|A Bridge To The Past|
After reading this, I would explain that statement to the students. At every new generation we tackle, we are all beginners. I am a beginner now try to trace one of my ggg grandmother's roots, just as another person who is working on their grandfather---we are all in the same boat.
I tell them that on February 18, 2003 Ancestry.com had one of their Instant survey's, there was a simple question and a choice of a few answers to choose from. On that day, it was "Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or expert when it comes to family history?" Once I plugged in my answer, I was then able to see the results. For this survey, 79% replied Beginner, 17% replied Intermediate and 4% replied Expert. I think this survey ties into the article, "Being a Beginner Again," it is true, we are all beginners with the line we are working on.
Your new search may continue in the same location as your previous generation. You will already be somewhat familiar with the resources. If the family moved, all the more fun in playing detective. To learn about the new location, read The Red Book to find out basic information, check out Google Maps (to see what towns and cities are nearby), Wikipedia for more background, contact (perhaps by internet) the local library and town hall in that area to see what records they have available. My Bishop line was in Connecticut from the 1650s until 1981 -- no real challenge there. But other lines out of Massachusetts migrated to Illinois, New York or Michigan forced me to learn much more and research harder. I loved it. Don't think of it so much as a hard challenge but as an adventure.
Have confidence that you will be successful either way, whether familiar or unknown locations, the research is basically the same. I have had my eyes opened to many new areas in the United States, can't beat that for an education.