I'm sure you've spent many, many hours researching your family history and carefully documenting and editing the data but still find yourself looking for the "missing link." Well, other researchers have the same problem. What if your work is what someone else needs to break through the brick wall in their research? Even better, what if someone else has the information you need?
This is where it gets interesting. Family Tree Maker in conjunction with Ancestry.com lets you merge information from other people's trees with your own tree. That's not what I think you should do until you have a high level of confidence in the other person's work.
What I am suggesting, though, is that you should take the time to review other people's trees that have the same surnames as your own tree. Look at the sources, look at the maiden names, check the number of children, see if the towns make sense. These online trees can lead you off into branches that may hold the information you've been hunting for.
These online trees are available at many websites including: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com, http://www.familysearch.org, http://www.mocavo.com, and many other websites. Once you see how useful these online trees are, please consider sharing your own tree online. Don't forget to "privatize" it first. More on that tomorrow.