Nov 252016

Advent in 2016 is from Sunday 27th November to Saturday 24th December. 

While I am very fond of chocolate and as a child loved the little calendars that you opened each day and gained a piece of chocolate, for a number of years now I have done a different type of Advent calendar.

It is a “Paying Forward Genealogical Kindness” Calendar (and yes there might be some chocolate as a reward each day!). Below is my 2016 Advent Calendar. Some of these will take a few minutes, some a few hours but each of them shares just a little kindness and there can never be too much kindness in this world.

So much of our research has been made easier because of the very many volunteers in the past who have indexed and transcribed records for us.

Over the years I have tried to give back whenever I could but because of study and work, generally could not often do it in person onsite somewhere, so looked for ways I could do it at home  (or anywhere I might be) using a computer.

‘Genealogists for Families’ Project
Small micro-loans given to help people help themselves. A fantastic initiative started by Judy Webster. Currently there are 324 genealogist members from all over the world who since 2011 have made over 7792 loans totaling  $205, 000. Each loan by an individual is $25 (the loan amount for a project varies) and then the person pays back the loan which allows you to relend that money again and again. So over my time as a member I have donated $1223 which because of the relending has meant that $3425 in 137 loans have been made.
Find out out more here

The wonderful free website of the National Library of Australia that has digitised newspapers and now also the new South Wales Government Gazette that have been OCR’d (Optical character recognition read by a computer and interpreted). The OCR quality can be variable depending on a range of reasons including typeface so by correcting the text you make the record searchable and available for all.


National Archives of Australia
Transcribing records to make them more findable and able to be listed online.  Thanks to transcribers 248 250 record descriptions have been added to RecordSearch. This makes resources available to the community as they are able to be found by a name search.

State Library of Queensland
So many transcription opportunities around the world depending on your interests and experience:
Just a few of the ones I have done some work with in the last couple of years are listed below:
Transcribing early modern recipes
Virtual Volunteering Australia
US National Archives
Smithsonian Digital Volunteer
Atlas of Living Australia: Digitising Field Diaries Australia (Museum Victoria)
World Memory Project
Project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a very large collection of documents. In  partnership with they have created the World Memory Project which has volunteers at home indexing the records so they are name searchable. This will create a free database.
Welsh History
Tithe maps project currently active
Distributed Proofreaders
Checking and correcting  OCR to allow out of copyright books (Public Domain) books to become ebooks.
What’s On the Menu?
Project of the New York Public library transcribing historical restaurant menus.

What other projects do your family history society, local museum, state archives, etc have that you could give back a little? There are so many ways of “Paying Forward” 

Remember every name indexed is one more person found for future researchers.

Jan 282012
I attended the Lifleline BookFest last  Sunday, which was the last day  of this Bookfest. 

For one week, twice a year, an enormous hall at the Brisbane Convention Centre is filled with trestle tables loaded with books of every genre and topic. These are books which have been donated and as such you can strike gold one time or silver the next.

All proceeds raised from book sales help fund Lifeline’s many counseling services. So you have the double bonus of buying great books and knowing the money you pay is being used to help people.

I have never come away with no books. OK, I admit I love books of every type (except horror). I have found many specialist books at Bookfest including University textbooks, computing books and of course history books.

I spent one hour looking through the books then went off to a wonderful get-together with Genealogists for Families group where we had a lovely lunch and then chatted genealogy for ages. Then back to the Bookfest for three hours. 

I attended on the last day when the prices are reduced and you have options of filling a plastic (biodegradable) shopping bag for $5 but even so I only spent $55 which included the books below as well as forty-five five others. 
The Greater London Street Atlas was very heavy and if I had bought this new and paid for postage from England it would have cost close to this amount.

A selection of my Lifeline Bookfest treasures
A selection of what I found this time is:
Healing the Wounds of War: A History of the Greenslopes Hospital 1942-2002

ISBN 0975014005

Greater London Street Atlas

Queensland Past and Present: 100 Years of Statistics, (1998) ISBN 0724279512

Woman Suffrage in Australia: A Gift or Struggle (1992) ISBN 0521436117

Expressions of Mercy: Brisbane Mater Hospitals 1906-2006 (2006) ISBN 0702235520

The Anzacs at Gallipoli: Scarecrow Army (2005) ISBN 1876372605

The History of Electricity in Queensland (1985) ISBN 095892290 X

The Singing Line(2000) ISBN 0099272822

Ernest Sandford Jackson: Pioneer Australian Surgeon (1987) ISBN Q867762012

Fruitful Mother: St Stephen’s Richmond Parish History 1851-1991 (1993) ISBN 1875650431

Halycon Days: Amateur Radio in Queensland (1987) ISBN 0959616160

Bretts: The Family Tree (2000) ISBN 0646394398

Cobb & Co: Coaching in Queensland (1990) ISBN 072424140 X

Logan: the man, the River and the City (1988) ISBN 0958802114

In the Capacity of a Surgeon (1988) ISBN 0959632123

Australian Historical Studies Journal , ten issues, (an academic journal)
Now I just have to find time to read them!!
Nov 012011
 Judy Webster started the group ‘Genealogists for Familes’ in honour of her  Father’s  tradition of helping others.  He was a delightful man who sadly passed on last year at the grand age of 90 after an eventful life.(His story)
Caring about families (past, present and future) is the core value of the Genealogists for Families group on Kiva. Through Kiva , a nonprofit organisation, we each contribute $25 loans that enable borrowers to expand their businesses, support their families and raise themselves out of poverty. 
When the loan is repaid, the lender can withdraw the money or lend it again. I have been involved with Kiva for a number of years and have not had a defaulted loan. As of the 1st November there are 56 members from around the world who have made 72 loans.
You get to choose the project you would like to support. There are a large range of projects from many different countries. It is fun looking through them to choose the one that resonates with you.
My three recent loans were to:
Seluia Moni to purchase baking powder, flour and a new oven to expand her baking business.
Maria   to purchase material to make women’s shoes and to Deilyn to expand her hydroponics business. The total loan amounts are not very large ($450-$1000 in these cases) and the person has a designated  repayment plan.
My preference has been to loan to women as they often find it very hard to get a loan.  I also feel that a woman running a successful business, particularly in some of these countries has more impact for the future for showing what can be done. I also tend to look for ones where the person is using or developing a skill that they can pass onto others.
It is great to feel that we can make a difference for families for their futures. 
This is a fantastic project and I am very pleased to be part of the Genealogists for Families group. Why don’t you come along and join us? It is easy to do, visit Genfamilies blog to find out more.