Friday, March 11, 2016

The 21 Day Genealogy Challenge - Day 14: Giving Back to the Genealogy Community

“If you get, give.  If you learn, teach.” – Maya Angelou

Congratulations! You have made it to day 14 of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge!  The past two weeks have been filled with researching and gathering information.  Some of that information may have been in the form of digitized and indexed documents that other researchers took the time to photograph or index.  Today is a great day to take a break from our own research and give back to the genealogy world.  Let’s look at a few options.

·       BillionGraves.  This free site is dedicated to preserving headstone and memorial information in cemeteries throughout the world.  The site has wonderful tutorials to guide you through the process of finding cemeteries in need of digitization, as well as the best way to take a photograph of a gravesite.  All you need is some time and a device such as a smart phone or iPad.

If you don’t have time to photograph an entire cemetery, but would still like to try your hand at taking pictures, there is a request board on the site (pictured below).  There may be a request for a cemetery near you.  Fulfilling requests on BillionGraves is a great way to learn about the site while helping other members add a source to their family history.

BillionGraves also has the option to volunteer from home.  Sometimes volunteers will upload images from a recent cemetery visit, but don’t have the time to transcribe those images.  If you sign on to the site from your home computer, you can select a set of pictures to transcribe.  Each image has a form you complete with the information provide on the gravestone.  Once you have completed the form, simply save the information and proceed to the next picture.  Once a headstone is transcribed, researchers will be able to access their ancestor’s information on the database.  Not only will they see the transcription, but BillionGraves will provide them with GPS coordinates for the headstone.  What a wonderful way to give back to the Genealogy community!

·       Consider joining a genealogy group on Facebook.  Whether it is a genealogy group dedicated to the state or country your ancestors are from, or a research assistance group like Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness, you will find that there will be many opportunities where your personal experience in family history research will be of help to someone else. You will also learn a great deal from others on the site.  It is a wonderful win-win opportunity.

·       Take time to volunteer to help someone you know start a family tree.  Walk your friend or relative through the steps you found useful in doing your own research.  Share the tips that made your experience enjoyable.  Remember to ask them questions about their family.  As they share their stories, show them how they can incorporate the information they have in their own family tree.

·       Teach local youth how to read and transcribe old documents that are in script.  Many schools no longer teach cursive writing, so you will be providing them with a skill that is becoming lost to the younger generation.  You can find documents to transcribe on the free site  (See image of their website below.)  Once on the site, click on the Indexing link and you will be guided from there.  You have the option of choosing not only the level of difficulty, but the language and country the documents are from.  So, if you can read Italian, you can choose to transcribe available documents from Italy.  

Whether we realize it or not, we have all been the recipients of the previous work of others. The ideas mentioned in this blog are just a few opportunities we can choose from to give back to the genealogy community.  Perhaps reading this blog today triggered some of your own ideas.  However you donate your time, know that it is greatly appreciated by your fellow family history researchers.

Congratulations! You have completed day 14 of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge!  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them in the Blog Comment section below.  Invite your friends to join this challenge by sharing this blog with them on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.  The share icons are just below this blog entry.

Also, join me on Twitter and Periscope!  You can find me under the name GraveFinder2. 

Thank you for joining this challenge and remember…..

History not shared is History forgotten!