Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Share Your Data

To celebrate and publicize Random Acts of Kindness Week, I'm republishing my series from 2008, with some editing to fit 2010. For those of you participating in the Winter 2010 GeneaBlogger Games, there are some ideas here that you can use for Task 6. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness.

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:


* 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.

*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.

* FamilyOldPhotos - enter postcard* in the search engine
* GeneaNet
* Penny Postcards

* 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.

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