There are people "out there" who dabble in their family history and have more than a fifteen second passing interest. Those are the people that we need to reach--especially when they reach out to us for help. Initially they will not cite their sources, they will copy information without analysis, and they will make mistakes. So did the rest of us. Gently guiding new researchers away from these practices will enhance their research experience.
Helping those new to genealogy research learn:
- effective research strategies
- sound methodology
- accurate interpretation of source materials
- construction of soundly drawn genealogical conclusions
People with an interest in family history frequently become frustrated and quit. Helping those people to continue with their research is a more reachable goal. Life experiences tends to propel some people to become interested in their family history. It is difficult for the genealogical community to force those motivating experiences upon others. Instead of recruiting new members to the fold, we should try and to bring in those who are on the periphery into our fold and retain them.
Producing readable, enlightening, and engaging genealogical instruction that is methodologically sound also goes a long way to converting people to our fold.
Until the horse wants to drink, you can pour the water over its head and its mouth will remain shut.