(I know this was due day before yesterday but it was in my drafts so I thought I would go ahead and publish it anyway...)
"Week #13: Have expertise in a specific area of study? Share your knowledge! If you’ve lived in the same town for 60 years, you have something to share. If you’re a librarian in your day job, you have something to share. If you read Civil War history books for fun, you have something to share. If you’re walking on this Earth, you have something to share."
While I have been doing genealogy for over a decade, I still think of myself as an amateur. That's why it is a little trying to think up an area of expertise. I think my areas of expertise came more from school than actual genealogy study. I am pretty fluent in French (took it for six years) and have been toying with the idea of minoring in it or linguistics. I also took Latin in school which, while a dead language, has certainly proved helpful (like in figuring out the roots of words). There were also two years of Spanish, but I hated it so much that I'm afraid I didn't learn much. Although, I could do genealogy research in a Spanish speaking country ("Donde esta la biblioteca?"). As a complete aside, does everyone remember the Lone Ranger and his sidekick Tonto? Well, tonto is the Spanish word for stupid. That little tidbit is what I remember most for Spanish class (like I said, I didn't learn much).
Since certain places mean more to my family than others, through genealogy research I have gotten pretty educated on those places. All of my mother's family is from San Joaquin Co., California with her main branch settling there almost a hundred and sixty years ago. Siskiyou (and the now defunct Klamath) County, California is another "area of expertise" for me you might say as that is where one of my grandmother's family settled (I still have cousins there actually who are still in contact with my branch). On my father's side, Jackson County, Michigan and Trumbull County, Ohio are important places, but since I've never actually been to either state (believe me, they're at the top of genea-vacation list) I hesitate to call myself an expert on those counties. Where I grew up in California, I could say that that is an area of expertise. Though I don't have any ancestral roots in the county where I grew up, I know it like the back of my hand. I know all the landmarks, all the towns and communities, all of the libraries, most of the cemeteries, the network of back country roads (which I learned to drive on), where to go to get records, most of the schools, etc. I also grew up very close to Sacramento and know the city and outlying areas very well, which is a good place to claim as an area of expertise since it is the state capitol and the seat of the state archives.