52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Volunteer Potential

Week 46: Assess your volunteer potential. The last two weeks’ challenges focused on volunteerism and local genealogy societies (which are also dependent on volunteers). Take a look at your skill set and determine what types of opportunities best suit you. Do you speak two languages? Maybe you can offer translation services. Do you only have free time after the kids are in bed? Perhaps an indexing project is best for you. Knowing your strengths can help shape your research process. If you take this challenge a step further and actually volunteer, give yourself a pat on the back. Bloggers are encouraged to assess and share their own skill sets, as well as any volunteer experiences they have.

Well, I am definitely still in the “growing my family tree” stage of life.  My kids are young and often underfoot.  I count myself lucky if I get a shower every day.  The majority of my genealogy endeavors are done in the wee hours of the night – in lieu of precious sleep.  I have a tub full of records that I have yet to re-enter into my program.  I have things that aren’t filed and organized.  I never thought of myself as someone who had time to volunteer at this time.

At the Atlanta Family History Expo this past weekend, I got to speaking to one of the representatives from FamilySearch and was made to realize that I could probably volunteer in my own way.  No, I’m not going to be sitting at the front desk of a quiet research library – (can you imagine the ruckus I’d cause with 5 kids?) But I could probably manage to do a batch of indexing here and there as I have time.

I had not realized that when you download a batch of records to index, you have a week to finish it – and it generally is about 30 minutes worth of work.  I could put in a load of laundry and index a record.  Then make some dinner and index a record.  Change a diaper and index a record.  Get the idea?  Even I could do a little something to give back to the genealogy community at large.  Spread out over a week, I could spare a minute here and there – or perhaps sit down all at once one evening when everyone is snoozing.

So, I took the plunge and downloaded the indexing platform.  It was quick and painless!  I then sat and indexed some WWII draft registrations while I was watching “Castle” – my current favorite TV show. 🙂  It was so easy!  I got 33 “points” – although I’m not quite sure what those are for yet.  It mentioned that these might eventually be used to access certain records.  For now, I guess that it is just a way to keep track of how much work I’ve done.

So, how can you volunteer your time or expertise to the genealogical community?

Join in the conversation. 🙂

Thanks to Amy Coffin from the WeTree Genealogy Blog for the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy prompts!

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