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Collaboration! That’s where it’s at when it comes to genealogy research. Finding “cuzzins” and exchanging information – that’s the goal!

Whenever I partner with another researcher, I’m never certain what records they might have access to. Do I need to order a microfilm or does one of my research partners already have access to it? Does a cousin know about a resource that I’ve never even thought of looking for?

I’ve often thought that it would be great to be able to share a database of resources.  I’d love to create a database, relevant to my family line, of all possible resources to help in my research and who has access to them, but to make it really worthwhile, I need to take several things into account.

  1. This needs to be easy – even for those who aren’t comfortable with technology.
  2. This needs to be compatible with PC, Mac, iPad, etc.
  3. There needs to be a way to make sure that everyone is collecting the same information.
  4. There needs to be a way to make all results available to everyone so that everyone reaps the benefits and is motivated to contribute.
  5. I would like to make this available to people that I haven’t even met yet to try to make new family connections.
  6. I would like for this to be a true collaboration tool which means that it should be possible to makes comments and ask questions within the document.

My solution? A Google Form that automatically enters information into a sharable spreadsheet.

I think the Google Form is the easiest answer for #1-3 above. I think that making the Form and Spreadsheet available through my blog may be the answer to #4-6.  So I’m including the form below, but I’m also adding a tab at the top of this blog so that Stephens Researchers can quickly access the form and the spreadsheet without having to look for this specific post.

Am I concerned that this will turn into more work than I’m looking for? yes.

Am I worried that somehow, there will be a negative side to this that I haven’t thought of yet? yes.

Am I worried that the “Build it and they will come” philosophy will be a total bust for this? yes.

Am I going to give it a try anyway? yes.

If you are researching the same Stephens family that I am (Welcome Stephens, Dudley Stephens, Rev. William Stephens, etc) then I would love to hear from you!