Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead & irritate the living....

Surnames: Calaway, Dunn, Evans, Johnson, Lindsey, Rollins, Short & Williams

States: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, S. Carolina, Tennessee, Texas

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Family Forum...

This latest genealogy hint/tip might not work for everyone, but it can be a genealogist's dream. In not only getting closer to your own family, BUT a wonderful way of gathering the genealogy data you might need from them. What is it you ask? Very simply it is set up a Family Forum! Most of you who are reading this, has knowledge already of what a forum is -- probably belong to at least one forum. Right? -_-

I have over 45 people in just my immediate family alone, needless to say, we had trouble in keeping up with one another, even though most of us live fairly close to each other. About 7 years ago, my niece & I came up with the idea of starting up a forum for the family to post about their daily lives, share photos, etc. It especially came in handy whenever one of us was sick &/or in the hospital to keep everyone abreast of the latest update on them. And the best thing of all? It gave us a chance to get to know one another that we hadn't had a chance to before. We have threads tailored to what fits our needs, such threads for Chat, Recipes, Photos, Books, Movie/TV, etc. Occasionally we will even do fun/silly things on there by having a Game thread & play "Hangman" or "21 Questions".

Like I said, though we mostly lived in the same area, many were busy with their own family....raising their kids, attending school functions, work, etc. And besides with that many people, it was hard to find a good time when we all could get together as a group. By having a Family Forum, everyone then could chat/post when they could. And in doing that, though it was slow at the beginning, we've become a much closer family.
I know I've gotten much closer to my own family, especially the "in-laws" (i.e. niece-n-laws / nephew-n-laws) that otherwise it would have taken me years for me to get to know them as I do now.

And having a Family Forum is an excellent way for those who live out of state to be a big part of the family & share what all is going on in their own lives. Makes them feel just that bit closer to home & family.

Now how is this such a good tool for the family genealogist? On our Family Forum, I have added a thread "just" for Genealogy. Anytime I need to ask a question of them, I post it on there & 99% of the time I get a response back from everyone. I have also done what I call "group questions". Like right now the one I have up, I've asked them to all tell me "How They Met Their Spouse", as well as tell me a bit about their wedding. So far, I have gotten great feedback on it & have some wonderful stories to add to our family history that otherwise I might never had gotten.

Here are a few suggestions to give you an idea of what you could have for questions/topics on your own family forum:

1. What was your weight/length at birth?
2. What college did you go to & what was your degree in?
3. Once a week you could name a person in the family (past or present) & ask them to list facts about that person.....or to tell a favorite story about them.
4. List the church/place where you got married.
5. Have them share a favorite photo of themselves &/or maybe a relative that is no longer with you.

As I said, those are just a few things you could start with on a Genealogy Thread.

FYI: To start your own family a Google search by using "Free Forum Hosting". A good list of free ones will come up. Check through them & find one that will suit your needs & ease of use. (((several of them out there are very easy to manage & maintain))) One thing to make note of, you will need an administer for it....someone to manage it -- hopefully you. Anyhoo, I would recommend that you lock the settings where only the administer(s) can add any new thread(s) to the forum. Otherwise, no matter what you tell them in the beginning, they will eventually start adding their own threads left & right & your forum will grow too big, becoming hard for others to navigate. EDITED TO ADD: Also, you might consider (& I highly recommend it) making your forum password protected & all members have to be approved by the administer(s) before they can join & get on your forum. Reason, sad to say there are sources (i.e. idiots) who will spam a forum. By making those two settings will stop that & give you control on who can see your forum.

Hope you will consider this as an option for your family & that you have as much fun as we have had in my own family. If you have any questions about starting your own Family Forum, please feel free to ask me. Enjoy......

Later, Deb

SPECIAL NOTE: I want to personally say "Thanks" to Judy from the Tennessee Memories blog for the Kreativ Blogger award she gave me back in November. Sadly its been that long since I last posted here. But as you know, I don't stick to any type of a writing schedule....just whenever I think of something to share with you all do I post. -_-


Rose Mary said...

What a great post, Aunt Deb! I want to thank you and Kelly for starting our family forum. It has brought all of us together in a way that I hadn't dreamed was possible. We are all finally a part of each other's daily lives--not just someone we see a couple of times a year at holiday events.

As for the genealogy part, it gives everyone a chance to share memories or remember something that someone said to them in times past. There is so much that we never record--things everyone would want to know later on. I hope that you have inspired others to try this unique idea for genealogy--and more important, for their 'present' family!

Deb said...

Thanks Mary for the kind words. And as you said, it is nice to get to know your past family, it is even better to be close to your current one. We have been so blessed with our family & I wouldn't give up the close relationships we've made through our family forum.