But the luck that I am talking about is finding a family member who you can collaborate with. I have had such luck. About 3 1/2 years ago because of another family history website that I created, I was contacted by a third cousin, once removed. It was a challenge for us to connect but it happened. And it changed my genealogy “life.”
The first year of our collaboration was “hot and heavy” – not THAT kind of hot and heavy. 30 to 50 emails a day hot and heavy – sharing information, emailing newly scanned old photos, discussing who was who and who might be related to who, etc. It was a blast.
During the course of that first year, we found living relatives – “cousins” who we had never met (and previously did not know the name of) – and started asking them for their help. As one might expect, there were different levels of response and cooperation. Some were “pretty cooperative,” some thought they were being quite cooperative but weren’t, and others – well their cooperation sucked.
So in a fit of frustration with our newly found relatives (and those not so new) – I created the following list of Commandments for Cousin Collaboration. This list was written in 2010 and I just found it again and thought I would share it with you. Names have been deleted to protect the guilty.
(Apologies in advance to those who don’t like coarse language – it serves to demonstrate the extreme frustration at the time)
- Details matter.
- Reading and responding appropriately to emails matters.
- Scanning photos instead of making shitty Xerox copies and mailing them matters.
- ACTUALLY participating when you say that you are instead of saying that you will and basically doing squat matters.
- Making a friggin decision about sending some photos to some dude that you have never met rather than asking a couple of other relatives if he’s a thief matters.
- Answering an email with some semblance of knowledge of the English language rather than writing like you are stoned matters.
- Cutting the bullshit and getting to the facts matters.
- Handling a lot of info at once matters.
- GUESSING at who’s in the photo does not constitute a move out of the Unknown Photo Album matters.
- Opening up and scanning and sharing what’s in the Hefty trash bag in the attic or the magic box in the garage matters.
- Giving all your stuff to the relatives that are actually doing something matters.
- Allowing your grown adult son to talk to big bad genealogy searching relatives matters.
- Realizing that when you die all your thoughts regarding family stories about your ancestors dies with you unless your big bad genealogy searching relatives can see dead people so you better get off your ass and do something to help them now matters.
- Sending a family DVD that you promised probably 5 or 10 years ago to your cousin matters.
- Realizing that you will not have your identity stolen if you tell your genealogy interested relatives where your parents were married matters.
- And lastly – for me and my collaborator – Making jokes while researching this INCREDIBLY SERIOUS ENDEAVOR matters.
How many of these have you dealt with?