A Trade Off to Build Your Genealogy

Writing is an excellent way to refine your research and notice mistakes, omissions, and opportunities. This is true even if you have no intention of actually “publishing” your research.

Consider this challenge. Ask a genealogy friend (preferably who is NOT related to the family you will be writing about) if they will work out a trade with you.

You will write up one family or research problem. Your friend will write up one of their own research problems. Both of you should write up problems on families on which the other one is NOT working. You should cite sources. You and your friend can set a word length or range (2,000-2,500 is good, but entirely optional).

Trade writeups. Your assignment then is to:

  • find 4 resources you think the writer should utilize in searching the family.
  • gently comment on any reasoning or logic you do not understand.
  • write down any assumptions the writer makes that you think might need to be changed.
  • anything else that you think might help the researcher to solve their problem.

Your job is not necessarily to edit grammar and the like (unless both parties agree to that). You are to be polite and gentle if there is some glaring error or omission, not mean and spiteful. The goal is to help each other with your research. Remember that your reader does not know the family like you do. You will have to provide background information where necessary.

You and your friend have a lot to gain. Are you up to the challenge?


2 thoughts on “A Trade Off to Build Your Genealogy

  1. This kind of active reading would help us all, especially that list of four suggested additional sources. And I mean that it would help the reader as much as the writer.

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