The Other Way You Need To Be Using Genealogy Hints

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Categories | Beginners

Researching Tip to connect with cousins: follow hints on genealogy websites to discover “new” relations (Darlene D., Ontario, Canada) #genealogy #familyhistory #connections #cousins

You know the best stories aren’t always online. Instead, they are hiding in the memories and mementos of your extended family. A family that you aren’t in touch with, not to mention that you don’t even know they exist. Now, if only there were a site with genealogy hints telling you where to find those storytellers.

Ha! That would be too a little too easy, right?

However, you do have the power of the internet at your fingertips. Something that makes it possible to:

  • research from the comfort of your home
  • connect with other family history researchers

Darlene has a fantastic tip for whenever she is looking for others researching the same family lines that she is. She shares how she uses:

  • online forums
  • social media groups
  • the big genealogy websites

to find and connect with new relatives.

This fortnight I shine the spotlight on Darlene. She shares how she found and created relationships with extended family members.

Spotlight on Darlene 

Meet Darlene, from Ontario, Canada. 

In 2008, Darlene was curious to learn more about her great-grandmother, Mary Roy. Now it’s over 11 years later, and she’s still researching. And that same great-grandmother is still keeping her on her toes.

Mysterious Mary hasn’t been so easy to find after all. She’s in incognito mode in the record books, changing her surname on a regular basis. So far, Darlene has found five names – Roy, Leroy, Laronde, Roi, and King.

After all, there is nothing like an elusive ancestor to take a mild curiosity and turn it into a decade long addiction!

woman searching online for genealogy hints

How Darlene uses genealogy hints to find connections

I’ll let Darlene tell you in her own words how she uses genealogy hints to connect with distant cousins.

I find I get a lot of hints (on genealogical websites) and when I follow up on them it brings me to new relations etc. I also have found relations on Facebook in different genealogy sites.

DARLENE D., ONTARIO, CANADA

That’s a great tip, Darlene!  

Whenever looking at hints from public trees on sites like Ancestry or FamilySearch check out who posted it. After all, if someone is researching the same family line then chances are that you’ll be related.

Getting the most from your genealogy hints

As with everything to do with genealogy, you can create a process around how you manage your hints.

  1. Keep a record of usernames and the family names they relate too. Look for patterns and reach out to ones that show up time and time again. 
  2. Send a brief introduction and share a summary of your story (no more than one or two paragraphs).
  3. Track your correspondence. Keep a spreadsheet or Trello board of who you contacted, the method and the family connection.
  4. Set a schedule to follow-up. Sometimes messages get missed. People may not log on regularly, and email notifications do go astray. I follow up every 30 to 45 days if I haven’t received a response.
  5. Create a connection that is not on the genealogy site or inside a social media group. Share your personal email, blog or a social media friend request. 
  6. Set up a social media group for your cousin connections as a way to stay in touch and share new discovers.

After all, you never know what tidbits you could learn from these new connections.

In Summary

Genealogy hints are a fantastic way to learn more about your ancestors as well as the people researching them.

Connecting with the people behind the clues opens up the possibility of learning new discoveries and stories.

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One Response to “The Other Way You Need To Be Using Genealogy Hints”

  1. Gerrie Quaresma1 says:

    I find that a lot of people take the DNA test but do not have a tree posted (on a genealogy site). I have reached out to several that I know are related but they have not responded. I have not kept a record of those I have contacted so I will have start over again.

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