With the magic of advertising, I now have my three pro bono clients. All three of the topics will take me outside my comfort zone: New England, Ireland and Luxembourg! I do not know enough yet to say if my 10 hours for each will answer their genealogy question (and that will have to be carefully explained to them) but it will be interesting to see how far I get with each. I won’t be able to have the initial conversation with two of the three until mid March; the third will occur in early April.
I can tell that I already am more organized. For example:
- I am organizing my client files so it can expand to include multiple clients
- I am viewing some of the familysearch.org videos on research on immigrants from Ireland (I do not think it is ethical to charge for me to learn the “how to…” Your thoughts here would be appreciated!)
- I have given all three clients “homework assignments.” They will fill out, to the best of their ability, 2 family group sheets and a pedigree chart (when did the name change to Ancestral Chart?) of the person of interest before we talk.
- I will develop a research plan for each. While this probably will not be shared with the client, it will serve multiple purposes but it primarily will form the basis of my investigation on each, outlining what I should do and also what is left to do after the 10 hours. Secondarily, it will keep me focused on the client’s question.
And, how did I learn these lessons?
I learned these lessons from my first and very wonderful client:
- As I was gathering things together to send to her I needed to make a copy. I then I realized I needed to organize my files to accept multiple clients.
- I have always thought the videos from familysearch.org were very good…clear, concise, of the right duration. So it seemed logical to look there to increase my learning curve.
- I took notes of our first conversation but not very systematically. When it came time to cite the interview as a source, I realized that I needed to put those into better form. Why not do that earlier rather than later!
- As I was trying to make Mary’s report work for multiple uses, I realized that I had lost focus of what Mary wanted! Geesh. She is still getting a great report but good thing she didn’t have a deadline! (Mary, look up the etymology of the word “deadline.” Your ggrandfather knew it well.)
Great Lessons Learned! And to those of you who already have clients, they probably seem very elemental.
I would also like to refer you to the following blog by Judy G. Russell (Thanks, Michael, for posting this as a top blog of the week.):
She describes her timeline and thought process during her certification process. It only took Judy 3 years to become certified! Congratulations.
What I have done since the last post: accepted the third and final pro bono client; viewed a couple of videos on Irish immigration and searching Irish records; set a time to meet with the first client (early April) and it looks like the other two will be in Mid March. Woo hoo!