Remember the story of Stone Soup, where the townspeople came together offering ingredients to create a delicious soup made only from a stone and water, or so they thought? There are many versions of the story that have been passed down and shared over the years. Although the adaptations change, one of the main themes of the story is value of sharing. By coming together, bringing what each person can offer and sharing with others, everyone benefits from the resulting rich and hearty soup.
Collaborating in family history is similar to the Stone Soup story in several ways. First, everyone has something to share. Second, additional records, documentation, and artifacts increase the breadth and flavor of the family story. Finally, we all benefit in many ways by coming together with each person sharing their talents and resources. FamilySearch tools such as the updated Family Tree, the growing Research Wiki, and helpful Forums provide a pantry of opportunity for families to collaborate and create an abundant history with which to nourish and sustain future generations.
Everyone has something to share; they just may not realize it. Whether its grandma’s family bible, a teenager’s digital family photos on a social media site, a mother’s journal, or historical records found at FamilySearch.org, compiling information from multiple sources builds family trees in a synergistic way. Just as the townspeople contributed what they had, each family member adds their perspective, memory, and spice to the family story. Not only does everyone have something to share, they have a story to tell.
Additional records, documentation and artifacts increase the breadth of the family story. An increasing amount of digitized records are available online enabling users to print government-issued records, newspapers, and important historical records documenting one’s family history. People are reaching out and sharing online family pedigrees in an effort to connect and learn more about their ancestors. As we collaborate in the present, we learn about the triumphs and challenges our ancestors experienced in the past; this contributes to a legacy of support for one another as we move into the future.
By coming together, we all benefit in many ways. If each individual researches in isolation, some progress is made, but progress tends to be slow and it increases the probability of duplicate research. However, by sharing with each other, energy is effectively directed and information is found, creating new friendships and strengthening existing relationships in the process. Working together isn’t always easy or convenient, but current technologies make it possible for families to connect in more ways than ever before.
Are you hungry yet? Are you eager to find out what information relatives might have to add to your family recipe? Join together; dine at the genealogical buffet with more offerings available every day, thanks to individuals and organizations sharing and preserving our family legacies. Bon Appétit!