I think I should start this post with several disclaimers.
- I don't work for Ancestry.com.
- I don't work for NBC, think Who Do You Think You Are?
- I don't work for PBS, think Finding Your Roots.
Recently I introduced 2 of my coworkers to genealogy. Neither of them had ever worked on their family's genealogy and they wanted to know where to start. My recommendation was and is always a 5 generational chart. Their searches are very different from my own, so it will be a challenge to help them as they get deeper into it. One of my coworkers is looking into his paternal side which includes a Russian grandfather. It looks like I'll be learning some Russian geography and a few Russian words. My other coworker is Puerto Rican, as are her parents. Puerto Rican geography and Spanish are also on the agenda.
I've also been helping another coworker with his family lines. He has already started and will come talk to me about the things he has found as well as what he hasn't found but wants to find. Being an African-American, he knows he will most likely run into "the brickwall" of slavery, but really wants to do as much as he can. As a WASP, this is another new journey for me. We both avidly watch NBC's Who Do You Think You Are will discuss it the next day. It has been interesting to watch to see what tips and tricks we can pick up. I recently started watching PBS's Finding Your Roots, which has a very different format from the NBC show. I like them both and find they each have different things to offer.
Another coworker I've helped always believed she was eligible for membership in the DAR. She thought she had 2 possible patriots, since one was much easier to prove than the other, we worked the easy line. It was fairly easy to document each generation as the DAR requires, but we were missing one link, from the patriot to his son. We knew the patriot had been proved by the DAR and the line was still open, so there had to be something to link to his next generation. I started looking at some of the message boards on Ancestry.com to see if any of posts might have been about her family. There were quite a few. I started looking through some of those to see if any were about her patriot and mentioned a will. I didn't find that, but I did send out a few emails to a couple of the more prolific posters. One of those emails paid off and we were able to locate a copy of the will. Mission accomplished, paperwork done, application submitted!
No matter where you are on your genealogical journey, you have knowledge you can pass on to others. Take time to think about what you can pass on and who you can inspire to work on their family genealogy.