Share Your Time, Research, and Interest with Others

Posted on Mar 29, 2012

Share and Beware - Sharing Genealogy in the Information Age.  On one hand, genealogists simply must share. Not only is it in our nature, but it is necessary for successful research. On the other hand, sharing – both privately and publicly – may cause our hard earned research to end up in places we do not intend or we do not approve.


Share your time with others.  Remember those who reached out to help you when you first started in genealogy?  I remember when I started doing genealogy; I visited a family history center in Everett, Washington.  I didn’t have a clue where to start, just an interest.  One of the volunteers spend an hour and helped me understand the steps in starting my family tree.  Over the next six months she helped in mentoring my development and passion for genealogy/family history. She taught me the proper research and documentation techniques.   Today, she is a dear friend whom I still call to seek counsel. 


Perhaps there are ways you can give back to others, for example:

1. Consider volunteering at libraries, including Family History Centers. 

2. Volunteer your time to on-line sites such as:

  • Look up records or take photos of tombstones for researchers who can't make the trip to do it themselves.
  • Help answer questions by joining a mailing list geared toward "newbies" or by answering questions in forums or chats.

3. Teach a class on genealogy through a local organization.

4. Join a historical society and help in researching local history.


Comments from  genealogists follow: 

“Volunteer your time, when you can, to help others with their genealogy. This may simply involve showing somehow at the library how to search, doing lookups for free, or doing a project like a small cemetery transcription that can be shared online. I just assisted with the Missouri death certificates online project, even though I have no Missouri relatives, because I am hoping someone is doing the same for me in a state where I DO have an interest.”


“Take time to practice genealogical acts of kindness.  Help other researchers along the way and exchange information.  Some of my biggest breakthroughs came as a direct result of being generous with what I know from people who have seen my database on the internet and contributed information of their own or made observations about things I had missed.  I am currently cooperating with five other genealogists who are each researching different CLARK lines.  Our common denominator is that we all are looking for a Thomas Clark in our ancestry and all our Clarks appear to have originated in the same general area.”


“I always learn something new when I help someone else with their family history. Keeping my research skills and knowledge sharp you need to help others solve their research problems. Teaching others correct methodology for solving a research objective in a certain time period and place not only helps them, but you too.”


Share your interest in genealogy with others. Briefly discuss your interest in genealogy with others - you will be amazed at what can happen. A genealogist writes:  “I have started a neighbor on her hobby -and she is so lucky to be getting all the info from her 90-year-old parents! And a golfing friend who turned out to have the same hobby is a recently discover 13th cousin! Alternatively, try to convince people to get some basic information written down from their parents or grandparents, even if they have no interest, so that if their children ever do, they will have a head start. (I am not sure how many people have taken this advice, though!)”

Labels: genlessons

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