I got an email from Ancestry.com the other day saying that:
"Other Ancestry members are researching the same people you are and would like to contact you about their research. What is the connection service?
"Ancestry.com's new connection service lets members of the Ancestry community reach other members who have similar research interests and activities -- while maintaining their privacy. We make it easy to get in touch.
"Simply register with the Ancestry community. Then click on one of the many connection service links throughout the site to see a list of community members with research interests and activities similar to yours. The rest is history.
"Once you find a member of the community you want to communicate with, you can get in touch, compare notes and exchange stories through Ancestry.com. Remember, other members of the community only see your user name and any information you decide to share. Your identity always remains private."
Is this new? Here's a press release from 7 September 2005 (I think, I can't tell) that says about the same thing. I know that I filled out some of the information years ago, before I had a subscription. It's not clear to me what is "new" this month.
Being the inquisitive sort, and needing blog fodder, I decided to promote this Ancestry.com Connection Service by checking out how it works. I'm going to do this from the point of an Ancestry Member (I'm a subscriber, but there are others who are Members - they are registered but cannot use the database services). I clicked on the "Community" tab on the Ancestry.com home page, and this page appeared (3 screens below):
On this page, I found that four Members, including myself, have expressed a Member Interest in the surname Seaver. The Ancestry.com Connection Service permits me to send an email to any of these persons through their service. I clicked on one of the persons and composed an email message:
I decided to look for Members who might have one of my other elusive surnames. For the "Houck" surname in Pennsylvania, I received this:
I could do the same thing here - send an email through the Connection Service to any of those Members inquiring about their Houck resources.