Giving back is really important to me, it always has been. I’ve been tithing my money and time back to others for as long as I can remember, so when I started In Their Footsteps Genealogical Services, it was only natural that I do the same. I not only tithe my money back to genealogical causes and organizations (beyond business related dues and expenses), but I also tithe my time as well. I volunteer with different genealogical organizations, both online and virtual, and I also take on pro bono research cases. It’s because of this that I was so excited to stumble upon a new “give back” opportunity the other day.
It’s always sad when someone goes missing, but it’s extra sad when persons are located, but next of kin aren’t able to be found. These people have no one to say their final goodbyes to and are often put in unmarked graves. Fortunately, there’s an organization that’s working to keep that from happening. Unclaimed Persons (www.unclaimedpersons.org) was started by certified genealogist and author Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (nope, my fingers are not on repeat, her father and husband have the same surname) to connect next of kin to their missing relatives to give families closure that they never would have gotten. Since 2008, more than 400 genealogists have banned together to solve more than 400 cases. That’s 400 families that can rest easier at night knowing what happened to their loved one and begin the grieving and healing process.
Unfortunately for my readers, I really won’t be able to say anything about my experience as a UP volunteer, but hopefully my volunteering will teach me things that I can relay to my readers and I will definitely update you when a case has been solved and share my feelings. If you have any genealogical research experience, please consider signing up to be a UP volunteer. Countless families across the country are depending on us.