Friday, August 5, 2011

The Value of Sharing

Google images

"There is no delight in owning anything unshared"

20 years ago I walked into the Family History Center in Portland, Maine because I was told that I could sit down at a computer and someone would be there to help me get started on my journey finding my 4 generations of ancestors. The consultant asked to see what I had to start with and I showed her.

Birth certificate of Frederick Lester Lowrie, husband of Olga  "Whoever-You-Are" Lowrie

We got on the computer and accessed a record that showed the name of James Frederick Lowrie, A descendant was living in Utah and had put her information online for others to see. I was euphoric. I think the consultant was relieved! There are many great and unexpected finds in genealogical searches. But more often than not it's a walk through a dry, hot desert. Once in a while there's that mirage of the ever-elusive nourishment. I guess that's what keeps us searching, and digging.

 Following clues.

Waiting for rain.

Where would I be today if the descendants of the one common ancestor of  Frederick Lowrie hadn't made their records available to me? It took that one success to convince me that I wanted to continue finding more people to make the picture complete. By the way, our family history is NEVER complete! Even when you have all of the documentation, and everyone is in their proper place there are still at least two more things to do. We've talked a lot about writing their stories. But there's another gift you can give them and their descendants who are scattered around the world.

Share what you have with your family and the world.

Google images

 People who are thirsty will drink just about anything, first filtering out as much waste as they can. It's the same with family history researchers, To keep this work alive and flourishing we need documents. We'll make sure through careful comparisons to see whether or not people actually fit in family lines. But we can't do it without those documents.The Internet has made it so easy. Hasn't it?

Share what you have. Even if it's only with family and friends. Be as generous as you want to be. Take baby steps. Start a family history blog. You can make it public or keep it private. At sites like you can find a wealth of information, ideas, and help. I started a tree at It works for me. I've connected a few of my lines (carefully  researching their research!) that match and connect with a common ancestor in someone else's line.

We're all connected. And like pieces of a puzzle, we fit uniquely together. That's thrilling to me. Sometimes I'm looking for the piece that's sitting in your pile. Over there. In the corner. In that box. Would you get it out for me? Maybe today, maybe next month, we'll stumble across each other. one giving, the other receiving. And a link amongst the living and the dead will be formed.

  • What is your favorite way to share your research?
  • Do you have a site or software you'd recommend over another?


  1. My father and some cousins have been working on putting together a family tree. It has been fascinating to see it develop.

  2. Jack,
    You tell them if they ever get stuck come and see me! Maybe I can help. If they are going to want to share the tree (I've seen it shared w/family unfinished and updated every year as a gift) tell them about the free downloadable charts I have here. Just fill out one, copy it at Staples and send it out. Better yet, fill one out, have it scanned and email the jpeg file and they can print it themselves.
    Thanks for the visit Jack!

  3. You have a great blog found via twitter now following your tweets


What do you think? I'd love to know.