Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness
I have just finished a four-day genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. It was wonderful! But I have quickly realized that doing genealogy for a little over a year now qualifies me to know about 1% of what professional genealogists know or those who have had the hobby for 30 years. Hopefully this will not discredit me to my readers, for I do plan to share all the knowledge I've learned this past week with you.
One quick tip of information that I wish I'd heard about sooner is the website for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. I met a nice lady at the conference, Jackie, who told me about this website because she volunteers for it. Basically the idea is to have volunteers from all over the United States, as well as other countries, sign up and help other researchers who need information from their city or county.
For example, maybe there is a document or microfilm that I need for my research in a library in Colorado Springs. I live in Utah and can not easily get access to that document here. I can then request a volunteer from Colorado Springs, such as Jackie, to go to that library and copy the information and send it to me.
What a great idea this is! The website is completely free to use; the volunteers will just charge you for copy fees, shipping fees, driving costs, etc. The website does ask that once you've received help from somebody else you sign up as a volunteer yourself to return the favor. This reminds me of the movie Pay It Forward, which is about a little boy who has the idea to help three people in trouble and then have each of them do the same for three others in order to keep paying it forward. I like these types of ideas.