OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter
March 25, 2005

Collaborate With Others at OneGreatFamily!

In This Issue:

Accelerate Your Genealogy Through Collaboration

How can collaboration help me save time, money, and effort?

OneGreatFamily offers you the chance to meet and collaborate with family from around the world. The act of creating or submitting your family tree using OneGreatFamily is the beginning of a collaborative experience, but OneGreatFamily provides a number of ways to collaborate with others!

So, what is collaborating? At OneGreatFamily, it's people working on the same project at the same time, each making changes to the shared data, (this includes knowing who made the changes and when those changes were made.) Collaboration can be very worthwhile if the users follow some very basic ground rules and common courtesies. Some simple guidelines to follow are:
    • Before you collaborate with others, organize any information you have already gathered and try to validate as much of your own information as possible. Your collaboration will be more welcomed by others if you have your own information to bring to the table.
    • When collaborating, it is important to know the difference between evidence and conclusions. Instead of entering your conclusions first, look at your evidence and make assertions from the evidence and further assertions on top of those. In the end your evidence should support your conclusions.
    • Make sure you have detailed information on how, when, and where you found your information. This is referred to as sourcing, and you will find over time that proper sourcing saves you hours and hours of time in the long run.
    • Invite and accept as many individuals as possible to collaborate on your family lines. The more people that collaborate on the same family line, the more accurate it will be.
    • Make sure the genealogy program you use allows you to add, edit, and delete any unwanted information inserted into your family tree. (OneGreatFamily allows you to delete any information you don't agree with - without impacting other users.)
    • Always check to see if your information is accurate by going to the original family source if possible.
    • You will generate better relationships with the people you collaborate with by updating them about new data found.
OneGreatFamily is designed to allow members to communicate and work together to build their family trees. Using the "Collaborate" feature saves you time and effort.

Whether or not you communicate with distant family through email, you are still collaborating every time you use OneGreatFamily. You are adding individuals to the human family tree that will some day result in hints, merges, and collaboration for others who are also using OneGreatFamily. To verify information, OneGreatFamily provides a list of the original submitters you can contact. Collaboration is an essential tool that will accelerate this process and prevent duplication.
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Genealogical Research: Survey Phase

Finding Out What Researching Has Already Been Done

by Lisa South, Certified Genealogist

Genealogical Research is done in two phases, the survey phase and the original research phase. The purpose of the survey phase is to find out what research has already been done by other researchers. Original research is exciting but it can be time consuming and costly, so a thorough search of the work of others is essential. The process for following the survey phase is very straightforward.

1. Check home and family sources.

*Go through the old records, bibles, and photographs in your home as well as the homes of other family members.

*Call, email or mail your relatives and ask questions. Get as much personal knowledge as you can from living relatives (be sure to list the source of each piece of information). If there is a specific topic that your family is sensitive about, think carefully how or even if the question should be asked. When I took my first class in genealogy, my professor shared an old adage that I think is very important, "We should never hurt the living to find the dead."

2. Check the work of others.

* Start with OneGreatFamily. Finding your ancestor at OneGreatFamily is a great way to connect with new and distant relatives, plus it can open significant new avenues of exploration.

* Check out other on-line sites such as the Ancestral File at or Rootsweb’s WorldConnect.

* Find out if any books have been published about your family. The Family History Library Catalog, surname section, at a branch of the Family History Library or at is an excellent place to begin. Remember that all of these are secondary sources, so evaluate them accordingly. Consider the author’s reputation as a genealogist, check the sources used etc.

* Keep an accurate list of the sources you use - someday someone will be evaluating your work!

* Try to contact other people who are researching your same line and share information. Putting your genealogy in OneGreatFamily helps others know what family lines you are working on. I had a person from New Zealand contact me after seeing my genealogy on-line. We had not known of each other’s existence, but it turned out we were third cousins - my ancestor had immigrated to America, his to New Zealand. We have been able to share many family documents, pictures and stories that I could not have found any other way.

You should collect as much information as possible before beginning the original research phase (which will be covered in next week’s newsletter), but the survey phase of genealogy should continue on some level throughout your research as you find new relatives, when new family sites go on the internet etc.
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Technical Support: How do I collaborate with others using OneGreatFamily?

Collaboration is easy at OneGreatFamily

Are others working on your family tree right now? You can find out by seeing what other groups have family trees that include your ancestors.

Follow these simple steps:
  1. Launch the OneGreatFamily Genealogy Browser
  2. Select an ancestor on whom you would like to collaborate
  3. Click on the ancestor in the Handprint View to see the Individual Details
  4. Click on the "Collaborate" button found in the lower-left corner of the Individual Details box
  5. Click on the "Owners" tab on the "Collaborate with others" window. This window will show your group and any other group that has a family tree with this individual
  6. Expand the groups to see individuals by clicking on the (+) sign to the left of the group name
  7. Click on an individual's username to view the user's name and email address and to send the user a message
  8. If you have an email application, such as Outlook, clicking on the "Send" button will open a new email message to send. If not, you will need to copy the other person's email address and paste it into the "To:" field of your email application
Whether or not you communicate with distant family through email, you are still collaborating every time you use OneGreatFamily. You are adding individuals to the human family tree that will some day result in hints, merges, and collaboration for others who are also using OneGreatFamily.

We hope you enjoy collaborating with other genealogists through OneGreatFamily.
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One Great Genealogy Site Award is a site that attempts to encourage others - from novice to pro - in their quest for roots. Here you'll find grants for genealogical initiatives, guidance for your search, and inspiration for those times when you could use a little dose! This site was developed to help at least a few more people connect - be it with scattered kin, family treasures or long-departed ancestors. So go to today, and spend a few minutes exploring!

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