Random Acts of Kindness Week: Be Grateful and Generous

“Nobody likes an ingrate!” is something I’ve found myself saying all too frequently over the years to my children–and, I must admit, to myself as well.

One of the kindest things you can do for someone else is to be grateful for when they’ve been kind to you.

A little bit goes a long way. If you have a blog or a website, post a message praising the kindness given. If someone has sent you information via e-mail, even if it’s something you already have, send them a thankful response. If a library staff member has looked up, photocopied, and mailed you an obituary free of charge, take the time to send a thank-you note by mail. Perhaps include a donation to their library foundation. If a funeral home employee has gone out of their way to find a death record in an ancestor’s file buried deep in the storage room of the basement, send a letter praising their worth to the board of directors.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has a Kudos page where you can post your thanks for the lookup you received. If you use another lookup service, write the webmaster and tell them how wonderful their volunteers are!

Have an attitude of gratitude. Have it before you ask. Be respectful of others’ time and resources when you make a request. AND DON’T FORGET TO THANK THEM!

Be generous. Determine to do one kind thing a month or week. Record it…and record the wonderful consequences!

Buy that baby book or family bible on E-bay or in a second-hand shop and attempt to return it to its family. Donate twice as much as the society suggests when they locate a record for you. Volunteer a little longer than for the length of time you signed up. Ask to help again the next time.

I had fun this week, thinking of–and performing–random acts of kindness. Did you? Let’s keep it going! If you’re a blogger, then consider writing a post once a month sharing how you received a kindness, and how you passed it on. What do you think?

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Be Grateful and Generous

“Nobody likes an ingrate!” is something I’ve found myself saying all too frequently over the years to my children–and, I must admit, to myself as well.

One of the kindest things you can do for someone else is to be grateful for when they’ve been kind to you.

A little bit goes a long way. If you have a blog or a website, post a message praising the kindness given. If someone has sent you information via e-mail, even if it’s something you already have, send them a thankful response. If a library staff member has looked up, photocopied, and mailed you an obituary free of charge, take the time to send a thank-you note by mail. Perhaps include a donation to their library foundation. If a funeral home employee has gone out of their way to find a death record in an ancestor’s file buried deep in the storage room of the basement, send a letter praising their worth to the board of directors.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has a Kudos page where you can post your thanks for the lookup you received. If you use another lookup service, write the webmaster and tell them how wonderful their volunteers are!

Have an attitude of gratitude. Have it before you ask. Be respectful of others’ time and resources when you make a request. AND DON’T FORGET TO THANK THEM!

Be generous. Determine to do one kind thing a month or week. Record it…and record the wonderful consequences!

Buy that baby book or family bible on E-bay or in a second-hand shop and attempt to return it to its family. Donate twice as much as the society suggests when they locate a record for you. Volunteer a little longer than for the length of time you signed up. Ask to help again the next time.

I had fun this week, thinking of–and performing–random acts of kindness. Did you? Let’s keep it going! If you’re a blogger, then consider writing a post once a month sharing how you received a kindness, and how you passed it on. What do you think?

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Give a Hand

Someone, out there, needs your help.

It could be that senior citizen you talked to after the last society meeting who can’t figure out how to use Ancestry’s search features on their home computer.

It could be someone who shares a frustrating experience on a message board or mailing list.

It could be a friend who’d like to look up her dad’s ancestry for him before he passes, but she has no idea where to start.

It could be your mother, asking you to help her sort through her boxes of unlabeled photos.

No matter who, no matter what, it’s likely that you have the experience and know-how to help them. And yes, it will cost you. It will cost you time, convenience, patience; even, perhaps, some money.

Today’s idea for a random act of kindness is very simple: the next time someone asks–or hints– for help, say “yes”.

Remember this: the person that seems the most annoying, the person that perhaps will try your patience most, the one who doesn’t seem to “get it” no matter how well you try to explain–that person will often be the most grateful for your help. I say this from experience. And I say this from a standpoint of humility, knowing there have been many times in my life when someone helped me when I must have seemed annoying, trying, stupid, and just plain hopeless.

Practice random acts of senseless kindness…with a smile!

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Give a Hand

Someone, out there, needs your help.

It could be that senior citizen you talked to after the last society meeting who can’t figure out how to use Ancestry’s search features on their home computer.

It could be someone who shares a frustrating experience on a message board or mailing list.

It could be a friend who’d like to look up her dad’s ancestry for him before he passes, but she has no idea where to start.

It could be your mother, asking you to help her sort through her boxes of unlabeled photos.

No matter who, no matter what, it’s likely that you have the experience and know-how to help them. And yes, it will cost you. It will cost you time, convenience, patience; even, perhaps, some money.

Today’s idea for a random act of kindness is very simple: the next time someone asks–or hints– for help, say “yes”.

Remember this: the person that seems the most annoying, the person that perhaps will try your patience most, the one who doesn’t seem to “get it” no matter how well you try to explain–that person will often be the most grateful for your help. I say this from experience. And I say this from a standpoint of humility, knowing there have been many times in my life when someone helped me when I must have seemed annoying, trying, stupid, and just plain hopeless.

Practice random acts of senseless kindness…with a smile!

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Transcribe or Translate

One way that you can make a difference to the genealogical community is to volunteer to transcribe, abstract, or index genealogical data for a society or other group. With the advent of the Internet, this no longer means that you always have to go onsite to do your act of kindness! I know of several members of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, as well as my sister-in-law (not an EWGS member), who have volunteered to index data for the Washington State Digital Archives. In my sister-in-law’s case, she had copies of census records mailed to her, which she then indexed, never having to leave home to volunteer her time. FamilySearch Indexing is another project that you can work on from home, which I have done on occasion. Renee and Lori are a couple of my geneablogging friends that have been volunteering for this and blogging about their experiences. Cyndi’s List also has a page of Volunteer Online Regional Projects where you can locate an assignment on which to work.

Can you read a foreign language or old-style handwriting? Your translating skills are needed! Cyndi’s List has a list of volunteer websites where you could sign up to help in this area; or volunteer to help with handwriting and script on any of these sites.

Working on these types of projects is fun, satisfying, and often can be done in small amounts of time. I encourage you to try one out one of the above!

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Transcribe or Translate

One way that you can make a difference to the genealogical community is to volunteer to transcribe, abstract, or index genealogical data for a society or other group. With the advent of the Internet, this no longer means that you always have to go onsite to do your act of kindness! I know of several members of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, as well as my sister-in-law (not an EWGS member), who have volunteered to index data for the Washington State Digital Archives. In my sister-in-law’s case, she had copies of census records mailed to her, which she then indexed, never having to leave home to volunteer her time. FamilySearch Indexing is another project that you can work on from home, which I have done on occasion. Renee and Lori are a couple of my geneablogging friends that have been volunteering for this and blogging about their experiences. Cyndi’s List also has a page of Volunteer Online Regional Projects where you can locate an assignment on which to work.

Can you read a foreign language or old-style handwriting? Your translating skills are needed! Cyndi’s List has a list of volunteer websites where you could sign up to help in this area; or volunteer to help with handwriting and script on any of these sites.

Working on these types of projects is fun, satisfying, and often can be done in small amounts of time. I encourage you to try one out one of the above!

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Share Your Data

Chances are, among all the records you’ve gathered on your ancestors, you’ve got something that doesn’t belong to your own family tree…a photo of great-grandma’s neighbors, a postcard of your father-in-law’s ancestral hometown courthouse, three obituaries printed on the same newspaper page as Aunt Ruth’s, a record you ordered that you thought was your uncle John Johnson’s marriage license but turned out to belong to someone else with the same name.

Don’t be a data hog! Share that information! It’s quite possible that the items which are sitting in your file folders, boxes, and hard drive might contain a clue that will break through a stranger’s brick wall, or be the only surviving photo of someone’s grandfather, or solve a mystery in another’s family history. Perhaps you have more than data; perhaps you have a personal item that you feel needs to be returned to its rightful owner.

There are many places online where you can contribute the genealogical wealth that’s hiding in your home:

Bibles

* Ancestors At Rest
* Family Bibles Website

Documents & Data
* Ancestors At Rest
* Ancestry/RootsWeb’s Mailing Lists and Message Boards are good places to submit data (submit to Ancestry and the info will be duplicated at RootsWeb, and vice versa). Find a message board or mailing list by surname, location, or topic to match the data you’d like to submit.
* Genealogy Buff
RootsWeb has an online form for submitting user contributed data into their searchable database here.

Lost and Found Items
* Ancestry has a message board called “Found Family Heirlooms.”
* Cyndi’s List has a whole page of Lost & Found Resource Sites where you can post items you want to pass on to others.

Photos
*Cyndi’s List also turned up a long list of websites where you can submit your “lost and found” photos, including perhaps the most well-know, Dead Fred.

Postcards
* FamilyOldPhotos
* GeneaNet
* Penny Postcards

Obituaries
* Ancestry/Rootsweb’s Obituaries Message Board
* Genealogy Buff

Other Ideas
* You can check with pertinent
U.S. GenWeb and U.S. GenNet county websites (by e-mailing the webmasters) to see if they will take user-submitted data.
* Check with the genealogical or historical society that your data originates from or is about to see if they will take it. Due to storage restraints or costs, some cannot.