I’m participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors Challenge and this week’s writing prompt is GOOD DEEDS.
If you’re looking to help out in the Genealogy world, here are some places you can go to help out by doing a good deed or two. Many of these ideas can be done from the comfort of your home and with little or no previous experience.
My first suggestion is to contact your local Family History Society. Many times there are projects on the go that may benefit with an extra set of hands. Sometimes Family History Societies get involved in preservation or transcription of local cemeteries, monuments, etc. They also receive requests for research from people looking for information on a relative that lived in the area. If nothing else you may find a group of people who enjoy the same hobby as you!
You can also go to FindAGrave.com – There you can contribute to the community by fulfilling any open photo requests in a specific area. Who doesn’t love to wander through a cemetery, right?! There are 30 open requests in a 25 mile radius of my home. You can also add memorials or transcribe photos taken by other volunteers.
FamilySearch – On Family Search you can help with indexing records. There are guided tours which will walk you through how the process works. If you are lucky enough to speak a different language there are many projects that require indexing of records from all over the world!
RAOGK – Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness is a website I came across that is a Global Volunteer Organization that aims to “help others obtain copies of documents, pictures of tombstones, etc., that can not be obtained easily by those who do not live in the area of their ancestors.” I don’t have any experience with this site, but it looks interesting to me.
Even Ancestry.com apparently has opportunities to volunteer with their World Archives Project which “gives people everywhere a unique chance to help save the world’s historical records—millions that might otherwise be lost. Anyone can participate by accessing record images in our system and entering the names, dates, and other facts to make the information searchable online.” Myself, I have not yet contributed to this project either, however I do see that they are offering a discount on membership for active contributors. Hmmm…
There are also countless Facebook Groups that offer help to those hoping to find out more about their family history, or require assistance looking up an obituary, or need help deciphering handwriting on a census or back of a photograph. There are even groups that will help with dating old photographs. The possibilities are endless. Do you have a favourite group on Facebook or another social media site that you either contribute to or ask for help on? I’d love to hear about that.
There are also ways to help out in your own family, mainly by being a good Ancestor or Descendant. Start by asking questions. Open up conversations. Record names and dates. Take notes. Write down what you know. Interview your relatives. Label your photographs. Organize photos and scan them. Share them with your family members. Scan and share your Grandparents’ and Parents’ recipes, letters, documents and photos so that everyone in the family can enjoy them and so that they are forever preserved. These are all good deeds for future generations.
Let me know in the comments below where your favourite place to help out or ask for help is.