23 April 2013

Thank a Volunteer!

National Volunteer Week is happening now, April 21-27, 2013.

I somehow missed the memo on this, so I’ll admit, I’m a day or two late. Forgive me, please.

Ok, I’ll also admit that I did not really know it existed until today. I suppose I could have guessed it, if someone had asked, but no one ever has.

National Volunteer Week. Where would I be in the world of genealogy without volunteers? Where would you be? Think about it. We all take advantage of a wealth of free internet sites, museums, historical archives, look up’s and more. I personally can rattle off at least 20 museum volunteers in my small town alone. RootsWeb. Trails to the Past. Even those of us who have participated, or are participating in the ProGen program; one that is run by volunteers.

How many times have you written to a historical or genealogical society for assistance? How many times did you take advantage of – or assist with – RAOGK (Random Acts Of Genealogical Kindness)? Upload photos to FindAGrave or BillionGraves? Answer a question on a Facebook post or Twitter?

Volunteerism makes the genealogical world go round.

Not to mention those billion indexed records that was recently announced. (Whew! That’s a lot! Good job, everyone!)

In the spirit of the week, I am putting out a “call to action!” Lift someone else up by giving them a long overdue kudos on your blog. Or your Facebook page. Or whatever format you want. Send a thank you card. Shake their hand, give a hug, write a letter, look them in the eye and tell them how much you appreciate them. Do it sincerely, honestly.

I’ll start.

I would like to thank...

LeAnn Knifer Atkin.

LeAnn Knifer Atkin
FamilySearch/Facebook Volunteer
Photo used with permission.
LeAnn and I met through Facebook, probably around six months ago. She is the volunteer coordinator for the Wyoming Genealogy Research page on Facebook, which is one of the many established by FamilySearch. (Oh, how I love those communities!) 

I have said it before, and I will say it again: this is, in my opinion, the best FamilySearch state specific page on Facebook. LeAnn is simply amazing in her dedication, her creativity and her ability to provide valuable, meaningful resources every day. She never stops. I’m not even sure she ever sleeps. I find it slightly ironic that the least populated state in our nation with a rather sluggish genealogy community has the most interactive and exciting pages that I am a member of.

The page has been active since 12 March 2012. A little over a year. It currently has 149 “likes,” and I’m sincerely hoping that by the time this post goes live, it will be well over 150. If you have not checked it out yet, please do so. Not because everyone in the world has an ancestral path that takes them through the amazingly beautiful landscape of Wyoming, but because you should see her work. You should see her effort. And you should recognize it.

LeAnn, thank you. The tools you provide to the rest of us, daily, are incredibly helpful. I know that it can take some time and significant effort each day to keep the conversation going, to keep things “fresh.” I appreciate what you do for the Rocky Mountain genealogical community and beyond.

Who is Yours?

So, who is your volunteer? Who is that person that stands out, that reaches farther, that makes an impact? Blog about them, then share the link. I think we could all use a little positive reinforcement right now.


  1. Jen, you've made a generous gesture to generous people. I know a lot of wonderful librarians and historical society people who are paid for their jobs, but I'll have to think about who I know that volunteers. Probably someone in the DAR membership of the chapter I just got into.

    There are many people on Twitter, though, that have volunteered to help me with indexes and information and technology tips. For example, Caroline Pointer and Laura Lorenzana and Kathleen Brant have all reached out to help me. So have others. Maybe a blog about these!

    1. I loom forward to reading it, Msriann, no matter who you choose! This was a fun one to write, and LeAnn really was the first person I thought of for it. She is a blessing. Thanks for reading, and commenting, as always! ~ Jen


Please comment! I would love to hear your thoughts!