Monday, May 16, 2005

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK)

DearMYRTLE, Have you heard of this online organization before? Are they reliable? They state that they are volunteers who will obtain information, copies, etc. for a nominal fee, like the cost of copies etc. I was curious as to what you have, their reliability, etc. Thank you. I am new to genealogy and your columns but am learning fast. Sincerely, Dawn.


INDEED, RAOGK is a wonderful website. It has changed it's URL a couple of times, but go ahead and point your web browser to:

I've known of this wonderful group of volunteers for years. They are for REAL. Each has "agreed at least once per month to do a research task in their local area as an act of kindness. The cost to you would be reimbursing the volunteer for his expenses in fulfilling your request (video tape, copy fees, etc.)." Please note that this is not a free service, they just don't charge for labor.

I consider these folks the kindest ones in world of genealogy, quite literally. They reach out to the places you can't visit in person. They'll take the digital pictures of gravestones, get copies of that heretofore missing will and the like.

These folks can really get into those corners of a country that only a resident would know about.

If I were addressing a request to a RAOGK volunteer in Manatee County, Florida, it would read as follows:

PLEASE obtain a digital photo of my ancestor, JOSEPH L. EDWARDS (1870-1949). I located his name on page 164 of "Tombstone Inscriptions of Manatee County, Florida" compiled by the Manasota Genealogical Society.
Joseph's remains are said to be buried in section D4 of the Manasota Cemetery. The book explains:

"This cemetery is located at 5300 US Highway 301 [in Oneco, Florida.] It is the only privately owned, traditionally community cemetery in the county. When it was established in 1925, it included an area of 27 acres. 17 acres were added, then 10 acres and in 1957 another 16 acres. The total area at present is 70 acres, which makes it the largest cemetery in Manatee County."

PLEASE let me know what expenses you anticipate before going forward with this request.

So, DearREADERS, please note the details of my request. This effectively removes guesswork from the equation. Remember, these volunteers are not certified genealogists, and are not specialists in solving intricate research problems. They will merely stand in for you to obtain a copy of a specific item to add to your genealogy.

These volunteers are regular folks probably like you, with more or less average experience in climbing their own family trees. Their time is certainly limited, so be courteous and limit you requests for those difficult, (perhaps not yet microfilmed) items.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

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