April Poll Results: Sharing Your Family History

Text reads 'Our poll. Your Voice. Results'Last month, we asked you to let us know how you share your family history. Here’s what we found.

Who do you share your research with?

It likely comes as no surprise the most people (83%) who responded said they shared their research with family. 33% also said they shared with friends, genealogy groups and anyone who will listen. As someone who experiences intense excitement when someone I meet mentions genealogy, I identify very closely with that last option as well.

How do you share your research?

There are plenty of ways to share your research with others. Members can learn about creating a family chart as well as developing an ancestor profile to help share their research. For those who responded, 50% said they shared their research more casually through conversation or genealogy groups they’ve joined.

One-third said they also shared through more formal books, and 1/5 said they created formal presentations to share their family history with others.

No one said they made use of blog-posting or social media dedicated to genealogy. I personally dabbled in bringing my ancestor’s stories to life to some in both of these formats. While I haven’t revisited it in a while, it was a great practice in contextualising my ancestor’s lives and engaging with others who shared my interests.

The most notable outcome, however, was a distant relative getting into contact with me because I had written a blog post on an ancestor who had lived (somewhat recently) in British Columbia. While this ancestor had led an interesting and varied life, my distant relative was able to give me some insight into the not-so-nice person behind the story.

In another case, posting about a certain group of ancestors on social media led to a distant cousin reaching out (over 4 years after I made the post!). As such, I was able to provide her with some really interesting information which I had coincidentally been in the process of uncovering.

The internet contains many amazing tools beyond just research. Give it a try!

Where do you share your research online?

For those who said they shared family history research online, all mentioned some sort of family history site. This included Ancestry, My Heritage and Geni. One person also highlighted how they used private email to share family history with others.

Why haven’t you shared your written/formal research?

While most (83%) respondents expressed that sharing their family history in a written/formal format didn’t interest them, nearly one-fifth did say they weren’t sure how to do so.

For anyone else unsure about how to formally write up their family history, our monthly MGS Writing Club might be helpful. Each month, we cover a different topic that focuses on writing various parts of your family history.

Last month, we looked at writing in an anthology format. This month, we look at writing an ‘event history’. It always takes place on Zoom, and all MGS members can contact vpcommunications@mbgenealogy.com to register for free.

Interest in Manitobans Remembered

Our Manitobans Remembered series is one way to share your family history. Every month, we share different histories featuring Manitobans from all sorts of backgrounds. Two-thirds of respondents said they read the series, but only 17% said they had submitted a story.

Nearly half of the 83% who said they hadn’t submitted said it was because they didn’t want to, though the majority weren’t quite sure why they hadn’t submitted. We encourage you to reach out to generations@mbegenealogy.com if you’d like to submit a story.

Using others’ family histories

67% of respondents said they hadn’t ever used someone else’s family history to support their research. However, these collections are a great source for not only discovering related families but for learning more about the context in which your ancestors lived.

In fact, of those who said they did use these histories, they did so to:

  • help with their own research (100%);
  • satisfy their curiosity (50%); and
  • learn how to create their own family history (50%).

By exploring others’ family histories which feature those similar to your own roots, you can learn different ways to research. Or, you might get insight into how your own ancestors may have lived. We recommend checking out our collection at the Resource Centre.

Thank you to all those who responded!

Next month’s poll looks at the future format of our Generations journal. We would be exceedingly grateful for any feedback and insight you could offer.

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