09 February 2010

Become a Standard Bearer for Genealogy

Are you prepared to help capitalize on the opportunity that television programs like "Faces of America" and "Who Do You Think You Are" offer for societies like the Southern California Genealogical Society?

As a genealogist, you are in a position to help others understand the joy of unveiling a new generation in your family.  You can help share your passion and knowledge.  Let's think about some things that each of us can do to help spread the word.

For example, you can start water-cooler conversations "Did you see last night's 'Who Do You Think You Are"?  Once people know that you've an experienced genealogist or family historian, you will become a resource and they will look to you for advice.

If you find someone interested starting their own research, take the initiative to invite them to a genealogy program or visit a library. Offer to go with them to introduce them or show them around. You'll gain a research buddy and someone with whom to share your discoveries and your challenges.

Offer to do a look-up, or have them watch over your shoulder as you use Ancestry.com or FamilySearch to find a record for their family.  Remember how you felt the first time you saw your great-grandfather's name on a census record? You can give that feeling to someone else.

Carry a few copies of  your society's membership brochures in your purse or briefcase. Encourage them to explore membership.  Explain that they can learn effective search techniques and help them avoid the mistakes that we all made when we started.  Show them the Society's website and help them understand the education and resources available to them at a very nominal cost.  Have copies of the Society newsletter or journal to show, too. 

Contact your local PBS and NBC stations and provide them with contact information for your genealogical society.  Write a letter on the station's website and invite them to interview members -- a student member, a beginner, experienced professional, someone with a particularly interesting ancestor. 

Some churches, employers, schools have informal sessions where someone talks about their hobby or interest. Jump in and offer to lead one of those classes.

Individuals genealogists, as well as genealogical organizations, can help spread the word about family history.  What other ideas do you have to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity?

I'd love to hear them.


1 comment:

  1. My local newspaper just started a new "Community Spotlight" feature. I'm going to suggest that they rename it "Faces of Atascadero." I also plan to contact civic groups in the area to promote genealogy projects as a worthwhile investment.