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.

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.