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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brickwalls, Rootsweb and Me

Networking, connecting,facebook friends, emailing, blogging, researching, texting, Googling, Find A Grave... Can you be too connected?

Can you overload yourself with too much information about your family tree? Years ago I would have said, “Never!” But that was before I started leaving all those messages.

Late one night, with a stack full of brick walls and dead ends sitting in front of me, I started leaving messages. I left a few on Rootsweb Message Boards, one or two on some County Websites, and then, in desperation I joined some new mailing lists and sent a few emails.

Blurry eyed I went to bed frustrated but satisfied. I had finally left messages or written those emails I had thought about, but had never actually sent. If I did not track down William, Nellie, Jane, Myrtle, or Charles it would not be because I had not tried. What happened over the next month was unbelievable. I had responses to all my inquiries, many of which were matches.

I have gone back and looked at the postings. I wanted to see if they were better written or had better titles to understand why suddenly everything came together. I have found that some were quite badly written. In my defense, it was late at night! But, what I have learned is to take the time to write the email or post the message.

For months I was still reading, researching, verifying, and transcribing all the information I received. And I have continued getting emails from different people that have come across the original postings. True, I did not find my William Schultz, but I did come in contact with many other Williams, and someday, maybe, one of them may connect to mine.

So, can you be too connected? Maybe not too connected, but instead just a little overwhelmed and grateful for all the responses I received from those messages I left one very late night.

*Updated version of a previously published article

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