First we are all here for one main reason — to learn more about our ancestors.
How we get there is a different story. Some are lucky that their families have left bits and pieces of their lives behind in the form of photos, family Bibles, deeds and other important documents. Others are not so lucky - and that is why we built, and continue to build, this web site. Following are some suggestions for how to use this web site effectively.
1) SEARCH - Use the Search function you'll find at the bottom of all main pages. Choose which SITE you want to search through (we have three sites that share the search engine function but by choosing one family before searching you will limit the search to just that family). One good way to search is with a unique term to your family. Such as a maiden name for a wife. If you put in John Elder you will get quite a few results!
2) FAMILY HISTORIES - have a look at the major family history lines that have already been posted. See if the areas where these families lived is close to where your family is from even if the names might be different. None of the information on this site is "engraved in stone" we welcome corrections, additions and deletions.
3) BULLETIN BOARD - We have just started a new Elder Community Bulletin Board. Here you can also search for your line with it's powerful search engine (specific to the Bulletin Board only). You can also choose an appropriate Category and post a query about your line as a new Topic. Here you also have the ability to privately email other registered users of the Bulletin Board. (It has it's own built in email system). As well you may also post answers to other members queries. You must Register to use the Bulletin Board which prevents unauthorized use of the board and protects our members.
4) Join the EMAIL SHARING LIST - This is a good place to contact other researchers that might be researching your same line. It's a good place to start but if you really want to get involved join the Bulletin Board.
5) CONTRIBUTE! - If you have research, a family line (gedcom file), early family photos, census records, etc. we welcome additions to the web site!
6) And last but not least I am not an expert on the various Elder lines. We have several hundred Elder researchers active here that all have a particular line of interest. Effective use of this site will require a proactive participation on your part. Follow the suggestions above and contact researchers on similar lines. When contacting them I suggest you give them as much information as is possible to start with. For example: your oldest Elder ancestor, his wife's name (including maiden), approximate ages, where they lived and when. Also it's important to let them know what research you have ALREADY DONE. The more INFORMATION your offer the better chance you will have of receiving a helpful reply. By sending a query to someone you are asking for their time (a precious commodity) please spend some of your time preparing a proper query.