The Power of Crowd Sourcing & Collaboration in Genealogy 4

From the Editors: The In-Depth Genealogist team would like to thank Thomas MacEntee, genealogist extraordinaire and Geneabloggers founder, for being our first guest writer. We are humbled and honored to have him take part in our effort to connect all genealogists. You can find Thomas at High-Definition Genealogy as well as on all methods of social media.


Imagine my delight when I recently found out about The In-Depth Genealogist site through a colleague who, like me, is an avid genealogist and user of social media. While delight is the key word here, I am also amazed that there aren’t more sites like it that capitalize on the concepts of crowd-sourcing and collaboration.

Crowd Sourcing and Collaboration Are Not New Concepts for Genealogists

Crowd sourcing and collaboration are not necessarily new concepts. They both involve “working your network” – something at which many genealogists are well-versed. And so were our ancestors.  Here’s what I mean:

Think of the old-fashioned barn raisings held by our ancestors.  A group of individuals came together, bringing with them a variety of skills sets, and dedicated themselves to building a barn in a short period of time.


Did a barn raising for a specific farmer benefit the entire community?  Sure it did: not only would the same group move on to do the same for another farmer in the future, but banding together around a common goal built a network that would come in handy months and years down the road.

So what types of crowd sourcing do we see or can we look forward to in genealogy?

  • Indexing of the 1940 Census images by volunteers not only demonstrates the power of community effort, but also proves that the genealogy community can band together as a group and build a resource to be shared.
  • Building the FamilySearch Research Wiki with almost 67,000 individual articles about genealogy and family history created from the contributed knowledge of thousands of genealogists.
  • Raising awareness about threats to records sets such as the Social Security Death Index.
  • Sharing DNA testing results with others to look for possible ancestry matches – made possible through not just the technology of such testing, but websites that enable reaching out to others.

Through its group of authors, use of forums and other features, The In-Depth Genealogist follows a model which worked for our ancestors and still works today.

Genealogy With A Vision

When I think vision, I don’t mean viewing a set of records or looking for a relationship between ancestors.  Vision as in foresight. Vision as in goal setting. Vision as in what genealogy can be. What genealogy should be. As seen by a group of genealogists who are also social media users.

So what is so visionary about The In-Depth Genealogist? It isn’t just the content but the vehicle for that content and the method of delivery. Digital is not just a fad . . . receiving and consuming content online is more than just “kid’s stuff” (meaning not for us old folks in genealogy). Taking a digital approach serves two purposes:

  • It helps genealogists more comfortable with the print tradition understand the importance of digital magazines, and in a non-threatening, “non-techie” manner.
  • It helps the “comfortable with digital” crowd learn more about our passion as genealogists.

The In-Depth Genealogist is more than just a website, a road stop on the digital highway. It is more than just a destination, it is a tool. Genealogists are known not just for the company they keep but also the tools they use. As the tagline says – “a digi-mag for every genealogist” – The In-Depth Genealogist should be in every genealogist's digital toolbox!

© 2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee


About idgadmin

The In-Depth Genealogist is an online, interactive genealogy community that contributes to the advancement of all genealogists by sharing resources.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “The Power of Crowd Sourcing & Collaboration in Genealogy