Don’t go it alone! Top tips on working with others to explore your family history

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02 January 2020
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Family history - don't go it alone!
Family history is much more fun when you team up with a research buddy or share the ups and downs of your ancestor hunting with members of a family history society. Read our top tips on genealogy collaboration.

1. Meet like-minded people

If you’re able to get out and about, why not go along to your local family history society meetings? Often you can attend their useful monthly talks for a small donation, learn new things and meet friendly people in the process.

Joining your local society is even better as you’ll meet like-minded folk, share family history knowledge, make use of the group’s facilities and resources (such as research rooms, computers and local data collections) enjoy social gatherings, and also support the work of members involved in projects such as transcribing, indexing or other research.

Other family history hangouts include The University of the Third Age (U3A). There are more than 1,000 groups across the UK with over 425,000 members, and many have specialist family history groups that hold social events and talks. Find out more here.

2. Go along to your local archive

Your local archive is a great place to meet fellow genealogy addicts; many hold regular talks, open days, workshops and short courses.

You could even take an evening family history class at a local school or college; many offer opportunities for adult learning. If you have a few years of family history research already under your belt, why not consider offering your services as a tutor?

3. Set up your own project

If the above suggestions don’t fit the bill, why not set up your own local or family history group or project? Place a card in your local Post Office and/or on local Facebook pages, set a date and spread the word! You’ll soon be meeting and chatting family history with a group of new friends.

4. Join an online group

Speaking of Facebook, you might find that an online group focused on your locality of interest already exists. Search Facebook for the location with the words ‘family history’, ‘local history’, or ‘graveyards’, for example and see what comes up.

If any interest you, simply send a request to join the group and you’ll soon be sharing photos and information on this fun forum.

Over on Twitter, you’ll also find a friendly and helpful family history community, so it’s well worth joining this platform. As well as following @familytreemaguk and your favourite family history societies, #AncestryHour is a fantastic introduction to what Twitterstorians have to offer. The group is a Twitter base for professional and amateur family historians alike and ‘meets’ on Twitter from 7-8pm GMT every Tuesday evening. Find out more on their website.

The Virtual Genealogical Association is another international online organisation that brings together family history enthusiasts of all levels and is particularly geared towards those whose circumstances ‘make it difficult to attend local genealogical society meetings’. You’ll find special interest groups, virtual conferences, webinars and socialising on the website.

5. Attend a family history event

The family history world is a fun and busy place, with an aactive social calendar that extends throughout the year with lots of events to choose from.

A great place to find what’s on listings is on the Family Tree events web directory here and on the diary pages in the monthly magazine.

Also try GENEVA, an online calendar of genealogical events and activities here.

And don’t miss the UK’s best genealogy event, Family Tree Live, at London’s Alexandra Palace on 17 and 18 April. Click here for details.