Sometimes there is more to searching for records than diving into books and microfilm. It’s important to network and build a community of researchers to assist you in your family history work. You never know when you might need someone to look up a record for you, or when you have a tough problem to tackle that someone more experienced can guide you through.
So as you are padding about in those family history libraries and archives ask about researchers in the area. What are some of the families they are researching? Some repositories have a genealogist on site. Get to know them and exchange contact information. You never know when that network contact will come in handy.
The mother of all repositories, of course, is the LDS Family History Library (FHL). It is located in Salt Lake City, Utah and has been collecting family data since 1894. Amazingly, you do not have to make a trip to look through their collection. All across the country there are local Family History Centers that provide access to the information made at this library. Even internationally. The key way to get access to this amazing catalog is to sign up for an account with FamilySearch.org. They have a community where you can join groups and collaborate with others. It’s a great place to post questions and find answers to some of your burning research questions.
So next time you are digging through records, don’t forget to take a few moments to look around for ways to contact and network with others. It will greatly expand your horizons.