In two years of blogging about free genealogy resources and five years of using them, I've came across a lot of great stuff. Some of it I've found for myself, others I've found to help my readers. But there is one resource that stands above the rest, that keeps giving long after the publish post button is clicked.
Do you know what it is? Can you guess?
It's the geneablogger community.
When I first wandered into the geneablogger community, I started out as an observer. I would read what others were posting and get a tip here and there. After a while, I began printing out some of the posts I was reading and put them together in a binder, my own personalized genealogy textbook of sorts. To me, that made it a great resource in itself.
However, it wasn't until I stepped out of my observer role and began participating that I realized how much of a resource the community really was. I started my personal genealogy blog with a little bit of trepidation. After all, there were some great bloggers out there and I didn't have a lot of hope of standing out, especially since many are more advanced researchers than I am.
I found that the geneablogger community is a welcoming one. It didn't matter that you knew more than me or that I was a total newbie to blogging about my family history. You made me feel at home.
The real resource, though, was still to be uncovered. I remember writing a post about one of my brick wall ancestors and being surprised that someone had stopped by to offer me a tip. Then someone offered advice on another genealogy problem I was having. It was great.
Then I decided to get more active in social media. I had been on social media for a while, but I wasn't really using it a whole lot. I was mostly sitting back and observing like I had done with the genealogy blogs.
I have to admit I was surprised to find that social media could be an amazing free genealogy resource as well. I've got recommendations for books and software, advice on citation, tips on dealing with problems and someone to celebrate when I have a woohoo moment that a non-genealogist wouldn't understand.
We may fuss and squablble at times, but who doesn't? When it comes down to it, we're the best resource for genealogy there is. Where else are you going to find such a wide spectrum of researchers all over the world in one place?
If you're like I was, just watching from the sidelines, maybe it's time you took that step and started participating. You may be surprised what you'll get in return.