Friday, November 9, 2018
Cheers for the Magic of Crowdsourcing
It is possible, of course, for some members of our family trees to still be alive, one hundred years later—but not usual. So I was stymied by the apparent lack of any resources confirming that the woman in the hundred year old baby picture I found had passed away. Did that mean Lorraine Frances Lewis was now a centenarian?
In case that was actually the reason I wasn't able to find any obituary or death information on Lorraine, I held off on sharing the links I've discovered on what happened to Lorraine Lewis in the many years following her December 1916 birth in Artesian, South Dakota. But with the comment yesterday by reader Jan, providing a date of death for Lorraine, I feel a bit less restrained about reaching out to search for remaining family.
It's the crowdsourcing aspect of the community effort that always has been genealogy's strong suit that makes such connections happen. Those who have researched their family history pre-Internet may remember sending queries to society newsletters far and wide, asking for copies of obituaries, or to connect with distant cousins over difficult research problems. Even in the early days of online genealogy, we had forums at places such as Rootsweb and Genealogy.com to connect in an electronic version of those old queries.
And now? We have multiple online outlets for publishing our family tree, hoping to turn our research into further cousin bait. And if that isn't enough, we have Facebook. Yes, Facebook is turning into the new go-to place for connecting with other "genies" for help in puzzling over our brick walls. If you don't think so, take a look at Katherine Willson's database of over twelve thousand Facebook resources for genealogy. That's a lot of potential links to the answers you are seeking.
I took a look to see what connections there might be on Facebook for Reno, Nevada. Why Reno? That's apparently where Lorraine Lewis settled in her later years, and possibly where she died. I do know that is where her second husband—Harold Enderlin, an alumnus of both Stanford and Harvard—died in 2006. Hopefully, one of Lorraine's sons also lives in the area, though I haven't found any reason to believe that yet.
Pursuing genealogy resources via Facebook, I did locate the page of the Nevada State Genealogical Society. Not only that, but I discovered that someone else has been rescuing abandoned family photographs, some of which she has posted on the Nevada society's Facebook page. I contacted that researcher and asked how long she's been doing that—she's got me beat: twenty years! She finds old photos anywhere she can—estate sales, flea markets, garage sales, antique stores—and once she researches them, she posts the info wherever she can. In this case, I found her because of her posts to the Nevada society's Facebook page, but she posts wherever she thinks she can make a viable connection.
If the key to finding an answer is to maximize how many eyeballs can see the abandoned photo and know its story, that would make sense. No matter how it's done, though, it's when a bunch of us put our minds to solving the puzzle, adding our own expertise or effort to the mix, that makes the difference. Just one of us may not be able to tackle every problem alone, but when we join together, each one adds something unique to the effort. Hopefully, in the case of Lorraine Frances Lewis' baby picture, that will be what makes the difference, and we can send her home to family. After all, who wouldn't want an adorable baby picture like that?!
© Copyright 2011 – 2023 by Jacqi Stevens at 2:56:00 AM
Labels: Enderlin, Family Photos, Lewis, Nevada, Online Resources, Social Networking
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You are all doing a service to others by reuniting these precious photos with their families. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Miss Merry, I am so glad to do it! It is certainly rewarding when a photo makes its way back home.Delete
Yep! That's the guy!Delete
Given the information in that obituary, the last name listed in this link should be interesting: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/22441211/reno_gazettejournal/Delete
Per: absolutely! Thanks for providing that confirmation. I always feel better when I have a source for those dates.Delete
What a cutie!ReplyDelete
Isn't she?! Makes me want to work all the harder at sending her home to family. Still waiting, though...Delete
I haven't yet solved many genealogical problems this way yet, but crowdsourcing questions has certainly opened up new avenues of research I haven't considered before. Making trees with our photos and documents searchable (but not necessarily public) on Rootsfinder, Ancestry or MyFamily has helped me too. I don't like when people just copy/paste the trees but when we actually exchange messages it is often productive.ReplyDelete
That's a great point, Clorinda. Being able to get in touch with other researchers on the same family line can help so much. I believe that, over the long run, we in the genealogy world have had a longstanding heritage of sharing information with each other which has been somewhat clouded following the uptick in use of online resources. But we still can benefit from getting in touch with each other, thinking more of our research as a group project, sharing information.Delete
I'm glad you mentioned RootsFinder, among other resources. I am hoping to explore their may sharing possibilities (among other utilities there) during this winter break. Looks like a great resource!