Saturday, January 17, 2009


Sometimes you just need a break from your own family research.  Sometimes it's best to step away from the brick wall to get a fresh perspective.  But as we all know, genealogy is a passion, so it's hard to break away.  That being said, there are many ways in which we can be involved with genealogy, while taking a breather from our own tree.  Here are a few ideas:

Indexing/Transcription Projects

Indexing is a great way to participate in genealogy while taking a break from research.  And who knows, maybe you'll even come across an ancestor! 

There are probably hundreds of projects going on (think genealogical and historical societies).  There are also two huge projects going on that are focused on making indexes available and searchable online.

FSIss Family Search's Worldwide Indexing Projects - Family Search is a service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It offers free access records worldwide.  Many indexing projects have already been completed.  But there are plenty more to go around.  To participate in an indexing project, simply sign up, download their program, and start indexing.  The program is easy to use and once you get into a rhythm, it goes by very quickly (assuming the one you're working on is not terribly illegible).

WAPss Ancestry's World Archive Projects - This indexing project is fairly new.  According to their site "The World Archives Project lets anyone from the genealogy community help bring FREE historical record collections to the public. Contributors become the first to see new collections as they type in information that creates searchable record indexes."  To participate, sign up (or login to your existing Ancestry account), download the software, and start indexing.  The program is a little tedious until you get used to it.

Volunteer to help out local genealogical/historical societies with their indexing and transcription project.  Or, if you're feeling bold, create your own project.  You could index surnames in local history books or newspapers, or you could transcribe cemetery records.  Be creative, but also find ways to share the information with others.

Help Others

There are several ways you can help others solve those little mysteries.  It's really a case of good karma, help others and others will help you, and it's really true!  Here are some ways you can help:

Unclaimed Persons - A group of people who try to locate next-of-kin for deceased persons.  You can participate through their Facebook Group.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) - This is a website that holds a listing of people by state and county, who are willing to do small genealogical tasks.  These tasks could include making court record copies, lookups, or photographing gravestones.  You choose what you are willing to do.  Head over to the RAOGK website and sign up as a volunteer. 

Books We Own - This website provides a listing of books that other people own and who are willing to do lookups.  If you have some books (genealogies, local histories, etc.) stop by and sign up as a volunteer.

USGenWeb - All of those documents and transcriptions you've collected could be of great help to others.  USGenWeb is designed to put people in touch with information for a particular county.  Collect some of your records and head over the the applicable state/county site and submit your info.  You can also volunteer to do lookups.  You may also want to participate in some of their index/transcription projects.  Or volunteer to adopt an orphan county by becoming a County Coordinator.

Message Boards - There are many genealogy-related message boards.  Two of the most popular are RootsWeb (an Ancestry community) and GenForum (at genealogy.com).  Spend some time perusing the boards and see if there is anyone you can help.  Who knows, you may just discover a cousin!

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