Friday, January 31, 2014


Circle of friends
There are lots of people in your circle of friends who could use your help.

It’s been an interesting few days for me.  You know that those of us reading blogs and sharing on genealogy Facebook pages are pretty passionate about what we do.  I don’t even think I want to call it a hobby.  Yes, it is that.  But, isn’t it so much more?

We may start out just trying to learn a little about our parents, grandparents or great grandparents, but then………….  Suddenly we want to know so much more about them, their families, their lives, their friends and on and on. 

When we mention the subject of family research or genealogy we get one of two reactions, generally speaking.  Either the rolling of the eyes and the person looking for someone else to talk to or the questions. 

This past week for me, it’s been the questions.  First it was my daughter-in-law, who is adopted.  I had talked to her mother (the woman who loved & raised her) and we had discussed the subject of me trying to learn more about the biological parents of my daughter-in-law.  Then within a week, I was given the green light from my daughter-in-law, with the caveat that I am to tell our son everything first.  She’s not sure she wants to know, but she’s curious.  Since they have a child, it would be good to know some of her biological ancestry.  I’m excited to help her with this important project.

Then, we had an insurance inspector come to the house.  Time for renewal and we live in a high fire area, so this is a regular occurrence.  As we were talking the subject of hobbies came up and I mentioned genealogy.  She was very interested and wanted to know a lot more.  How could she research her family if her mother is adopted and her grandfather is also adopted?  Certainly a challenge.  I told her she was welcome to call me any time and I’d try to help.

Then two days ago it was our neighbor who called.  Is there anyone in our area that I am friends with that doesn’t know that I am a genealogist?  Not really.  He is from South Africa.  He’s recently been reading some historical books and saw his surname mentioned in association with Capt. Cook.  That sparked his interest and he wants to know more.  He sent me the few names & dates he had (only as far back as his grandfather) and I spent two hours this morning and took him back to 1843 and his great grandfather.  He’s pretty excited to continue the search now. 

This is not the first time I’ve been approached by people who want to know how or where to begin.  I thoroughly enjoy sharing with anyone who has an interest.  Some family & friends have suggested that I begin charging people and make a business out of it.  I told them no, that wasn’t what I wanted to do.  Why?  Because it wouldn’t be fun any more, it would be work.  At least for me.  Being retired is great and I’ll just keep it that way. 

Do You scratch your head? Or do you help?

What do you do when you are asked to help someone? 

Have you had successes in your research for others?  If so, I’d love to hear about them.

Here are some of my success stories. 
  • Helping a friend who wanted to know more about his ancestors arrival on Ellis Island, prior to going to visit that location. 
  • This was a big one.  Helping a co-worker locate his biological parents.  All he had was a tiny bit of info and I was able to locate the family.  I’m sure a little help from above was present on that one. 
  • Helping another co-worker who knew nothing about his ancestors and I got him started in the right direction.
  • Helping re-unite family Bibles with the descendants of those who owned them.  This was a project done through the San Diego Genealogical Society.  Very rewarding.
  • Helping a close friend locate information about her Italian grandmother.
two friends dancing for joy
Your friends will jump for joy when you help them out.  And it's a great feeling.

I’m sure there are more times that I’ve been privileged to assist others, but I can’t recall all of them right now.

What we do is important.  It’s not about how far back we can go or what famous people we are related to.  My two least favorite questions to be asked, by the way.  It’s about connecting with those wonderful people who’s blood runs through our veins and who’s traits we carry.  

Let’s keep going and see where the road will take us next.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall


  1. My co-worker was convinced that her mother in law had never divorced he first husband. One afternoon I was able to find the divorce papers on the great site in WV. They have an amazing amount of records. She was very excited because she and her sister in law were planning a road trip and did not have a clue what to research.

    1. Claudia - it does feel good to help someone else. Paying it forward is the best
      Thanks for visiting,


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.