Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Be a Sponsor

To celebrate and publicize Random Acts of Kindness Week, I'm republishing my series from 2008, with some editing to fit 2014.

It's time to put your money where your mouth is! Many of the following websites perform free or low-cost services to the genealogical community, and several struggle to maintain the expenses of running their websites. By giving a one-time $5, $10, or $25 donation, you can help defray the owners' costs and continue to provide inexpensive resources to many others.

Cyndi's List - Who HASN'T utilized Cyndi's List to find helpful genealogical websites? Looking at the vast network of thousands of pages and nearly 330,000 links, it's hard to believe that there is only one person behind this project. Cyndi Ingle works tirelessly to provide this FREE service to the genealogical community, while supporting her son as a single mother. You can help keep Cyndi's List free and support this fabulous woman by donating to her site or purchasing some cool Cyndi's List products or renewing your subscriptions!

Find A Grave - sponsor a memorial page of an ancestor or relative, which you can create; or be spontaneous, and sponsor the memorial page of a complete stranger! This one-time $5 donation will forever remove all advertising from the memorial page of your choice. You must create a free account to donate with a credit/debit card. You can also choose to mail in your donation. Lastly, you can make a purchase at the Find A Grave store to help this wonderful website defray its expenses!

Preserve the Pensions War of 1812 Digitization Project - "The Pension Records from the War of 1812 are among the most requested documents at the National Archives. Unfortunately, these fragile documents are in urgent need of digitization. In support of this monumental task of digitizing 7.2 million pages, Ancestry.com has provided a dollar for dollar matching grant, so every dollar you contribute will make four more pages accessible and free for everyone."

USGenNet - hosts many free genealogy county and surname websites--among others--for the United States and Canada as part of their American Local History Network and American History and Genealogy Projects. Help defray their costs with a tax-deductible donation by mail or Paypal; details are on their home page and their FAQs page. Those that contribute $20.00 or more are automatically eligible for membership as a supporting or sustaining (voting) member.

Do you have a favorite genealogy website or blog which you frequent? Here are three ways to help:

  1. Many of these sites or blogs have advertising on them. Support your favorite webmaster or blogger by clicking on these ads every time you visit. By doing so (even without making a purchase!), the owner likely will receive a small profit which often goes towards their bandwidth or webhosting expenses.
  2. If you have a specific purchase in mind (genealogy-related or not), check out the online shopping ads on your favorite sites or blogs to see if you can make your desired purchase through them. Sometimes you'll even receive a discount by doing so!
  3. If you would like to try out or renew your membership to a genealogy-subscription website, click on the advertisement for that site on your favorite genealogy website or blog. If you belong to a genealogy society, see if their site or blog has these advertising links as well.
Finally, I know one generous couple in my local genealogical society who have anonymously set up a fund to help other members pay for workshops and seminars our society sponsors. This helps those members with tight budgets to be able to enjoy the social, educational, and genealogical benefits of attending a local workshop or seminar, without the additional costs that exceed annual membership. Perhaps this is a path you would like to pursue as well.

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