I am currently reading the book Hey, America, your Roots are Showing: Adventures in Discovering News-Making Connections, Unexpected Ancestors, Long-Hidden Secrets, and Solving Historical Puzzles by Megan Smolenyak. It is a great read about some really interesting challenges faced by Ms. Smolenyak, a professional genealogist.
This little video will give you a sense of what the book is about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J-VYdcAOEI#t=46 or you may want to visit Ms. Smolenyak's webpage at : http://www.megansmolenyak.com/america-your-roots-are-showing.html
But if you are interested in genealogy and have experience at any level I think you will enjoy this book. AND it is a quick read.
I specifically want to share with you a very sad issues covered in Chapter 8; "Unclaimed Persons: Why you should call your estranged brother."
First off, unclaimed persons are deceased individuals whose next-of-kin have not been identified by the coroners office in morgues across the United States; and I am sure they exist all around the world. Not Jane Doe/John Doe but known individuals who seemingly have no family; no known next-of-kin to claim their body.
Think about that. The physical remains of a departed soul who no one has claimed. So sad. And the statistics reflect that this is actually a situation of epidemic proportion.
If you want to stretch your legs at some forensic genealogy you can volunteer to help find relatives for these lost souls. There is a website: http://www.unclaimedpersons.org
The site has a video that really explains the situation so much better than I can. To date, more they have solved more than 400 cases since June 2008.
If you want to help, the website will answer all your questions.
And maybe you can help a family out there get some answers they might need.
I myself have decided that this will be my next Family History Month activity.