Sunday, July 19, 2015

Collaborating With Cousins

It seems like any difficult genealogy research problem can be resolved by teamsgoogle_docs of cousins if they actively engage in research.

I've seen it happen time after time over the years as I've organized cousins teams.  We each bring our unique skills, perspectives and resources to the table.  The cumulative effect always exceeds the research ability of any single member of the team.

Our cousins teams communicate in a number of ways.  We obviously use email but it is a poor vehicle to carry attachments and collaborative information.  Email is best used for brief announcements, clarifications, etc.
Scanned and other images and photos are typically uploaded to Drop Box or a similar cloud storage location.  Links to them are shared to all the team when they are uploaded.

We use Google Docs constantly.  A document, spreadsheet or presentation is easy to access and work on by all of the team when they reside in the Google cloud.  It isn't unusual to see others editing a document that you are working on.  Their edits show up in real time and typically evoke a conversation or series of messages on Google+, Google Hangouts or Skype.

Google Hangouts or a Skype conference call are used for group wide meetings andgoogle_plus brain storming sessions.  I wear a ball cap on bad hair days.  Sometimes the ladies in the group decline to activate their video feed if they are enjoying a similar wild or wet hair day.  I don't know why, they have to look at the men in the group in our 'rugged' and often 'unkempt' state, but apparently the ladies are better trained in appearance than us guys.

We used to use Springpad to assemble some of our research results and planningevernote before it was closed.  Now, almost all of us use Evernote to collect images, quotes and links that apply to our research.

Our collected data is frequently posted on our TNG powered genealogy sites or other genealogy sites, including FamilySearch Tree so we can see our data in pedigree, family and other formats.
All of these resources combined with the skills and resources of the team bring an almost irresistible force to bear.  I love being alive now and having so many real-time powerful tools at my finger tips.  If you haven't created cousins teams before, give one a try.

It may take you a little time to work out the tools and format skypethat work best in your situation but it is time well spent.  The results of your first team project will surprise you.  The feeling won't be a singular event.  Plan on experiencing it over and over as you collaborate with your teams from now on.

Posted 19 Jul 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog