It’s all about Volunteering
Looking for a RAOGK volunteer?
Is this your first visit to Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness? We want your visit to be a successful one. Our staff has put together a list of Guidlines for making requests for you to view and read before making any requests.
- Please read our Guidelines For making Requests on RAOGK before doing so.
- Register and create your Profile
- Then go to the Volunteer Directory and locate someone in your area to do a lookup.
- Rate your Volunteer to tell them and others how they did!
Want to Volunteer?
Ideally, you should reside in the area for which you volunteer. The purpose of this site is to help others obtain copies of documents, pictures of tombstones, etc., that can not be obtained easily by those who do not live in the area of their ancestors.
FAQ – Guidelines for Request & Volunteers
Please Read BEFORE making requests!
Please read the FAQs in this section before you decide to make a Request from a RAOGK volunteer. You must be registered to be able to contact a Volunteer. Then view the Volunteer Listings Directory.
Please do not send your requests for lookups to the site coordinator, or the site’s hosting service. Requests sent to either one will not be answered.
Thank you for using our site.
The site is free to use. However, you WILL be expected to reimburse expenses incurred such as: film, video, postage, copies, and/or printing fees. In some areas you will also be expected to pick up parking fees. You are NOT to be charged time.
If you feel you have been unfairly charged, please contact us and we will look into the situation.
Locate a volunteer in the area where information is needed. Read their Act of Kindness. Please only select a volunteer who has stated they will do the research you need in that area. Please do NOT request lookups/information if you live within travelling distance (up to 50 miles) from the city/area where you’ve made your request. In some instances and in some areas, the volunteer you’ve requested information from may even live further away than you do.
When you have made your selection, click on the volunteer’s name.
Fill in the form, making sure you have entered your e-mail address correctly.
Click the submit button. If you have filled your e-mail address in correctly, you should receive a blind carbon copy of your request for your own records.
Do NOT ask a volunteer to do anything outside of their specified location or to do anything for which they have not volunteered.
No birth documents will be looked up on anyone born after 1930 without proof of death first being provided.
If you are an adoptee you can go to Cyndi’s List — Adoption or RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees — Lesson #31 to obtain information to help you with your quest.
If you need someone to do in-depth researching, your best course of action is to hire a professional genealogist. Some sites on the internet that list professional researchers are:
If you make more than one request of any one volunteer per month, that volunteer may request a researcher’s fee. It’s up to the volunteer to decide what to charge for this.
There are many legitimate reasons why a volunteer may not have responded timely to a request, such as e-mail or computer problems, family or personal illness, or vacations. Please remember that those who have signed up for this site are volunteers and may
be busy with other aspects of their lives.
If you receive no response to your second attempt after one week contact us to report the non-responsive volunteer. Be sure to enter both dates you attempted to make contact when completing the “contact us” form.
NOTE: If you (or your ISP) use a spam blocking service that rejects mail from unauthorized addresses (either addresses not on an approved sender list or not in your address book), our volunteers cannot be expected to click a link to verify that they are not spammers in order to reply to you. Make sure your spam filters allow mail from all senders and do not use a challenge/response blocking feature.
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is NOT in any way responsible for the transactions between volunteers and requesters. This site only lists those who have submitted their names to be volunteers.
To volunteer please register here. Then Submit your listing here.
Ideally, you should reside in the area for which you volunteer, since this is a site where volunteers do the legwork for others.
You are expected to reply to a new request between 48 hours and 2 weeks of receipt. This response lets them know that you have received the request and whether you can honor it or not. Your reply should also advise the requester if there will be any reimbursement of costs that may occur and a general idea of that total. You need to give them a time frame within which you feel you can accomplish their request. If you cannot honor the request you need to let them know this as well, so they can move on to another volunteer.
The purpose of this site is to help others obtain copies of documents, pictures of tombstones, etc., that can not be obtained easily by those who do not live in the area of their ancestors.
Documents could be death records, marriage records, land records, wills, baptismal records from churches, cemetery information in the form of photos of tombstones, military records, obituaries and the list goes on. Of course, all those documents mentioned may or may not be available for copying depending on the location.
The purpose of this site is to help others obtain copies of documents, pictures of tombstones, and other types of secondary/primary sources as proof of lineage. Lookups from a book for every reference to a specific surname can be beneficial, but the ability to do so would be more productive if posted to one of the many genealogical forums (message boards) on the Internet.
If you find yourself swamped, you may go on “Temporary Status” for a period of time so you can catch up on fulfilling your requests without receiving any new ones. Temporary status will remove you from being viewable on the website, but maintain your information in our database. Temporary status can be used if you go on vacation, become ill or having computer problems.
From the FAQ’s for Requester’s
They may request one or two items concerning one or two ancestors.
They can not ask a volunteer to do anything outside of their specified location or to do anything for which they have not volunteered.
Volunteers are only obligated to do one look-up per month. If they make more than one request of any one volunteer per month, that volunteer may request a fee. It’s up to the volunteer to decide what to charge for this.
When a duplicate request is detected, a message is sent out to the requester with the volunteers involved being copied on the message. If you receive one of these duplicate messages, it will contain a message for the requester to select which volunteer they want to do the lookup and to write the others not to bother.
If your question still has not been answered, please go to our contact us page for information.
The next item to check off or fill in is very important, it is your act of kindness (AOK). You need to be as specific as possible as to what you can do, only you know your limitations. You also must remember that a few people will not know much about the area you are located. Many people do not realize that a county/region can be hundreds of miles across so if you can only research in a certain area of the county or region you must specify this in your act of kindness. We ask you to be specific.
After volunteering if you find that you are receiving requests you cannot fulfill, or too many requests, your act of kindness may be too general in scope. You can change your act of kindness anytime by logging in and editing your profile
U.S. Genealogy Research Guides
We also provide U.S., State by State and County by County Research guides. In these you will find resources and information that can be found. Most will inform you of what type of records can by found in each area, dates of availability and addresses, links and contact info to those records.