Monday, September 19, 2011

Genealogy and the AARP

Today is my mother's birthday. She is a key player in my life and for everyone in our family. For her birthday present she was sent three deer walking through her yard. It is a treat to see them, as they are easily spooked. I so appreciate all her love and support, especially when I am laid up. Whenever I see her she has magazines for me to read. As a genealogist I don't have much free time for reading, but somehow I find time to enjoy them. They include Reminisce, Country, Saturday Evening Post, National Geographics and AARP The Magazine. They often contain some genealogy surprises inside like pictures from ancestral locations or memorabilia from our past.

In the AARP for July/August 2011 the editor Nancy Perry Graham wrote about a reuniting with cousins she had not seen for five decades. She signed up with in hope of finding these cousins. After entering information in her family tree she was quickly linked to a person working on the same line. She sent her a message and had a response within 24 hours. Within 48 hours they were exchanging pictures, reconnecting and connecting on Facebook. They lived within driving distance and were soon planning to meet. With social networking more of these types of reunitings are occurring. I have experienced it in my own family.

On the same page was an invitation to enter a contest for a grand prize of $1,000 travel money to discover your roots in person or to put toward a family reunion; a prize of five-hour consultation with Megan Smolenyak, national genealogy expert; a prize of signed copies of Megan's books "Who Do You Think You Are?" and "Trace Your Roots With DNA"; a one year subscription to; a onetime DNA ancestry. Unfortunately I was reading it after the deadline for submissions. Wouldn't we all like one of these prizes? What a great advertising tool for all involved.

Then in the September/October 2011 there was an article on "Top Value Traveling" by Peter Greenberg. He offered tips on getting the most out of a trip. It made me think of friends who are traveling to visit ancestral sites. He suggests, "Ask the Locals, You can bring home a suitcase full of truly unique travel experiences if you get the word on the street." These include Firefighters, Hotel Chefs, Taxi Drivers, Maids, Museum curators, and Bookstore owners.

For genealogists I would add Funeral Home Directors, Mail Delivers, Librarians, local cafe regulars especially older people, Historical Societies, Genealogical Groups, Town Halls, Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Centers and Family History Centers. The best thing to do is search out this information before making the trip. For Randy Seaver this has proven to his advantage on his recent trip. The locals were aware of his coming and had some nice things for him.

I will stop for today, as this one handed typing is tiring. Later in the week I will share some serendipity moments based on this topic. Check out some of the local online information on your ancestral locations.

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