How to make amazing connections with distant cousins: Spotlight on Patrish

Tips from family history enthusiasts just like you

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Categories | Beginners

Spotlight on... Patrish M., Oregon, USA. Tip to connect with distant cousins - build a website to act as a “business card” for others to find and contact you. #familyhistory #cousins #connections

I bet you have a lot of questions about your ancestors. And that every time you answer one, another one comes along. I’ve been there. It’s so frustrating! Do you know what would be great? If you could connect with some distant cousins, they might have answers for you.

Sounds easy enough, right? Just pick up the phone and give them a call. Hmmm, a slight problem there. You don’t actually know them. In fact, you have no idea who they are or where to find them. All you know is that there must be distant cousins out there somewhere.

Patrish came up with a fantastic solution to that problem. She knew that the key to connecting with those unknown distant relatives was for them to find her. So she developed a plan to share her research so that searching those specific names would find it.

This fortnight I shine the spotlight on Patrish. She gives us a peek into what she did to share her family history and create new relationships with distant cousins as a result.

Spotlight on Patrish

Meet Patrish, from Oregon, USA. She’s a veteran family history enthusiast and retired librarian with a secret superpower – her research skills.

Her journey began about 18 years ago with her great-grandfather, George Rush Crow. And he still features often in her research sessions as she’s now adding the details of all his other relatives.

Connect with distant cousins

How Patrish connected with distant cousins

I’ll let Patrish tell you in her own words what happened and what she did to find some distant cousins.

I am a visual person and decided that the best way to share my research would be a website. As a retired librarian, I’m familiar with creating websites so it made sense to me and brought me joy. I treat it like a “business card” hoping someone will run across it and contact me and it has paid off. If you search my great grandfather’s name on Google you will see him pop up in all of the top 5 results, as well as many top images.

My interest in my family came when I realized that there was no obvious research on my mother’s line. I basically knew nothing and she was gone, so I started with all I could find – a mostly correct article in The Genealogical Helper dated March 1958.

I have since met relatives I didn’t know existed, visited gravesites of people I have learned to love and respect, and spent many happy hours in libraries and other repositories fleshing out stories of my ancestors.


View the website

Head over to George Rush Crow Family Genealogy to check out the site for yourself.

Patrish’s example is impressive and inspiring. She took a concept familiar to her – a website – and turned it into a portal for her genealogy research.

I love Patrish’s approach to sharing her discoveries and connecting with others. She includes a family tree, basic timelines and sources for all information. Equally important is that the site is appearing so high in searches. Therefore anyone searching George Rush Crow will find the site easily and can get in touch.

Another thing that’s great is that the custom domain and unique email address. She’s creating a brand for the research as a result of the consistent use of details. Therefore making it easier to remember and return.

Help your distant cousins find you

Start with a free blog or website to create a family history portal to connect with your distant cousins. It’s a great way to experiment with what you do and don’t want to share. Of course, you’ll need to keep copyright restrictions in mind with everything you publish.

As well as being free, it’s easy to create a website. Research some options or start with one of these:

The sites listed above are perfect for first-time website creators. They make it easy to set up a site and publish your first page or post.

Consistency is the key to ranking higher in searches. In the first place that means regular updates and use of the names that others will use in a search. One more tip is to create an easy-to-follow menu so that your viewers can quickly navigate through the site.

In summary

To improve her chances of discovering more about her ancestors, Patrish created an online family history portal. She used the website as a business card to:

  • share her family history discoveries
  • connect with distant cousins.

And the investment paid off. The website is now high ranking in searches for her great-grandfather making discovery easy. It’s because of the website that she’s now in touch with relatives that she never knew existed.

Think outside the book and publish a family history blog to tell your ancestors’ story

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