Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crowd-sourcing and Random Acts for genealogical help

I got a notice of a crowd-sourcing effort aimed at starting a new website called "Help Finding Family." This effort is being made by Eric Proffitt and he describes his effort as follows:
Hi, my names Eric Proffitt and I love family history! Recently my family just spent $1,200 hiring a professional genealogist to visit my wife's ancestral village in Ukraine and send us pictures. While the product was amazing and we were able to see our great, great, grandmas school, learn about cousins who are still alive, and got a feel for the culture of the area, the end result was really expensive. 
This got us to thinking: what if we could create a place where normal people like you and me could help each other find their families?? For instance, if I wanted a picture of my Keith Family Castle, but couldn't afford to fly to the Scotland, I could post my request and have someone who already lives there take the picture and send it to me for as little as $5! WOW!
Crowd-sourcing is now a very acceptable way to raise the necessary funds to start such a project. Here is an explanation of what will be done with the money raised:
  • We need to raise $26,000 to pay the programmers to create the helpfindingfamily software which will allow millions of transactions between people doing family history and amateur genealogists. 
  • In exchange for your financial support, we have hooked up with local artists and genealogists to create some amazing rewards including: Free Family History Research, Family Crest Artwork, The Meaning of Your Family Surname Word Art, Family Tree Poster. 
It appears that this is not an "investment" but a gift, not to be confused with the current push to crowd-source investments for start-up companies. Without a whole lot more information about how this business will proceed forward, I certainly cannot endorse any such activity. Please make your own decision as to whether to contribute or not. It does remind me that we have had a similar organization for many years; Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK).

The background and history of the RAOGK is set forth as follows from the most recent incarnation of the website in the form of a wiki:
The RAOGK wiki is a workaround for the official RAOGK site being down. Bridgett and Doc Schneider were the founders of the RAOGK website and like other genealogists, I am deeply indebted to their efforts as I benefited immensely from the work of their volunteers. When I created the wiki, it was out of my utmost respect for Bridgett and Doc's work. The wiki was my way to give back – my personal RAOGK for the RAOGK community – by providing a workaround for FB posts like Amy Mueller Stiles (and similar ones on the USA groups) on April 27: "...wall requests are ok on FB but it's like pulling teeth to get the info of what they are looking for sometimes. Direct email contact is best." My hope and intent with the wiki is that it fills a gap for genealogists while the official site is down ... a place for researchers and volunteers to connect (with the familiar ease of use) until the official site is operational again. (I wrote Doc on Mar 7, 2012, about the wiki, etc. and again on April 27. On April 17, the [lead] RAOGK admin gave "conditional approval" for the wiki.)

In a Facebook post (27 Apr 2012), Doc indicated he was starting to restore the RAOGK site.
For more explanation of the status see the Research Wiki article of the same name: Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. A quick check of the status of the original RAOGK website shows that the domain is for sale, so the site must be inactive.

I always advise caution in "donating" to any solicitation, especially any solicitation that you do not initiate. Be advised.


  1. There are a lot of different groups on FaceBook where researchers can join, ask questions, give answers, and help others. Some of them are specific to a small area while others are more general. I belong to a number of them and the level of support there is excellent.


  3. It looks like Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is alive on Facebook. See the link above. Thanks for the link.

  4. I came to this market mainly for Mooshies, which is one of my friends friend's business. They sell lovely burgers, wraps and Ciabattas with mushrooms. talent sourcing