Recently, while reading about several upcoming book launches, a local history book caught my attention.
Eager to learn more before I made the 45-minute drive to attend, I Googled the author’s name. I didn’t find anything on him even after I added the title of the book.
The lack of what is being referred to as “web presence” by this author may cost him a book sale. It seems the only way to learn more about this book is to show up for the launch. For some, this may be impossible, and for others, their interest may not be that keen to travel the distance.
This lack of available information made me think about online genealogy research. How many times have we Googled our ancestors’ names to see if they are mentioned somewhere on the web? To be frank, my ancestor who arrived in Canada in 1752 has more of a web presence then the author I sought. Anyone looking for Johannes Diebert will also find my name linked with his.
Authors are not the only ones who benefit from a web presence; researchers do, too. Have you ever tried to locate someone who you know holds genealogy information valuable to your tree? If they’re elusive, you may never find them. The same is true for others searching for you.
A web presence does more than splatter your name over the web. It provides others who are researching the same surnames as you with a way to connect with you. Over the years, many individuals have contacted me because they had found my name online with my ancestors. Through these “meetings,” I’ve gained and shared information. By putting the information together, I made discoveries I couldn’t have if we had remained individual researchers.
So how does one create a web presence? Sometimes by accident and sometimes by planning. During my more than 10 years online, my genealogy research has taken me to thousands of web pages. I signed many of their guest books and noted the surnames I was researching. Bang! I didn’t realize it at the time, but as soon as I hit the submit button, my name became web-linked to my ancestors.
I joined a few RootsWeb genealogy mailing lists and posted and answered queries. Again, each time I hit the send button, my name swept across the Internet. I often listed surnames below my signature, so once again, I created connections with my ancestors. After a year online, I created my own website. Again, without knowing it, I had created a bigger web presence.
I understand I must give a little to get a little. That means leaving a trail so those researching the same family lines can find me. I also understand why some people guard their names and email addresses as if they were their first born, but, if a researcher can’t find you, then you’re missing opportunities.
Over the years, I have - intentionally and unintentionally - created a giant footprint on the Internet. Anyone can find my email address in seconds.
Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living in Milford. Submit a query. It’s free!: RR#1 Milford, Hants County, NS, B0N 1Y0; email: email@example.com