Saturday 18 October 2014

Unexpected rewards

What a rewarding experience I have had over four weeks. The regular family history/genealogy volunteer guru in our local library has been away enjoying a holiday break. When the call came for volunteers to fill his 3 hour spot each Friday morning, I hesitantly offered my time not knowing whether I had enough genealogical expertise to be of assistance.

Since then I've heard some heart-breaking stories and shared some delightful finds. It has been my privilege to assist. Here are a few highlights.

Case 1. A baby adopted out during difficult times in WWII in England now in her 70s was very pleased when we found the records of the births (with names) of two previously unidentified older siblings and her birth mother's death record.

Case 2. Trove came up trumps for a local seeking help to find details about a great grandfather involved in gold mining near Gympie, Queensland.

Case 3. The Discovering Anzacs site provided additional information for a woman who had with her a treasured World War I diary that belonged to her husband's father. Yes, the WWI veteran had a son at age 58. What a privilege it was to see that small diary written in beautiful script 100 years ago on some of the worst battlefields of the Western Front and to have the opportunity to provide some suggestions about conservation and digitisation.

Case 4. I knew nothing about PQ 17 a World War II convoy in the Arctic but was able to help the owner who had her father's original documents from his time on one of the ships in the ill-fated convoy. She was looking for a suitable home for the documents, so a simple Google search has provided her with appropriate contacts where she can obtain professional advice from either the Imperial War Museum or National Archives, Kew.  She is now looking forward to reading a variety of Internet articles with information about the convoy and intending to watch this BBC produced Jeremy Clarkson documentary.

Those of us with computer skills need to remember there are so many folks, not just seniors, who still do not have the confidence or skills to find the information they seek. Volunteering brings its own rewards.  Do not hesitate to share what you know.

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  1. How gratifying I ca just imagine how chuffed you were. Your years of experience as a librarian no doubt assisted you in this role.

    1. The skills and techniques used in librarianship and teaching are always useful in so many ways, just need to continue to develop my knowledge of data sets and sources available to family historians.


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