Making Connections: Info-sharing Etiquette, Beginners and Beating Brick Walls

By Family Tree Editors Premium

Connecting with kin

I got your latest issue of Family Tree Magazine last week, and was very interested in the article about finding relatives on the Web (April 2001). Last year I had been contacted by someone who had seen my surname list on RootsWeb and asked if I would like to put my part of our family history on a name Web site she was setting up. Along with my part of the tree, I sent her an old photo of four men, one of whom was my great-grandfather, the rest unknown, taken outside the family-owned tripe factory in Leeds, England. In early February, she again contacted me, saying that someone had seen the photo, recognized it and could name all four people! It turns out that her third-greatgrandfather and my great-great-grandfather (who was also on the photo) were brothers! Also, her great-great-grandfather was a witness at my grandmother’s wedding (I knew the name but had no idea who he was). I now have a whole new branch to my family tree.


San Ramon, Calif.

I have a big pet peeve regarding people who post an inquiry on a site, wanting help or information on a line. You respond with a message something like, “I have lots of info on this line” or “This is my line, too. Will exchange information.” Then they never reply nor does your e-mail bounce back. I don’t send much info when I reply, usually my connection and a teaser or two, as I have gotten burned too many times with “takers but not exchangers.” If they don’t want to exchange, why do they post an inquiry? That is what genealogy is all about: the exchange of information and helping others. Also, when you receive something, remember to acknowledge the receipt of it with a “thank you.”


Salem, Ore.

As a new subscriber to Family Tree Magazine, your publication has provided me with more success and results in my online searches in 24 hours than I had received in many months of stumbling around the Web on my own.

Your article “The Cousin Connection” (April 2001) listed several Web sites that, as a novice genealogist, I had not yet discovered. By the end of my first evening, I had located my third-great-grandmother’s marriage announcement, the birth announcement for my great-grandmother and the locations of descendants in Indiana, Missouri and Kansas. One posting on USGenWeb <> resulted in contacts with two distant cousins, including one who provided me with 37 pages of names, dates and information on a branch of my family of which I had few facts. And this wealth of knowledge appeared in less than one day.

I’m looking forward to many more issues of your magazine, not to mention meeting family I have yet to discover!


Sherrard, III.

Ancestor addict

When the first issue of Family Tree Magazine came out, my daughter informed me and I immediately rushed out to find a copy. Those first editions provided information on my Irish and German roots in addition to the article on writing your life story, which I have begun. I was off to a great start with you! Articles on other ethnic groups are so informative, and I am sure that in the future I will discover that there is blood other than the French/Irish/German that we already know in my family. So every issue is definitely worth keeping for future reference; I continue to recommend it to everyone whether or not they are “into” genealogy. Not only did I devour the first issue, but each successive one as well. In my eagerness for more, I purchased a second copy of the December issue! If that wasn’t enough, I also purchased a second copy of the February issue! (I am a subscriber now but I had to wait for Santa to provide this.)

This is a magazine long overdue, in my opinion. Easy reading, extremely informative, helpful for novices as well as old-timers. Who could ask for anything more? This is an addiction that has the added bonus of being “non-fattening!”


Weaverville, NC

Making it clear

Your article on encapsulating your precious photos and documents (April 2001) was excellent. I’m writing to tell you that in your list of companies that supply the necessary Mylar to do the encapsulating you mentioned that University Products offers only pre-made double-sided taped sheets in a limited range of sizes. After checking into their product I have found that they do indeed offer a much more varied range of Mylar products and in a lot of different sizes. I just thought that you would like to know that the Mylar is available from this company as well as the other two that were mentioned in this excellent article. I love this magazine, and I look forward to many more issues of great information to use for my genealogical research.


via e-mail

Beating the brick wall

For several years now I have been researching my family and have wanted to know about my great-grandmother Adah Mosher. But all I had was a brick wall — until I read “Asking Uncle Sam” in your December 2000 issue. There I got information on ordering the 1880 US Census for Cayuga County, NY. WOW! Not only did I find her and her parents, but I posted this data to <>. Within a day I had this family back to the Mayflower.


via e-mail

E-enumeration options

I just received my first Family Tree Magazine and I was totally amazed. I have been a professional genealogist for about 30 years and have subscribed to several genealogy magazines in the past. Most magazines really do not offer you any real information on research. I have already told the students in my genealogy class about your magazine and that it is a must for research.

I have only one problem with your April issue, and that is with the article on the census. You did not stress enough that census data is readily available for free on the Internet at USGenWeb <>. I know that all the census is not there yet, but it will be soon. Very few people that I know can afford to pay for this. It is also possible to get someone on the Internet to look up a census for you, if you don’t have access to it at your local library.


Levelland, Texas

Editor’s note: This article focused on two new services offering images of actual census pages, but perhaps should also have emphasized the many other ways to find census data online. Besides USGenWeb, for example, we should have noted the 1850 census images available as part of the Genealogy Library subscription site <>. That site’s parent company <> also offers a 1900 census subscription. For a review of Genealogy Library, see page 72.

Glamorous genealogy?

I’m a recent subscriber and read each article carefully. I think you could do a lot for us by improving the image of genealogy in general. We have an image problem! Outsiders tend to yawn and look away when the subject is broached to them. They think that we do our thing because we have too much time on our hands and don’t have a life elsewhere. Tell the world about using computer graphics, clip art, digital cameras, converting old pictures to color, having new book formats, and so on. Sing more about the glamour stuff! After all, what we do is original research — where else can you do research like this that hasn’t been done before?


via e-mail

Editor’s note: We hope the articles on multimedia and on holding family reunions in castles and on cruises in our last issue are something like what you have in mind.

Check it out

I was very glad to see the article “An Open Book” (June 2001) because it stressed verifying information you find instead of just accepting it because it had been printed. As the publisher of a family newsletter <>, I am always urging my own readers to do just that. A lot of new researchers are so amazed and overwhelmed by what they find on the Internet that they don’t bother to ask where that information came from. Few think to even question a printed source. I hope you will continue to publish reminders to readers to seek primary documentation whenever possible, especially in this day and age when the Internet makes it so deceptively easy to research your family tree.


via e-mail

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