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Genealogy Generosity

open thread

This week’s topic for Open Thread Thursday is:

Do you remember being the recipient of “genealogy generosity” at some point in your family history journey? Was it when you first started out and someone guided you to the right resources and methodologies? Perhaps someone sent you photos and documents needed to break through a brick wall?

A networking of “helping each other out” seems to be a hallmark of the genealogy community, especially with new sites like Generous Genealogists and GenGathering appearing recently.

Let us know how the generosity of other genealogists has impacted your own research and if it has motivated you to “pay it forward” to others in the genealogy community. This is a great time to do a shout out to that person or organization and say, “Thank you!”

Post your responses in the comments or at a post on your own genealogy blog and place the link here in the comments.

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My Own Journey to Genealogy Generosity

The instances in which I have been on the receiving end of another genealogist’s advice, guidance and even have had physical items mailed to me are too numerous to mention.  For most of these encounters I never asked outright for assistance. It was simply a kind person who knew that they could provide needed information and they were motivated to help.

As the recipient of such generosity, I’ve realized the need to do my part and to give back. I do this on an individual level through various projects including volunteer work and individual mentoring. I also have come to embrace the “abundance model” in which I am willing to provide advice, content and other services to the genealogy community with no strings attached.

Such an approach has greatly enriched not only my genealogy life, but life in general. And for every one thing that I post or share freely, I get paid back what seems to be ten-fold. I simply can’t hoard knowledge that would benefit another genealogist and somehow parcel it out in return for something I need or want.  That isn’t abundance in my eyes.

Generous Genealogists

Mark Rabideau has started a new site called Generous Genealogists and has passed along the following information:

As is often the case, I sign-up for more than my family thinks is good for me.  Based upon a request from one of the Internet discussion groups I belong to, I agreed to construct a “new and improved” website, gratis, to fill the void left when the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) website disappeared from the scene.  As you might expect, when the old RAOGK site went down (the last archived evidence of the site is dated 18 Jul 2011) its database went into the ether along with the rest of the site. In response to the this request & need, I have built a brand new database and which is currently being populated with new volunteers.  The new site which houses this database, along with other community oriented functions, is called GenerousGenealogists. It is a  totally new and freshly written website. If you are curious, you may view it at

This new site’s activities, functionality, and purpose are derived from those of the original RAOGK site, which was founded and managed between 1999 and 2011 by Bridgett and Dale Schneider.  Although I have to admit, I have taken considerable license and expanded functionality more than just ‘a little bit’.  If you were familiar with the old site, I think you will find this new site looks a lot different.

As a service, GenerousGenealogists represents a group volunteers who agree to provide free genealogy research and assistance, as acts of kindness to “those in need.” We are always looking for new volunteers.  And oddly enough, GenerousGenealogists is looking for Team Members as well! It is our hope that GenerousGenealogists outlives its founders, creators, maintainers, and carries on the spirit & tradition of generosity and giving that was begun in 1999 by the original Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness website.

GenerousGenealogists’ volunteers agree to donate their time for free; recipients of our “Generosity” agree to pay/ reimburse “their” volunteers for any/all expenses incurred in the fulfillment of requests (including: copies, printing fees, postage, film or video tape, parking fees, mileage, etc.). The assistance, research and networking we provide is made available freely and without respect or intent of financial gain.  All volunteers ever request of a “client” is expense reimbursement and a Thank You.


Another site which started recently is GenGathering. Here is information from the home page:

A gathering of researchers and genealogists that “give and take”.

Do you have resources in your home, or are you willing to do searches at your local courthouse, library, cemetery, etc.? If so, we would love to have you step up and join us.

If you come here seeking volunteers to assist with finding a record for you, you have also come to the right place.

We are all working together through generosity, cooperation, and willingness to share!


This is a great topic for this week’s Open Thread Thursday! And please, if you have a topic you’d like to see discussed among your genealogy blogging colleagues, please contact us and we’ll take it under consideration.

Disclosure:  Please see Disclosure Statements for more information on my material connection with genealogy vendors and organizations.

©2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee

3 thoughts on “Genealogy Generosity

  1. I am thankful to my cousin and Aunt Margery Brown in Uniontown, ohio. They didn’t want my Aunt Edythe( Lee) Seese’s photo albums in a box so I got them. What did I find!! My grandmother and father’s wedding announcement. was in one of the albums.!! I never had seen it OR even knew anyone in our family had one. My .Aunt Edythe passed on to heaven Dec, 2011 after living in a nursing home for 10 years with dementia (sp?). I also found obits of several family members I didn’t have. What a treasure find!! They think I am ridiculus that I get excited about that “stuff”. Charlene Hutchison

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