Monday, 16 June 2014

Why Don’t You?? Volunteer, That Is.

This blogger/researcher/RVer is currently in her home state county and city, in the stick built home.  Man and I have a long list of “real life” issues to be handled.  Sell a vehicle or two, one is sold, my hightop custom van has a new home, I cried when it drove away. Buy a new vehicle. I am more in love with my new little mini mini van each time I drive it, it may actually replace my hightop custom van in my heart, who knew that was possible?  We have Man’s mother’s home to sell, the clean up is finished, it goes on the market this week.  Our son who has been living there has been packing and shopping for a ‘new to him’ home.  We have, of course, doctors, dentists and eye doctors to make appointments with.  Hours of gardening and reclaiming the 3 acres we groom (a couple of years each with many months away have taken a toll on the landscape).  Grandchildren to love on, and of course, for this gal, research and input to do.

Sounds busy, eh?  We are all busy.  We live busy lives, each and every one of us.  There are many duties that call our names.  And, if you are still employed there is another entire layer of busy!

Have just a few minutes to spare?  Probably not many.  However, if you can find just a few, may I suggest you do something for others??  Volunteer.

It only takes a few minutes to look up a obit in your local library.  It could mean the world to someone living across the country that cannot travel to your locality to do that lookup themselves.  You get a few minutes in a peaceful quiet library, someone gets an obituary they are curious about. Just a few minutes, of your time.

Or, how about visiting the local cemeteries and doing a lookup for Find A Grave or BillionGraves. The exercise and the fresh air are a wonderful side benefit to cemetery stomping. 

Recently someone did a bit of extra research on a memorial over at Find A Grave, and then contacted me.  That reaching out broke down a brick wall in my research family.  I wrote about it, at length, on Reflections yesterday. Yes, I am still doing the happy genie dance.  

Below, the final resting place of one William A. Darden, Civil War Confederate solider who died of pneumonia.  Permission granted for use of photo by Mark B, volunteer at Find A Grave.  His volunteer efforts, my brick wall came falling down.

This was the second volunteer from Find A Grave that reached out to me in the last month, I also wrote about that break through on Reflections.  I had mentioned that I would love to get a better image of a World War I draft registration on that post.  A friend took a few minutes to access that image and sent me a beautiful image.  She said she was bored.   Knowing her, it only took a few minutes for her to locate and download and forward the file to me. What a nice thing to do for me. 

Volunteering can be wonderful for you and for the recipients.  Even just a few minutes a week can be rewarding.  Stepping back from all the demands on your life for a scenery change can be extremely beneficial to you and you can change some one else’s research.

See how just a few minutes can change some one else's research.  It will feel great, I'll even go so far as to say, I promise it will feel great.

Just a few minutes. 



  1. Thank you for this post. We can all appreciate the immense service that Find a Grave and Billion Graves volunteers perform and the difference they have made in our lives as researchers.

    Even if you can't leave home, you can volunteer as an indexer for Family Search (information at Their projects come in small batches that don't take long to work through. We've all probably benefited from their online resources; this is a good way to give back.

    I spend just two hours a week helping out at the genealogy department of my local library. They have me cutting and pasting obituaries (the old-fashioned way). When that project is over there will be look-ups for faraway family historians. I learn something new about genealogy every time I go there!

  2. I agree and "get it." The sense of satisfaction is great and the amount of time is usually small - taking the time to help others will make you happy. When someone tells me that a blog post or video helped them make sense out of their database, or Excel, or a record set - I am thrilled. If you give back, you will be amazed what comes back to you. Happy for you Carol that those walls came tumbling down.

  3. Thanks Tessa, it was a couple of great weeks.

    And, volunteering does not have to be a HUGE project. It takes a lot of small bites to eat the elephant they say! ;-)

  4. Thanks for volunteering!

    I don't have the confidence yet in my deciphering ability to index old records, but this is something I would very much like to do.

    However, if you have any ancestors in Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, or West Virginia, I'm more than willing to photograph headstones. My husband thinks my genealogy "addiction" is crazy most of the time, but he never minds going to an old cemetery. Go figure!

  5. That's great Schalene! Thank you for such a nice offer. One small bite, next thing we know, that ole elephant has been devoured. (BTW, who eats elephant?? What a silly saying.)

  6. You're so right! I get great satisfaction from looking up obits for others, or taking grave photos. I totally believe in making genealogy karma happen! When I'm stumped on something of my own, it's time for me to go looking for something to GIVE to someone else.


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