Have you ever run into someone at a conference that you wanted to keep in touch with? Or maybe you were making copies in Salt Lake City and you ran into someone doing the exact same research. Networking is important to your genealogy because it opens up new leads, information about websites, new cousins, etc. It's through genealogical networking that we are able to become better genealogists. And networking isn't just for finding other relatives. Networking means talking to others researching in the same county we are researching in. They can provide ideas, new resources and information about our ancestor's neighbors and friends. Networking means learning from speakers, researchers and employees at libraries and other places where genealogists need information. And yes, networking may lead to new cousins and kin.
Online, networking may happen through social networking sites, message boards, blogs, and websites. But you also need a plan for networking when you are meeting people at genealogy society meetings, conferences and even the library.
One easy, fast way to let others know who you are researching and provide your contact information is by putting together business cards. Business cards are not just for business people--they are an inexpensive way to help people remember who you are and how to get in touch with you.
Once you have business cards, then you will want to carry them with you to give out to family members, other researchers, at research repositories, Family History Centers, conferences, and seminars. Basically anywhere were you might find people interested in the places or surnames that you are researching.
The type of information that you choose to put on your card may differ, depending on your research. I would suggest thinking about using both sides of the card, and if a business card is too small, consider using a postcard. Some ideas for your business card include the following:
• Name, address, phone number
• Email address
• Social Networking sites you belong to like Facebook or Twitter
• Blogs that you author
• Family History Books you have authored
• URL's for photos you have uploaded to sites like Flicker
• Genealogy/Historical Societies you belong too
• Counties you research
• Surnames you are researching
• Any other research interests (Salem Witch Trials, Quaker Research, Civil War Ancestors etc.)
Now that you know what you want on your card, you need to find someone to design and or print it. Several options exist here. One is that you can do it yourself and even print out the business cards on your home printer. You can type out the information for your cards into Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher or another design/word processing program. If you do not own those programs, check out Google Docs, and download one of the templates. This is a free program to use, you just need to set up a Google sign-in and password.
The easiest way to print out your own business cards is to use one of the many Avery templates that you can find at an office supply store. They provide you with the blank business cards that you can then print your information on.
If you are not interested in creating and printing your own business cards, many options exist, both in brick and mortar stores as well as online. Most office supply stores and copy centers can print out business cards either by sending them out to another company or in-house. Prices vary so make sure you understand how much it will cost you for quantity and additional lines of information. Go to the copy center of your local office supply store or your local copy store with an example of the information you want for your card and they can help you from there. Additions, like color, photos and graphics can cost more.
Several online vendors can provide you with business cards, postcards and other printed items. Companies like Vista Print can provide you with templates that include graphics. In some cases you can even get business cards for free, paying only the shipping charges. Other companies include, Overnight Prints, Great FX Business Cards, and http://www.iprint.com/iprint .