Last month the Ancestry.com team headed to Atlanta, Georgia where we attended AARP’s Life@50+ event and shared a little bit of our genealogy know-how with attendees.
As many of our members know, we attend events nationwide throughout the year – many of them being genealogy-focused conferences. We attend these events to both meet with our members and have conversations about our site, but also to give people the “genealogy bug” and inspire others to find out more about the people and places that make up their family history.
AARP’s Life@50+ was a great event that garnered our team an opportunity to get in touch with people who may not have had any previous experience with genealogy, and who might not know what Ancestry.com is. It was really amazing seeing how many people were intrigued by genealogy, but didn’t think there was anything available for them to discover online or elsewhere. Some knew of a family member who might have a family tree somewhere, or a family bible with some names and dates, but many people had never really thought of researching themselves.
Since we knew many attendees would be new to genealogy and wouldn’t know a lot past their parents and perhaps their grandparents, we set up shop at the convention center with computers and researchers and asked attendees to give us some of the basics. Those that visited our booth were given a small worksheet to fill out including: Mother’s name, Mother’s birthdate, Mother’s birthplace, Maternal Grandmother’s name, etc. and had these fields for the father’s side of the family too. Then, each attendee sat down with an Ancestry.com researcher who used the information to find their family in our database.
Our researchers were able to find at least a census record for each person that visited our booth and we then printed out their record for them to take home. Many people were able to take home more than just a census record – finding draft cards and naturalization papers as well. It was an amazing experience being able to see people have their first “Aha” moment of discovery, many who vowed they would continue their research or at least go home and start writing down their family stories and preserving their family’s history.
Below is a video we compiled of a few attendees that we spoke with as they were leaving our booth. We simply asked “What did you discover today at the Ancestry.com booth?” These are their discoveries: