GSP had the privilege this past weekend of having Dick Eastman come and speak to us at the 6th Annual Bucks County Ancestry Fair. To a full auditorium, Dick shared with the crowd useful information about wikis, using satellite technology and Google for research, and organizing your genealogy. It was a great day, with a lot of fun and laughter, and we got lots of positive feedback from the attendees at the end. You can read more about the day in Dick's blog post here.
One of the other most satisfying parts of the day, for me, was sitting with new researchers who came to the fair because they wanted to start investigating their family history. Two people in particular stood out to me. Both had done the preliminary step of asking their family for some details, but they'd never searched a census record or sent away for a death record. This truly was their first time looking for information online. It was a true pleasure to be able to walk them through some of the steps of beginning searching, and to be able to find some answers for them. You could see the spark light in their eyes and the enthusiasm when they scribbled down notes about what we were finding together. I remember thinking to myself "Another one caught!"
If you've been doing this for several years, you may have not had that opportunity lately to have that beginner's excitement of finding numerous records all at one time. Why not ask a friend or someone in your community if they're interested in starting their family history, and help them take some steps to get started in their research? Send them links to sites like FamilySearch, Ancestry and the GSP site...give them a pedigree chart to fill in...explain to them about the census and sit with them as they start poking around online to see what they can find. Not only will you be doing a good deed by helping them find their ancestors, but the pleasure you get from getting them started will truly make your week! --jh