Betsy Cross

Family History and the Art of Cloning

In Ancestry.com, Cloning, Family Search, Family Tree, File Systems, Legacy Stories, Uncategorized on June 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

Do you have ANY idea how many people are excited to start and/or work on their family history? The answer doesn’t matter unless they all walk through the Family History Center door at the same time with a smile on their face, papers in their hands, and a steady gaze that says, “Help me!” AND they’re all looking at you!

I was sitting with one young woman, shaking hands with four visitors, while saying “Hi! You’re back!” to Cathy (with a C, not a K, I learned)…

And then the phone rang!

It’s quite a challenge to stay composed when you are anything but calm on the inside. I’ve never mastered talking to more than one person at the same time (I’ve practiced for 26 years with 9 children and the only thing I’ve learned is to NEVER make eye contact with anyone but he with whom you are talking. Acknowledge them with a hand wave and a “just a minute” finger, but that’s it or they’ll start talking over everyone else.)

Long story short, I believe in miracles.

I hung up the phone and turned to Cathy who sat patiently waiting for her turn.

“So. What are we doing tonight?” I asked as we pulled up FamilySearch.org ¬†and Ancestry.com. She fidgeted for a minute because she didn’t have an answer.

And then I saw it! “Look at you! You made it!” On her lap sat a perfectly organized accordion folder, full of files that we’d put in piles the week before. Do you know how excited I was? She’d taken my advice and spent a bit of time getting what she had in order.

“How do you like it?”

Cathy was a changed woman. Her confidence had grown so much. She opened the folder and pulled out a file, showing me the label and accompanying pictures for the family that had taken up residence inside. We added a family group sheet to each folder and spent an hour searching for records in one of them, We drew timeline on the front, copied documents and placed them in the folder, updating the family group sheet as we went.

She was thrilled to be able to make some progress where her deceased sister had left off. She was getting closer to her goal of having four generations of her family history documented and ready to share with her sisters when she visits them in August.

Next Tuesday we’ll make an account for her with Legacy Stories. She’ll start with a free one, and we’ll add her sisters so that they can see and share everything she’s working on. We’ll scan and upload the pile of old photos she showed me, and maybe make 5 of the Talking Photos(they come with the free account, too).

We’ll look at The Leave a Legacy program( family tree website) and see if it’s a good fit for her family. If so, we’ll upload her GEDcom file from Ancestry into it.

Everything was falling into place for her. Soon she won’t need me anymore.

And then it dawned on me…

I can be very bold, usually with no warning.

“Cathy? Would you start volunteering here in two weeks?”

You see, there’s no way that two consultants can help everyone. The Center is getting very active. I’m waiting for approval for 4 other consultants, but my gift of impatience got the better of me, and much to the surprise of my friend sitting across the room, I decided to go fishing for the fish sitting right next to me instead of wait for the imaginary ones in the other pond.

“Sure!” she said with a smile. No hesitation. No sign of insecurity.

“The only problem I might have is navigating screens.” she admitted.

“All you have to do is help someone who knows less than you do. Just stay a few steps ahead of them and you’ll learn very quickly.” I assured her.

Done.

It really does make a difference to ask. You know?

With a lot of mini-me’s I can spend more time on MY family history, and researching and writing stories. It’s a win-win! Or a win-win-win-win!!

  • I win freedom for other pursuits by training people to do my job
  • The Center benefits because when something happens and I can’t show up, the work goes on.
  • People are given the opportunity to learn and grow at an accelerated pace, and then give back by serving someone with their knowledge and skills
  • The cycle repeats as those new consultants train the next wave!

Easy!!

Now…to apply that concept to housework!

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