• Jan Mitchell-McDermott

Post One: What I Learned Today


A couple of years ago a friend, (Doris Warner) and I wrote a few articles on what we learned each day about genealogy/family history. We wrote about how social media has influenced this topic. We wrote about a new find, how we figured something out, how to use a certain tool or website. The tips and tricks of online research. It was a lot of fun and informative.

I thought I might pick that great topic up again calling it “What I learned today.”

I’m not a great writer! I’m not much into blogging as I am a researcher and all of those “extra” things take time. But I am a teacher. I love to teach the tools and methods of online research.

Robin Foster is so experienced with onsite research! She travels from courthouse to courthouse researching the records. I have not had much opportunity to do that, but I know “The Family History Library” in Salt Lake City, Utah. I know online research! I know how to use website, the computer and online tools!

What I learned today is how great people on social media are on our websites. I look over the posts and I see the help that is given freely. The expertise and knowledge that has taken years to acquire used constantly to assist someone just learning, or someone “stuck” on a difficult surname. I see the great help busting down the brick walls.

I love the post of “can someone help me read this cause of death” and instantly those that know medical terms or can read hard writing jump right in and share their knowledge.

I see people that live in the area volunteering to do a look up. I see those that have researched a certain area share the sites they use, the methods that have worked for them.

I see a helper say “post a bit more information” and we will jump in and help you.

I see people learning to work together and learning how to make social media a positive experience instead of a negative one. I see people learning to understand how to “type” in a way that is not offensive or attacking. Just for an example on that, a person asked for some help on finding the time period their family came to America. I asked if they had found the 1900 census, the person replied “I’m not stupid, of course I have found that census. I then gently explained that the 1900 Census gives the immigration years, how many years they were in the United States and if they were naturalized or in the process of naturalization. I did not come back to her with a negative but with positive words of encouragement and teaching. She responded on how sorry she was that she attacked and thanked me for teaching her.

That is what the Genealogy! Just Ask! Groups are about. People helping people because of the “love” of the hunt. The “desire” to help others that can’t find or don’t know all the methods they need to succeed.

So today… I learned that people on Genealogy! Just Ask Groups are fantastic helpers, researchers, teachers and trainers! We work together to help others with our “passion.” Finding, learning, and studying the life of those that have passed on!

Robin and I thank you!

#GenealogyJustAsk