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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    « On the Subject of Citing Sources | Main | The Family Curator Shares Connections at Shades »

    Ten Tips for Making Family Connections

    The Family Curator appears at Shades of the Departed today on the subject of finding family connections through the internet. I am delighted to share my most recent reunion with cousin Scott Angus MacPhee, great-grandson of Mercy Kinsel MacPhee, and appreciate the efforts of footnoteMaven in making it all happen.

    As I wrote about Scott and the other family connections I have made through Shades and through blogging, I came up with a few more ways that web-wanderers can scout out elusive cousins. My mother, Suzanne Winsor Freeman, has become somewhat of an expert with forums and message boards, and is the inspiration for many of the suggestions that follow.

    10. Post the family names you are researching on a popular genealogy message board or surname list. Go to the Query page at Cyndi's List for a comprehensive listing of sites and helpful information on how to craft your query for results.

    9. Post your family name on the Virtual Surname Wall at the Southern California Genealogical Society. This organization has been helping researchers find their family roots since 1964 and currently hosts the popular SCGS Jamboree conference each year in June.

    8. Locate the historical society in your family's hometown and request a listing in their newsletter or online bulletin board. A small donation would certainly be much appreciated! Check back regularly to discover any replies to your posting. Consult the United States Genealogy and Historical Society Directory at for a list of U.S. societies.

    7. Join the local or state genealogical society in the region your ancestors lived and post a query through their publications. Societies welcome members from around the world, and their publications are filled with informative articles about an area that may be unfamiliar to you.

    6. Listen to genealogy podcasts with an ear out for your family surnames. Subscribe and listen through iTunes, or check out the links at Cyndi's List.

    5. Respond promptly to any queries you receive. Offer to share information, and compensate others willing to share with you for any expenses incurred such as shipping or photocopying.

    4. Be a name dropper. Use your family names liberally on your genealogy/family history blog or website. Who knows what search engines will grab a relation and steer them toward your site.

    3. Join Facebook or another social networking site and watch for genealogy and family history groups to add to your Favorites. This will allow you to keep up on news, events, and interact with other researchers.

    2. Comment on blog posts! Blog writers love comments. When you see your family name or locale mentioned, inquire about a connection with your own research.

    And, my #1 Tip for Making Family Connections . . .

    1. Write or post a comment with footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed. She seems to have the Magic Touch!

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    Reader Comments (3)

    Denise, Great tips. Remember how I found Cousin Sara and about Mt. View Ranch. That was on the Blonger Bros. site. What a surprise that turned out to be. You really have to be a name dropper and post,post,post. You never know what will turn up. Mom

    November 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


    Thank you so much for a great article!

    And, I've never been anyone's #1 Tip for Making Family Connections, so Thank You!


    November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterfootnoteMaven

    You are very welcome, fM. I think the connections I found through Shades attest to its popularity and wide readership; I can't wait to see who turns up next! -- DL

    November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDenise L

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