Thursday, May 17, 2012

National Volunteer Week

In Australia it is National Volunteer Week so I am taking some time to reflect on the opportunities for  Australian genealogists to participate in voluntary activities to support the genealogy community. Without the work done by an army of silent volunteers each week our genealogy experience would not be so rich.

I applaud the hundreds of volunteers who give their time on a regular basis to man and maintain the resources of the many genealogy and historical societies we visit. A number of local libraries like mine at Hornsby also have volunteers on hand to give assistance to those researching their family trees. One of the people I particularly appreciate is another Jill at the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society who co-ordinates catering for Society events (a way to a woman's heart is through her stomach). As the theme for volunteer week "Volunteers - Every One Counts" implies there are opportunities for everyone to serve their communities no matter what talents they have.

As a  recently retired travel tragic, who is the emergency carer for 9 grandchildren and sick leave relief for a family business, I cannot commit to giving this sort of regular help so I seek other ways to volunteer. My main voluntary activities are by making text corrections on Trove and taking and transcribing  images for BillionGraves. There are other cemetery indexing projects like FindaGrave and Australian Cemeteries Index to which one can contribute.

There are many other opportunities for people to do genealogy work at their own pace and in their own time. I owe so much to the volunteers at the Ryerson Index who have enabled me find many cousin connections. Familysearch welcomes new volunteers for their regular indexing programs and the current 1940 Census project.  One does not need to be resident in the UK to be an Online Parish Clerk (OPC), you just need to have an interest in a particular parish. SAG member, Linda Bishop is the OPC Shipley in West Sussex.

A number of genealogists like Judy Webster from Queensland have created specialised indexes that they share freely from their personal websites. Graham Jaunay from South Australia hosts Online names a free searchable database compiled from public submissions.

I have recently joined the ranks of volunteers who share their expertise by writing articles and giving  genealogy presentations at local societies and libraries. As an old teacher I find it most rewarding to be able to share what knowledge I have with fellow researchers.

Blogging has given me opportunities to volunteer. In my role as Official Blogger for two international and one national genealogy conference I have had opportunities to publicise and highlight these events. As a result I have made many valuable contacts in the genealogy world in Australia and overseas.

Don't let volunteering opportunities pass you by - stand up and say "Count me in"


Kylie Willison said...

Hi Jill
You do a great job promoting genealogy and helping people online and offline! You've inspired me to blog more and your comments are always encouraging, thank you. Now I'm off to write my own post about volunteering.
Kylie :-)

jass said...


You do really very impressive and excellent job because you are motivating people with your blog and also with your work.

Volunteer community


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