For the past few months, as a pilot project, I have been volunteering at Himmel Public Library. Patrons have the opportunity to sign up and have a one on one consultation. Sometimes it is just one question. Other times they come with boxes and files!
The most rewarding session I had involved a family whose roots were not from Mexico (as they thought) but rather for over four hundred years in New Mexico, and then Mexico territory and Spanish origin (1600s). Seeing their faces light up and realize just how AMERICAN they were is a moment I will not soon forget. Letting them know that they had a American Patriot who had fought in the American Revolution AND two Grandfathers who had fought in the Civil War (with Pension papers easily found) was incredible.
I had done this sort of volunteering in Prescott at the main library there for several years, through the Northern Arizona Genealogy Society. Being able to bring this format to Tucson has been so rewarding. As a genealogist, I tend to stick to what I know best– French Canada, Canada, New England with a few Southern states thrown in.
Volunteering in this way permits me to truly stretch my genealogical muscles–sometimes it can be frustrating as I might not know how to help the patron. This is a fairly rare occurrence. Through these one on one consultations, I have helped people start their research, and I am still in touch with many people who I helped years ago. In the genealogical community we often receive much more than what we give away. This is so true in what I do here.
We are hoping to expand this project to other libraries in the Tucson area. If you know someone who would like some research assistance, let them know that Himmel library is taking appointments!
If you would like this service to be offered at your local Pima County library, ask them to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about this initiative, contact email@example.com.