When my wife and I were first thinking about creating Genlighten, we tried to imagine who should make up our initial target audience. We actually found it easier to decide who it wouldn’t be:
- Complete beginners, we thought, would be too focused on tapping all the online resources, both free and fee-based. They wouldn’t be ready to look for offline records and thus wouldn’t have a need for Genlighten yet.
- Certified professional genealogists might eventually make use of us once we’d earned a solid positive reputation, but we didn’t expect many of them to be among Genlighten’s “early adopters.”
We finally settled on two categories of genealogy enthusiasts who we hoped would become, respectively, Genlighten’s first buyers and sellers:
- Advanced beginner/intermediate genealogists — those just starting to explore offline records by visiting archives or ordering records from remote repositories — would be our initial clients
- “Transitional” genealogists — those contemplating the leap into the ranks of professional genealogy but not quite there yet — would be our initial providers.
It hasn’t worked out as we expected (almost nothing about this adventure has!) but I can still say that it really warms my heart when I meet someone on Twitter or at a genealogy conference who I find fits one of those two profiles.
In the “About Me” section of her blog, Sara says:
I never really explored anything other than what my family had already and what I could find free online. For the past two years I have been becoming what I like to call a “recreational genealogist”. I research when I have time (usually a few hours every weekend) and am using online resources that are available. In the future I would like to take my research offline by ordering vital records certificates and visiting archives.
That’s exactly what we’re hoping to help all sorts of people do: begin to document their genealogy research using offline records.
Sara writes in a warm and open personal style, mostly about her key surnames, brickwall people, and research discoveries. She’s also a strong presence among the genealogy community on Twitter (one of the most prolific among those I follow) and I love her Twitter “handle”: @InnerCompass.
She’s had some marvelous experiences discovering the diary of her ancestor Sylvia Lewis. It’s her “Sylvia’s Diary” posts that first caught my attention on Twitter. Sara says:
Sylvia is my maternal 5th great-grandmother and her diaries have opened by eyes to a world of struggles, migration, and joy.
The title of her blog says it well: “Lessons From My Ancestors”. I encourage you to subscribe to Sara’s blog… and learn those lessons right along with her.