Tuesday’s Tip: Practice Random Acts of Gratitude

The holidays created pockets of time, which I filled with genealogical searches!  Naturally.  My key word selection had a high yield rate and I felt as if I had spotted a rainbow, found the ladder to climb it, and then slid to its end where the jackpot of gold awaited my discovery!  So much wonderful keystone information; my family tree had an entire new branch substantiated back to 1850!! Hurray!

I noticed at the bottom of the Find A Grave page that the author had left an email address.  I copied and pasted it into my google mail template, paused and wondered, “Just why am I bugging this person?”  For starters, I want to thank him for 1) doing all this research and 2) for taking the time to write it up and post it.  I pressed send, and had but a short time to wait before a new message showed up in my inbox.  Thinking that only the Mail Demon responds that fast I held little expectation for the mail, but lo! and behold!  The address was current and the recipient was grateful that I was grateful, AND offered more research than I ever imagined.  The branch of the family had been documented back to the immigrant for five families!!!!! Holy COW!

Thus, my tip of the day is this:

When you stumble upon a great source of family information, take the time to contact the author.

Yes, 8 of 10 addresses will beckon only the mail demon, but that leaves 2 addresses that will be current.  Chances are that those authors are family history buffs as eager to collect connections as you are, and everyone likes to be thanked for their work.  A win-win, in my book:  more information is shared, more connections are verified, a wider support network is made.  As in so much of life, we family historians stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and the mountains of data that they have collected.  Practicing the lost art of gratitude serves to remind us of this fact: We are all in this together.

14 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Tip: Practice Random Acts of Gratitude

  1. Beautiful reminder. I’m not great about letting people know that I appreciate their research efforts but blogging has made me more aware of the community aspects of genealogy. First though I have to get those Christmas thank yous mailed!

    • I know what you mean!! about sending out thank yous and about blogging generating a sense of community. Thanks for being part of mine!

  2. I’ve heard that the average life of an eddress is less than 2 years, so your delivery rate is good. Onward!

    • Less than two years? Yeegads. I wonder how fast addresses change? All the more reason to communicate as fast as we can!! :)

  3. I can absolutely confirm this based on my own experience. At some point after starting genealogy (two weeks after maybe), I lost all timidity about contacting people by e-mail and have been doing it like crazy, often to thank them – and it has paid off big time! It was also surprising how many e-mail addresses were still good after several years.

  4. I don’t do this often enough but when I have the person I contact always seem so very surprised and pleased. I know I would be encouraged to help a person more if the request started with a thank-you rather than send me you gedcom.

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