Saturday, January 03, 2004

Sharing Your Family History at Rootsweb

[I am not the author of this article. -v]

Make a new year's resolution to share your family history information with other genealogists. The RootsWeb spirit is all about sharing -- contributing what we know or have compiled so that others with similar interests may benefit from our research, information, and expertise. Of course, we always hope to learn from others' contributions in return.

So how can you contribute and share the genealogical data you have collected? Consider the nature and amount of information you have gathered, as well as the format in which you have recorded it.

If you have limited information and are really more interested in asking a question (also known as a query), your best option is to post on the free mailing lists and/or message boards. To learn about, find, and join mailing lists go here:

To locate message boards start at:

If you have just a few records -- death notices, funeral cards, obituaries, baptismal records, marriage notices, etc., and/or the data you have collected is in free-flowing text in sentences and paragraphs, the best place to share it is on the appropriate message boards. These boards are not just for queries -- your bits and pieces of data might be just what someone has been seeking for years.

On the other hand, if you have a larger collection (more than a few records) of single-type genealogical data (i.e. birth records, death records, cemetery records), and if your data is formatted in consistent, labeled columns or fields (or you are willing to make it so), you may wish to submit it to the User-Contributed Database section where your data will be made searchable within a master database of similar type records. For additional information see:

Do you have your family history data in a genealogy application? If your program (and most will) can convert it to a GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMMunication) file format, the best place (and easiest way) to share it is at WorldConnect.

Click on the START HERE link to submit your family tree.

However, if your genealogical data doesn't fit into any of these categories or if you would like to display it in a unique format, consider creating your own free genealogy-related website at RootsWeb by requesting what's called a "Freepages Account."

If a major goal for 2004 is to make contact with others who are researching the same surnames (last names) in the same localities as you, consider submitting your surnames to the RootsWeb Surname List (RSL) -- in addition to making use of the other resources.

You can be part of the RootsWeb spirit of sharing and contributing information whether you decide to post a query or data on a RootsWeb mailing list or message board, submit data to the User-Contributed Databases, upload a GEDCOM to WorldConnect, submit your surnames to the RSL, or create your personal website on Freepages. And, you might want to cover all bases by utilizing all these options or try a combination of several of them to ring in the new year on the right note.

Previously published in RootsWeb Review: Vol. 6, No. 53, 31 December 2003. Again, I am not the author of this article.

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company. - Lord Byron, 1788-1824