Share Your Genealogy Research

Posted on Mar 28, 2012

Share your genealogy research.  Recently a fellow genealogist told of a story where she had been seeking to work with a family member in sharing information from “one-of-kind” entries from a great grandfather’s journal that the family member had in her possession.  She had inherited the journal from her mother.  The journal contained information that would help tell part of the family history. The family member’s response was, “You can get the information the same way I did.”   The family member died several years later.  When the genealogist asked the family about the journal, no one knew where it was. 


Another genealogist tells a story of a friend who had spent 30 years researching their family tree.  After the friend’s death, the children picked through the belongings and threw 80% away. Unfortunately, that is not an uncommon story.  Too often valuable “genealogical records” are lost, thrown away, destroyed by disaster,  and/or split up among family members.


Genealogy/family history was meant for sharing. You may find that most relatives show little interest in your collection of notes, resources, photocopies, and photos.  So how do you share when there is no interest?


Weave your collection into a “story” that they can digest and appreciate.  Examples of sharing include: 


  • Taking some of your information and creating a CD/DVD of

-Family photos

-Family histories

-Newspaper articles

-Copy of your dad’s journal

-Scans from your scrapbook

  • Writing a history of the family.
  • Making a book of collected family receipts.
  • Framing a copy of great grandpa’s family in the 1930 census is a form of publishing.
  • Scanning pages and putting on CD/DVD.
  • Put together a display for your relatives at a family reunion. Consider including books, historical documents (photocopies only), pictures, and maps.
  • Write a 4-8 page newsletter quarterly or annually and share some of your information.
  • Share video clips, recordings of family.
  • Build a family website.
  • Share a Gedcom of your notes with members of the family who have genealogy programs. It’s ok if you’re not finished.  Just let family know it’s a work in progress.
  • Publish short family histories that intertwine family members.
  • Print colorful family trees that can be mounted in a creative manner and displayed on a wall.


As you share with others, you will find they are more receptive to share with you.  One research writes, “Sharing my data (as I don't have time or money to travel the world looking up original documents and other primary sources, I rely mostly on information gathered by others.  By sharing my data, others see it and contact me, therefore helping me to grow my database with a minimal amount of research.)


Submit your family tree to databases.  This guarantees that the information will be easily accessible to anyone who may be searching for the same family. Be sure that your contact information is up-to-date, so others can easily reach you when they find your data.

Many of your relatives really aren't going to be interested in family tree printouts from your genealogy software program. Instead, you may want to try something that will draw them into the story.


Consider using software especially designed to help you organize your family history information on a CD so you can share it.  An easy-to-use interface may include GEDCOMS, or photographs of your ancestors, their homes, headstones, video, and digitized documents; create slideshows; and even burn the CDs for you when your project is completed.  


Who else can you share information with?  For example, upon your return from a history vacation you could

  • Let others know what you have discovered. Let them share in your excitement.
  • Write a letter to family.
  • Include in a family newsletter.
  • Post a note on message boards of research data found with documentation.
  • Ask questions, if information you found was ambiguous or contradictory, others may be able to help you.

Share your resources with genealogy societies, newsgroups and message boards.

  • In addition of what you learned about family, share what you learned about libraries and archives in the locations you visited.
  • Discuss the scope of collections and services available.


If you write a family history, share your information with the museums, libraries, or genealogical societies you have visited to see if they would like to add it to their collection.  Be sure to include your name and address on any information that you send. That way, anyone who comes across your family information will be able to get in touch with you if they have questions.

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