upcoming events include a Research Getaway (October 2015) at the NEHGS library in Boston.
  • Individual or Vendor-Sponsored Trips. Very often a professional genealogist will organize a research trip to a well-known repository such as the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah or the New York State Library in Albany, New York. Professional genealogist Michael John Neill organizes research trips to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana as well as the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (http://rootdig.blogspot.com/). Leland Meitzler, of Family Roots Publishing, sponsors the Salt Lake Christmas Tour the second week of December each year (https://sites.google.com/site/saltlakechristmastour/) which includes accommodations at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel right next to the Family History Library, help from consultants and also close to 30 classes throughout the week!
  • Individually-Tailored Trips. There are times when you know where you want to go and what records you want to look at, but the language and culture might be a barrier. Kathy Wurth of Family Tree Tours (http://familytreetours.com/) can assist you with genealogy research in Germany and arranging assistance from local German genealogists who know the records.
  • Genealogy Cruises. Once you’ve taken a genealogy cruise, you’ll wish that all your genealogy trips were this much fun! Check out the many different cruises offered by Unlock the Past (http://www.unlockthepastcruises.com/) including the Baltic and Europe in 2016.

Do-It-Yourself Research Trips

You may prefer to “fly solo” or find that an organized trip does not exist for your specific area of research. Or you may want to attend a national genealogy conference for the first time and then tack on a few days for research. No matter the reason, many genealogists prefer to plan out their own trips.

Here are some areas to review and consider when planning the ultimate genealogy research trip:

  • What Type of Traveler Are You? This may seem silly, but it really does matter that you understand your travel habits. Why? Well, one reason is that recognizing your “must haves” and how you respond to unexpected changes can help you plan a more productive and enjoyable trip.
  • Preparation and Packing. Some of us pack at the last minute while others pull out the suitcase weeks ahead of a trip. Whatever works for you, make sure you have a checklist and consider the tools you’ll need to get the most out of your research.
  • Preferred Mode of Transportation. Do you hate to fly? Do you love the nostalgia of a train ride? Or are you a road warrior with an RV ready to go? Use the method of getting there and back that works for you!
  • Accommodations. Spartan, since you’ll spend little time in the room? Or luxurious so you can be pampered after a tough day of research? Where you stay can really set the mood for your entire trip.
  • Expenses. Create a budget and prioritize items as “must haves” and “optional.” Find ways to save money so you can purchase books and souvenirs or splurge on a celebratory dinner the last night of your trip.
  • Emergencies and Last Minute Changes. Things happen, and how you react and can adapt to change can sink or save a research trip. Make sure you have emergency information for each location including hospitals, urgent care centers and pharmacies. Also let your friends and family know where you are and how to reach you during the trip.

Also, if you plan on traveling with another researcher, make sure you review all the items above with that person. There is nothing worse than being on a trip you’ve planned all year for, only to find out that you have different “must haves” and “likes.”

BONUS: Free Webinar Recording – Family History Trippin’

Click here to view a free webinar recording on planning a genealogy research trip that I produced for Flip-Pal mobile scanner.

  • What I Plan to Do: I am actually took some time off this summer and in 2016 I plan on making some smaller research trips related to some of my brick walls! I prefer the “do-it-yourself” approach although later this year, in December 2015, I will be an instructor for the Salt Lake Christmas Tour!
  • “All-In” Participant Options: If you haven’t taken a research trip in a while, make sure that your using your best research (meaning from the Genealogy Do-Over) when you head out. Also, check out all the new apps and sites that make traveling easier!
  • Modified Participant Options: Although you’re “reviewing” your previous genealogy research, there should be no need to retrace your steps and revisit old research locations . . . unless you believe you’ll locate new items and make progress. Consider trying a sponsored research trip or heading out to a new locale!

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And that’s all I have for this week’s topic of the Genealogy Do-Over. Get ready for next week when we’ll discuss the best ways to share your genealogy research and also, how to prepare for a genealogy research trip!

Next Week: Week 13, Cycle 3 – 25 September – 1 October 2015

  • Securing Research Data
  • Reviewing The Journey

Thanks for being a part of the Genealogy Do-Over and your feedback is always appreciated. You can leave a comment on the blog post at GeneaBloggers, email me at geneabloggers@gmail.com or post at the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

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