In the spring I watched Crista Cowan’s presentation at RootsTech. It was pretty awesome. She said something that gave me pause. She said that people are much more likely to send a message to someone on ancestry if they have a profile picture. Especially if their tree is private, like mine is.
Never thought about that really. Makes sense though, right? You see the picture of a smiling, friendly looking person and you trust them more than if you were looking at that generic, beige, default ancestry avatar.
I took her words to heart and later that day I went into my ancestry profile and uploaded a photo. Well, I tried anyway. Like three times. Except the darn thing wouldn’t work. It was probably some system issue because everyone who listened to Crista that day thought the same thing I did and we bogged down the profile photo portion of the website with our efforts.
Well, fast forward to a few weeks ago. I remembered that I still didn’t have a profile photo on ancestry so I went in and successfully uploaded the above photo. On the first try. 🙂 And, guess what happened?
Over the last few weeks I have gotten messages from four cousins I didn’t know before. Four cousins from various parts of the globe. They all messaged asking questions but were of course happy to offer information that they had as well. It’s been a beautiful thing. Lots of emailing and sharing details, documents, photos, and stories.
I love that!
Sharing really is awesome.
But that’s not all. Another cousin noticed some work I had done in Family Tree on familysearch.org and sent me an email asking questions. Again, more emailing, sharing details, documents, photos, and stories. This cousin is from New Zealand and happens to descend from my Scottish branch. He knew about a whole bunch of cousins that immigrated to NZ and was able to help me fill in some gaps.
But wait, there’s even more. I had another cousin from Canada contact me on this here blog after reading a post I wrote about a common aunt several generations back. She just recently went to Scotland to learn more about this branch of our family. I can’t wait to hear all about her trip.
I’m so glad I have online trees and this blog. They are excellent cousin magnets. I’m doing my best to leave huge, bigfoot-sized digital footprints all over the web so that those cousins can easily get in touch with me. It seems to be working.
My advice? Add a profile pic, be sure to have your email address in your profiles, leave those big ol’ Sasquatch prints all over online. Maybe you’ll get some emails too.