Social Genealogy: The Mistakes You Made That Sent Potential Cousins Away…And How You Can Fix Them
One Administrator, Many Trees
As genealogy and DNA sharing has evolved, there is still one very important rule to follow: Whether you’re sending a message to someone who administers another tree in Ancestry, or you’ve seen a thread in Roots web surname or location lists, or, you think you have a close cousin connection in any of the various DNA testing sites like 23andMe or others, the one thing you can do to further your research easily and quickly is to BE SPECIFIC when you contact them.
Periodically, I’ll get a message from someone who has been looking at the 23andMe site where I am the administrator for three different people: myself, my brother and my husband. Most of the time, I can determine which genome they want to connect with because I recognize a surname or they actually TELL ME which one they were looking at.
What should you include in your communication with a potential cousin? Here’s some ideas.
- The name of the tree, or specific person’s name for a genome. For instance, you want to connect with me and were in my Yates (1) tree. Please note that specific criteria.
- Are you looking at a genome? Was it Dave ____, Carol ___ or Jim___?
- Are you replying to a thread about a surname? Please include a first name of your ancestor with that surname if you have one. Include any dates or locations as well. This would hold true as well for inquiries about a location.
- Are you sending an email? Please don’t put “genealogy” or “family” in the subject line. That means nothing to anyone and will likely get deleted. Instead, have it read something like, “Re: Joe Black, 1812, TN”. (I have three Smith lines, hence the request for a first name when contacting me).
- Tip: If you choose not to include your email address in the body of the email, but still want to share it with your recipient, just write it as webducky AT (instead of the @ symbol) gmail.com. People are more apt to reply via email than through the website’s message feature. Including your full email address online is a sure way to ‘invite’ email scrapers to send you spam.
- Tip 2: Follow the rule of WHO, WHY, WHAT, WHEN WHERE.
The bottom line here is, you need to provide the most information to your recipient to ensure your success.
Be courteous and forgive someone if they don’t reply right away. You don’t know what’s going on in their lives. Genealogy and genome sharing is fun and helps to share a clue to ‘who am I’? for everyone involved.
Thanks for reading. Have a comment or suggestion for this topic? Please do! Interested in what your DNA says about you? Feel free to click the 23andMe graphic in the sidebar.
© Carol Wilkerson – 2015 All rights reserved.
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